Alpine Adventure 2018

Innsbruck Day 2: I’m a German Princess

Today was THE DAY. The day I’d finally get to see Castle Neuschwanstein, the castle Cinderella’s Castle was modeled after at Disney World, the castle my mom visited in my youth and told me was gorgeous, and the one I’d seen in pictures and already had my heart. THAT ONE. I was practically bouncing out of bed.


We got breakfast and hopped on the bus. We had a gorgeous view on the way up, again through mountains and along rivers and past cute little chalets. Ugh it was already magical.


We reached the town of Schwangau (yes, that is actually the name of the town where the castle is) and the castle immediately peeked out from behind the trees. I started crying. Luckily I was wearing sunglasses so nobody noticed.


We got off the bus and got a kick out of the sign that said “Castle Parking” because it sounds like a place to park your castle. So we did this.


We hopped over to the bathroom but it was a pay bathroom and neither of us had change, so we went over to the café to buy a soda and get change. But then they also had a bathroom that was free for customers and with no line, so we lucked out there! Neuschwanstein is truly magical.


So then we took a bus up the hill to the castle. It was a little mini zippy bus that swung us up the switchbacks to the top. Again we survived, despite some queasy passengers. But by the time we got up, the cool mountain air and the brisk walk was enough to make us all feel well again.


Our first stop was the bridge, from which you had the scenic overlook of the castle. It just looks so unreal. I mean, it really is unreal. Considering the castle was built in the 1870s and 80s, they had the technology to construct a structurally sound and modern building, but chose instead to create one that glorifies the romanticism of the Medieval period. It’s truly a fairy tale castle. Ugh I love it so much.


We looped around to the castle courtyard and passed under one little section that was under refurbishment. Considering the WHOLE castle could have been under construction, I dealt with the fact that we lost the view of one façade. No worries. I love you, Neuschwanstein, you do nothing wrong.


So we took a few photos in the courtyard (and marveled at the parade of dogs that were also somehow visiting the castle), and soon after we were on route to our walking tour. Unfortunately within the castle, we were not allowed to take photos (BOO) but I loved it so much I bought one of those stupid photo books that has all the pictures in it (so some of the following pictures are from that book). Granted none of those pictures have me in them totally hyperventilating over how pretty the castle is, so you’ll have to use your imagination.


So upon entering the castle we heard about Ludwig II, the king who build the castle. It actually wasn’t the first one he commissioned, but the third, and he built it as a monument to that romanticized medieval period. When you walk in, you immediately see what he’s going for. Gold chandeliers peppered with colored glass, stained glass windows, colorful mosaics, dragon wallpaper, the works. He also has a bunch of different scenes from medieval literature painted on his walls, like from King Arthur and Tristan and Isolde.


The one thing that’s really sad is that he was a king who many believe had bipolar disorder, and he was considered insane. Fittingly, he never was married or engaged. And he has all these romantic scenes painted everywhere, so he was probably a really lonely guy. And he had busts and portraits of himself in a few locations—he wasn’t an ugly guy, just crazy. Poor thing.


So to top it all off, he was arrested in his bedroom by his family members, who believed he was no longer sane enough to run his kingdom. Later that day he was found drowned in a lake, next to his psychiatrist, who had also drowned. There was a bit of discrepancy over who killed who, but either way, they both died in the lake. Poor Ludwig.


So we saw the sections of the castle that had been completed in his lifetime. There were rooms that were not furnished when he died, and so construction was halted on those. Which, of course, was convenient for the museum, because they didn’t have to ruin anything original to put in their gift shops.


But this place is so gorgeous. One part I loved was the throne room, which was dipped from head to toe in gold. The floor was made up of a million pieces of mosaic tile which depicted a Buddhist symbol of a wheel—which is really cool because Ludwig was catholic! Inter-religious respect! Woo! It was also really weird because they never built a throne in his lifetime, so the throne room has no throne.


The other cool thing was that in a chamber off of his bedroom was a feaux grotto full of stalactites and stalagmites and a waterfall that led into a little reading balcony with a beautiful view of the town below. Like, give me a glass of wine and my laptop and I’d sit there every day and write my novel. Ludwig’s got taste.


Alright, I could talk for days about this castle so I’m going to stop now. But oh my god it was amazing.


So upon leaving the castle we walked back down the hill. We followed Jeurgen down his “shortcut” which involved a more scenic route with trees and stairs. Although walking downhill following Jeurgen at the speed of light with my babylegs nearly broke me.


Soon after we joined our group by the ticket office and hopped aboard the bus to head out to lunch. We went to a little microbrew restaurant at the base of the hill where the castle sat. We had salad and goulash for our meal, which was delightful. At our table we had our little clique of Stephanie, Marcel, Randy, Tara, and of course Jen and I. We were also lucky enough to have the company of Jeurgen and our bus driver, who unfortunately only speaks French and Italian, so we had to talk to him through a translator, but he was super nice.


On our bus ride home, we stopped by a pretty bridge view as well as a pretty mountain view for picture stops. The mountain view was actually the tallest peak in the German Alps, and it was, of course, gorgeous.


Once we got back to the hotel, we had the option to either go back into town or stay at the hotel for the night. Considering we were exhausted, had many busy days ahead, AND we felt we’d seen enough of Innsbruck the night before, we decided to stay in. We got a giant sandwich at our hotel bar as well as a chocolate soufflé. I also had a glass of Riesling. Ah German wine is the best wine.


Following our dinner, we headed back upstairs to watch Croatia take on England. We originally were rooting for England because we wanted the final to be a rematch of the Hundred Years War, but after watching the game, we realized Croatia just wanted it more. They came from behind after two snippets of overtime to eventually take the win. We weren’t really sure what was happening, consider we don’t watch soccer and the announcer spoke German, but it was still fun. Yay for Croatia!


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