Castles for me have always been synonymous with the fairytales. The tales around the fairy castles have filled our childhood with delight. Neuschwanstein Castle of Germany is a revered fairytale castle and has been an inspiration for the Disney’s Sleeping beauty and Cinderella castles. We were all agog to visit this Disney castle majestically perched in the lush green forests of Bavarian Alps.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria, an eccentric and reclusive king built an ostentatious castle in the cradle of nature as an escape from the real world affairs. After his death, his fantasy refuge turned out to be popular tourist attraction enticing millions of visitors from all over the world.
King Ludwig was a great follower of operas and characters of the renowned composer Richard Wagner which inspired the artwork that graced the interior of the castle. And the remarkable architecture of castle with its towers, turrets and balconies are sure to leave anyone in awe.
We planned to visit the castle as a day trip from Munich and booked a guided tour with Viator. We boarded a train to Fussen from Munich station along with our guide and few more enthusiasts. We enjoyed the 2 hrs journey through the scenic countryside while our guide answered our curiosities of the destination. Fussen station to Hohenschwangau village was a 10 minutes bus ride. We got the first glimpse of the gorgeous mist covered castle perched high amidst the forests.
It was raining and we chose to take a shuttle uphill which dropped us off at Marienbrucke (bridge). The bridge rewards with the picturesque views of the castle in the distance.
Our guide engaged us with a passionate story giving an insight into the life and passions of the Bavarian King, his obsession that made him build his fantasy castle and the reason for his downfall. I followed the guide through the narration while Chalukya was busy playing with our 10-month-old daughter Chhavi. Our guide saved the mystery of the King’s death for the return journey and led us through a 15-minute uphill walk to the ticket counter at the entrance of the castle.
Along the way, we were treated to a panoramic view of the Hohenschwangau castle which was the childhood palace of King Ludwig.
Chalukya engaged in the 30 minutes audio tour of the castle interior as I feed Chhavi and followed him through the stunning architecture of the castle rooms – Hall of the Singers, Throne Hall, the King’s bedroom among others. Each room is embellished with ornate sculptures, vivid paintings, elaborate wooden carvings and murals.
We spend time sauntering around the castle enjoying the vistas and finally walked down the hill to join our guide waiting to drive us back to the station.
On our way back our Guide concluded the story of the king’s death which we listened with all ears. It was sad to hear that Ludwig could not live to see his cherished refuge completed and was mysteriously found dead in Lake Starnberg and the cause which remains to be a mystery.
You may call it insanity or madness but the King’s artistic legacy is an architectural masterpiece which is far beyond our sane imaginations.
Buy your ticket in advance or Tickets can be purchased at the ticket center in Hohenschwangau and you will be allotted a specific tour time.
From Hohenschwangau, it is an uphill walk one can opt for horse carriage or shuttle bus.
Do the fairytale castles allure you? How many of them have you visited? Share with us your stories in comments.
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