More than a few people have mentioned, with great urgency, this not to be missed site in Fussen, Germany. Coincidentally it is our screen saver, so today we either took advice from many friends or we have run out of resources to identify destination and have resorted to visiting screen saver photo locations. Either way we had a perfect day for visiting and getting fantastical picture of this castle, Neuschewnstein.
To get to the castle requires a 45 minute uphill stroll. The weather was such that we were more than comfortable at the top and not a hot sweaty mess. At the top we were rewarded with a view of the castle as well as stumbling on a bridal couple photo shoot. It never occurred to me that this would be a destination wedding location. However, this is a brilliant idea – you cannot deny the stunning photos that you will get – although the background may actually overwhelm the bride – it is that beautiful. Nearby they have paragliding, a downhill luge type activity and a gondola. Since it’s Bavaria there are plenty of beer halls in town. So this gets my vote for a unique wedding getaway. Let’s not consider the price tag. The girls never read the blog so I don’t have to worry about them reading this and getting any ideas.
It is not just the castle, the mountains and the town are all picturesque. It is easy to see why this site was chosen. The castle was built atop the ruins of a medieval castle. Ludwig II was not the first person to find this spot. This is not the only castle in the area – there is a castle closer to town, overlooking a lake, that was just not good enough – obviously.
Once the outside has been fully appreciated, on to the interior, which is disappointing. “Mad” King Ludwig died before it’s completion and only a third of the rooms were done. Within 6 weeks of his death it was open to tourists. Although the castle looks old it’s really the same age as the Eiffel tower, built in the latter half of the 19th century. There is no princess who lived here for every girl to dream about – that’s still only in Disney movies.
The interior rooms that were completed are opulent, but not gaudy like so many of the royal palaces we have seen. These rooms are not gilded in gold, instead they have intricate wood-carvings – including an elaborate carved bed canopy in the King’s bedroom. The King had a friendship with composer Richard Wagner – or maybe it was an obsession. The décor of each room was based on a Wagner opera; Tristan & Isolde, Lohengrin, Seigfried…’ The second theme was the Kings animal mascot, the swan. Swans were everywhere, the carvings, painting and the tapestry. All perfect for a princess who never lived there.
The family made the extra hike to a suspension bridge over a gorge to take the most remarkable pictures. Once again we could not have asked for a more beautiful day. Brenna travelled here last May but the day was rainy, she said this was MUCH better.
We finished our day by touring the small town of Fussen with a Rick Steves’ walk about the town. There were the requisite cobbled streets with quaint shops but some beautiful out of the way churches and other building we would have missed sticking to the familiar. The river, Lech, is an color we have not seen since our time in Yellowstone. There are minerals in the hills that just paint the landscape beautifully. Or perhaps this place is the Magical kingdom.
And Vegas had another glamour shot.