Monday, November 3, 2008

Land of Fairytales

After arriving in Munich on Saturday morning, we quickly stashed our bags in the train station lockers and headed out to countryside of Bavaria to see two fairytale like castles. The landscapes were stunning - small picturesque towns at the foot of the Alps with lakes in the background.We arrived in Hohenschwangau with a few hours to kill before our appointed tour times at the castles. We walked around the outside the town of Fussen hoping to catch a few rides down the luge, but unfortunately it was not open. Then we stopped in a local restaurant to grab a bite to eat - and it was the most wonderful bite to eat. I had a homemade macaroni and cheese type dish that was topped with fried onions and pan fried pork. The noodles were even homemade and it was delish! The town even brews it own King Ludwig beer; Matt had the light version and I enjoyed the Dunkel version.After lunch we made our way to Hohenschwangau Castle for a peak inside the Royal Bavarian life. The castle was built in the 12th century, but destroyed by Napoleon. Maximilian rebuilt it in the 19th century and it looks much like it did in 1836 today. While the tour was dry and short on information, the inside was immaculately preserved.
Apparently the Hohenshwangau Castle was not enough for Maximilian's son Ludwig II , so he commissioned the building of three more castles in Bavaria. We visited the Neuschwanstein Castle that is just up the mountain from his father's castle. Neuschwanstien in the ultimate fairytale castle; it was the castle Disney based Sleeping Beautiy's castle on and where Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang was filmed*. The castle was designed by a painter and then planned by an architext and is truly an example of Romanticism from the 19th century. The entire castle was dedicated to Richard Wagner and is decorated with paintings of his operas.
Unfortunately "Mad" King Lundwig II died, from a highly suspicious sudicial drowning, and the castle was never finished. The short tour, again dry and lacking information, took us through the third of the castle that was completed. Once again the interior has been excellently maintained and most of the wall murals look as if they were painted last year.
We also visited Mary's Bridge, named for the wife of Maximilian. The bridge offered a fantastic view of the castles and the nearby town of Fussen. I tiptoed out a few feet onto wobbly wooden bridge and then happily handed the camera over to Matt to take pictures of the breath taking scenery.
Fully exhausted from walking up the mountains to see the castles and short on sleep the from the train ride, we headed back to Munich for a early night in our hostel with some Munich Beer and Bratwursts.

*Christina ~ I know you are dying to come visit me and visit the castle from Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang. Maybe we can even tour the children's dungeon...

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