It is a medieval knight’s castle. A fairy tale castle. Enchanting, mysterious, enthralling, atop a rugged hill.
We took a horse carriage ride up to it. It was huge ,and more bedazzling than Versailles. Inside, my heart dropped with every detail and woodwork that was not left to chance. Every thing inside the castle was crafted by talented craftsmen.
From a bridge to the forest, and overlooking the castle, I remember almost crying because Neuschwanstein was too be beautiful to be true. And the story surrounding its king so intriguing.
His name was Ludwig II of Bavaria – also called the Swan king and the fairy tale king. He was misunderstood from what I had read. Considered insane. But those close to him explained that he was simply a dreamer, who created his own dream world.
He was so reclusive that he often went on nightime sleighriding to avoid being seen by people.
To see the castle, we stayed two nights in the village of Hohenshwangau. It lies in the valley below Neuschwanstein.
If you look at the picture above, you will see a yellow castle near the lake. That is Hohenschwangau castle which was where the Swan king lived as a child. He was called Swan king probably because he lived by the Schwansee, translated Swan Lake. We also visited Hohenschwangau castle.
The Russian composer Tchaikovsky, who composed the ballet “Swan Lake” was among those inspired by the life and tragic death of the Swan King. Some say he committed suicide, others say he drowned, while others believe he was murdered.
An interesting Bavarian tradition: the heart of the kinds were separated from the entire body. So Ludwig II’s body was buried in a crypt, while his heart was placed in a silver urn in a chapel.
To take pictures from different angles, we took a gondola lift up the alps of Lechtal and the Allgäu.
Related blog entry: “Wished upon a star at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (Disneyland).
Photo: Jeanina Santiago