Inspired by Walt Disney’s: Beauty and the Beast…
Once upon a time in a faraway land, a young King lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired the King was reckless with money and indulged in overt spending. Repulsed by advice from royal consorts, the King sniggered and continued with his majestic frivolity. But they warned him – such acts cannot go unnoticed. And when he dismissed them again, due to his ‘eccentric’ but ‘introverted’ nature, they mistakenly labelled him as “Mad”. Ashamed of his monstrous title, the King concealed himself within his castle and operatic dramas; dedicating ‘Neuschwanstein’ as a tribute to Wagner himself. Unmarried and child-less, King Ludwig had failed to love another, and earn her love in return, for who could ever learn to love… a ‘mad’ man?
As beguiling as the man himself, this fairy-tale castle doesn’t have quite the happy ending one would expect from a stereotypical Walt Disney movie, yet perhaps his mysterious death (murder?) all adds to its wondrous charm…
Horse-drawn carriage or walking shoes? Whatever your preferred mode of travel, if you want full access in and around the castle, you have to be prepared for some walking! Although possible, I wouldn’t advise a stroller, a sturdy carrier and a toddler happy to walk in order to live out her princess dreams is perfect!
Like something stripped straight out of the book of Revelation, the castle’s interior is breath-taking! Audio devices are required to hear your tour guide through – an ingenious way of keeping a toddler entertained as they double up as a phone so they can tell their best friend all about the experience!
Wandering the labyrinth of corridors from room to room, you can visit the servant’s quarters, throne room, King’s bedroom and the Singer’s Hall.
Welcoming you into the Throne room, are over 2million pieces of mosaic flooring that sets the foreground to the gilded walls and intimately painted walls. An outlandish brass candelabra sits in the room as a centre-piece. Beauty is most definitely found in this place. The only thing missing – ‘Shut me ups’ (as my good friend calls them), AKA snacks. The toddler didn’t want to talk to her friend anymore and the baby was getting hungry – where were all the biscuits?
The bed-chamber hosts works displayed by 40 different carvers, King Ludwig’s own personal chapel, sapphire embroidery curtains , a toddler needing a BIG biscuit and a shrieking baby! It’s not every day you get to indecently expose yourself in a King’s bed chamber but as a breast-feeding Momma; nailed it!
Finally, the singer’s hall is a place to be marvelled. Imaginative art-works inspired by Wagner’s operas leave your imagination racing as your eyes dart from red carpets, to golden chandeliers and pristine art-work. What majesty!
If you’re a walk-aholic it is definitely worth the venture to cross the Marienbrucke, a bridge suspended across the Pöllat gorge. Consciously walking on the outer edges of the wooden slats (I figured the central planks would have been walked over the most, therefore most likely to collapse) and getting over the ridiculous drop beneath me, it really is quite the experience and where all the insta-worthy shots of Neuschwanstein actually take place, (unless you can afford your own private ‘copter).
Schwangau / Fűssen
Having dreamed about visiting the castle since I first watched ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, it was easy for me to imagine its grandeur and splendour dominating the area. On the contrary, when you first enter Swangau and Fűssen, you question whether it is the famous castle at all or just a mere dolls house perched on the hill! Drowned by the Bavarian Alps, this area is so much more than its man-made counterparts!
We took the Teglebergbahn (cable car) up the mountain where the view from the top is undeniably breath-taking. Naturally, this didn’t satisfy the mountain man, so hungry for the peak: Branderschrofen, Paul pressed on whilst the kids and I watched the para-gliders. Mountain conquered, it was beer time and what a better way to enjoy it, than at the top of a mountain bar?
Walking the mountain from foot to peak is also possible, and although the route is good, I definitely wouldn’t advise attempting it with small children. We learned this as we decided to descend, until the path eventually disappeared so I enforced a return, “Think of the children, Paul!”
There is no escaping the fact that this is tourist central! Therefore, we were not too surprised when we checked into Campingplatz Bandwaldsee and at €21.80 for the night, it was the most expensive to date! Yet, we needed wifi (now becoming gold dust) but you get it at the central hot-spot only and naturally, we ended up parked nowhere near it! On the plus side, it has the most beautiful walk around the lake and a great play-park for both adult and children alike!
Therefore for the following nights, we stayed in a parking place opposite, (lat. 47.5739 long. 10.735) great as long as you don’t mind being off-grid! Upon leaving, we found Fűssen Wohnmobile parkingplatz (lat. 47.5814 long. 10.7009) for €15pn. Dang nabbit, they had wifi too!
For more information on the Romantic Road (Romantisch Strasse) and Germany, you can read our other post: