No it’s not really the Disney Castle – but it’s the castle that Walt Disney supposedly based the Disney Castle off of. And especially after touring it, I completely understand why.
Here is day 5 of the trip.
Ok [short version again] Today was the BIG CASTLE TOUR down to Neuschwanstein Castle. We got up way too early this morning, especially after such a late night last night. Up and had our delicious breakfast and then off to the train station (hofbahnhof) by 8:20 am. Met our escort “Tex” (go figure) at the station. Found out that due to some rail construction, etc. that we wouldn’t have time to do the bike ride by the castle and wouldn’t have time to swim. Honestly not a big deal. Rain was threatening most of the day anyway. Instead of taking the train the whole way down, we had to get off shortly before and switch to a bus that took us to the base and Hohenswangau Castle.
We all grabbed lunch there with our guide Brad and went over and took pictures of Hohenswangau before heading up the ridiculously steep hill to Neuschwanstein Castle. You can ride a carriage up, but it’s not that bad, just nice and steep.
We were allowed to take pictures of the castle, just not of the inside. We were even allowed to take them out of the windows. But wow, this castle was certainly….. fairytale-ish. I see why Disney was inspired. It wasn’t just the outside. On the inside he had painted famous love stories on the walls and it was very….well, magical. There is even a CAVE room. No kidding, he designed an entire, albeit small, room that looks like you’re inside a real cave – even the doors have fake rock on them. I felt as if “It’s a Small World” music was going to start playing at any moment.
After we toured the castle we headed into the forest and down to Mary’s Bridge, built by the mother of King Ludwig II (the guy who built the castle). The castle was actually built after the bridge, but the bridge gives you a great view of the castle, which I’m sure is even better when this side of it’s not covered in scaffolding. It was built so Mary could get a sweet view of the waterfall and gorge below. Yikes.
Then, it was back into the forest and down, down we went. Normally, the tour actually goes the other way…to the bridge first and then the castle and then down the steep road. I was kind of glad that we went this way, because there were a lot more stairs going down than there was steep hill – at least it seemed that way. My wonderful walking shoes certainly took a beating. But it was so beautiful the whole way. The metal stair/walkway bolted into the side of the rocks was interesting as well. I feel bad for the folks who had to build it. They had NOTHING to stand on. Maybe they repelled, I have no idea.
Once we made it down the ‘hill’, we came out into open fields. It was soooo beautiful, even with the getting-hazier-every-minute weather. We walked through the open grass area until we go to the Alpine Louge. Oh yes. It was a fun little ride, nothing too crazy. Then we got a bus back to the base and then had a little time to kill before the next bus came to take us back to the train. So, we all hung out with Brad and got some more food while he did (actually good) magic tricks for us. He was quite the character. Mostly in a good way. So we hoped back on the bus, just as it started to rain and then barely made the train. The train rides were of course beautiful with all the gorgeous countryside.
When we got back to Munich, of course it was raining, so we headed back toward the hotel and grabbed some nice dinner on the way at a Beirgarten (with inside seating, of course). Then we headed back to the hotel and crashed after a long, great day.