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Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany: Cinderella sure knows how to pick a castle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A castle so magical, Walt Disney made a logo out of it. On first appearances, the appeal of Neucshwanstein is its fairy-tale ambiance, however there are a lot more interesting things about this 19th century castle.  Perhaps you did not know (as I did not before my visit) that King Ludwig II had the castle built as a shrine to Richard Wagner, with many rooms decorated based on themes from Wagnerian operas. Moreover (and my absolute favourite thing about this castle) is that it has a bat cave hallway! This bat cave is one of just 15 completed rooms in the castle, with the remaining 185 rooms never completed.  
How to get here: 
 I visited Neuschwanstein as part of a day trip from Munich organised through Viator, which also visited King Ludwig II's other castle Linderhof and the adorable bavarian town of Oberammergau (where the houses of the town have fairytales adorned on their exterior walls!) Although I thoroughly enjoyed my day trip, if you visit Neucshwanstein with high expectations you may be let down. As the castle was never completed, the tour takes a mere 20 minutes and you will most certainly be crammed into huge groups and streamed through rooms intended for a single occupant. Ironically, although today the idyllic castle greets 1.4 million people each year, King Ludwig II originally had the castle built as a means for him to withdraw from public life. The number of visitors become even more of an issue if you intend to take the bus up the hill from the visitors centre on which you will almost definitely be packed like sardines and when standing on the skinny wooden bridge that offers you the above famous view of the exterior of the castle that seems to defy physics with the amount of people it holds up apparently safely. Of course, if you have a car you could always drive to Neuschwanstein yourself as it is only a 2 hour drive from Munich. If neither self-driving or a tour are for you, you can take a train from Munich to Fussen, then either the RVA/OVG 73 bus in the direction to Steingaden / Garmisch-Partenkirchen or the RVA/OVG 78 bus in the direction to Schwangau until you reach the stop Hohenschwangau / Alpseestra├če.

 Whatever your decision, remember "A dream is a wish your heart makes" ;)

And here are some shots from Oberammergau...