Germany has many beautiful castles. One of the most recognisable and famous castles would be Neuschwanstein castle. It is so fantastical and beautiful that Walt Disney based his Cinderella castle on Neuschwanstein itself. It was built in the late 1800s by “Mad” King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Construction began in 1869, but the interior of the castle was never actually completed. He died under mysterious circumstances in 1886 and within 6 weeks his castle was opened to the public.
I was lucky enough to visit Neuschwanstein castle in 2011 while on a student exchange. It was so beautiful to visit the castle covered in snow and to go inside the castle and see some of the rooms.
When I went back to Germany recently, it was exciting to visit this same magical castle with James and experience the castle’s magic in the summertime. As is with life and travel, things don’t always go to plan.
Something terrible happened.
DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUNNNNN.
James and I were staying at a hostel in Munich for a couple of days where we planned to visit the castle and enjoy some great beer that Munich is famous for. The first morning we woke up to find many of our personal belongings including my laptop, expansion drive (with my travel photos) and James’ entire carry-on bag were taken from our locker. James’ passport, our working visas, cash, emergency credit card (ironic, I know) all gone. Of course, tears followed, along with some panic and worry. So the first of only two days in Munich was spent talking to hostel workers, police, insurance brokers and a helpful lady at the NZ embassy instead of exploring the unique city centre of Munich and spending the afternoon in a beer hall.
We did briefly go into town to buy new phone chargers and we booked a group day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. We weren’t going to let this little bugger who stole our things ruin our best opportunity to see the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle. A group trip was a good decision for us because we were in no mindset to fluff around organising trains and buses ourselves. Anyone who has had something stolen will know how empty and unsettled you feel. You feel vulnerable and sick to your stomach knowing someone else has been in your space and now has possession of your things. Now I know they are only things and things can be replaced. Sadly for us, most of the things stolen were gifts from family or important documents. We were lucky, we still had an eftpos card for cash and my camera with the memory card was not taken.
So that night we slept with what little valuables we had left under our pillows. We got up the next day determined to enjoy the beautiful castles and try to briefly forget about our insurance and travel document problems. Despite the situation we had a nice time, the memories are slightly tarnished but for the most part, it was still a beautiful day.
First Stop – Linderhof Castle
This is also one of King Ludwig II castles. This one was his hunting lodge, the smallest of his castles and the only one he saw to completion. This castle is beautiful, French-inspired and quaint. It’s situated in a valley and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains.
Second Stop – Small village
The next stop on our bus trip was a small fairytale-esque village at the base of the Bavarian Alps. It was a cute wee town, with murals painted on the houses.
Third Stop – Hohenschwangau
The village of Hohenschwangau sits at the bottom of Neuschwanstein castle, there is also another castle on a smaller hill called Hohenschwangau castle. This castle was bought by Maximilian II of Bavaria (King Ludwig II’s father) where Ludwig spent a lot of time growing up. When Ludwig became king, he decided to build Neuschwanstein on the larger hill beside his parent’s castle. Hohenschwangau is a cute wee village, with a lovely lake at the end and two beautiful castles to look up at. It is very touristy, there are lots of people and gift shops, but it’s worth going through all this for the castles.
The view from Marianbrücke (Mary’s Bridge) is iconic. It’s the classic and beautiful shot seen in many tourist magazines. So naturally, we had to go up and look for ourselves. It’s a reasonable walk up to the bridge, steep in places but easily manageable with a wide footpath/road. I’m going to be frank, the bridge was scary. It’s a very sturdy bridge, it felt safe, but it was VERY high and VERY full of tourists. People were piling on the bridge like there was no tomorrow. Due to my already high stress levels from events of the previous day, I began to worry, why are more people coming on the bridge than going off? Why is no one else worried about this? Luckily someone from a bus company (not too sure who he was) stepped up and started guiding people on and off the bridge so it was a more even amount of people on the bridge. I felt a lot better about this and we were able to take some beautiful photos of the castle.
We didn’t go inside the castle. We weren’t too fussed on seeing the rooms. But we walked up as close as we could without a ticket and looked at the magical castle.
Neuschwanstein is iconic. It’s beautiful. It’s magical. It does feel like a real fairytale castle. I don’t think you can look at it, in all its wonder and not be happy, or feel the magic or just be darn stoked that someone built something so magnificent.
Well, Neuschwanstein worked its magic on us, we managed to forget about our problems for a day and I’m so glad we went.
3 and a half months later we are on the verge of getting our visas replaced and begin working life again. Out of everything stolen our working visas were the hardest to replace. If you ever get a BRP/UK working visa, DO NOT lose it, DO NOT allow it to be stolen. Especially overseas. It’s a pain in the ass and we’re still dealing with the consequences.
Ludwig II of Bavaria: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_II_of_Bavaria#Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein Castle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuschwanstein_Castle
Linderhof Castle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linderhof_Palace
Hohenschwangau Castle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohenschwangau_Castle0