Neuschwanstein, the Real Live Disney Castle
Sometimes I go somewhere with lots of ammunition ready. Lots of plans, maps, reading on the place of destination. Sometimes I just go with “we’ll see what’s there” attitude. And sometimes this works just as well.
For Europe winter trip, we knew we wanted to go to Germany. But Germany is a country that is quite evenly distributed. There’s no one big city that contains all the big stuffs, except maybe Berlin. And Berlin is a bit too far north east for this trip. At quite the last minute I heard good things about Munich, and it happens to be located conveniently between Paris and Vienna (our two must-go cities), with direct trains connecting them, so Munich it is!
I’ll probably do another post on the city of Munich, but right now I’d really like to talk about Neuschwanstein castle, which is said to be the inspiration of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle! I found this information just on the receptionist desk of the hostel we were staying at. My eyes were just glancing over a couple of popular day trips in Munich while waiting for the guy to deal with my card, and Oh, what a coincidence. A Disney lover unknowingly arrives in the city with a Real Live Disney Castle? How lucky can I get?! Also, as you know, at the time I just left Disneyland Paris. Everything was playing almost too well!
So how to go to Neuschwanstein castle from Munich?
You take train from München Hbf (Munich station) to Füssen Hbf which takes about 2 hours, and from there you take bus to the Hohenschwangau village. Return tickets are €29 each way for 2 people including bus to the village (weirdly it’s the same price for 2-5 people, so if you have more people in your party it becomes so much cheaper) This village is the base for 2 castles: Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.
There’s a ticket office at the village where you buy tickets to go into the castles. You cannot go inside by yourself, you need a tour to go with. So the tickets are for specific times at which you need to be in front of the castles at the right lane (the tours are in a few languages, so make sure you go to the right one). Unfortunately the tours are not as often as one would like so we only got time to see Neuschwanstein castle (tickets €23 for a pair).
Now the journey hasn’t ended yet because it takes about 40 minutes to walk to Neuschwanstein castle from the ticket office! (Hohenschwangau is closer, about 20 minutes) Both castles are up in the middle of the mountains, so they look really cool, but you have to walk up there to reach them. You can take horse carriage if you want, but we opted to walk (though it was kinda rainy too and cold brr). Lots of people do.
Inside Neuschwanstein Castle
Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside the castle! Boohoo. (There’s not much time to linger as well because you need to follow the group.) But you can get glimpses of it at the Amazing Race season 20 (just find it on youtube) or the wiki.
I have to say that I was really impressed with the inside of the castle! Even better from the outside! It looks colourful and Disney-esque. There’s artificial cave overlooking winter garden and gothic churches carving on top of the King’s bed. The ball room in particular really caught my interest. There’s a painting as the background of the stage and it looks like a forest scene from Bambi! I bet Walt Disney did make a trip to this castle and took many inspirations out of it! Too bad that the castle never finished. The king who built it died before it did.
Real Live Disney Prince
Now what is better than real live Disney castle? Why, real live Disney prince of course! King Ludwig II was the “mad” king who built many fairy tale castles in his lifetime that he’s often dubbed as der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale King. And a long time before he’s old and declared mad (which is completely disputable gathering from the history), he is a dazzling young man.
I was completely fascinated by the story of this fairy tale king. And here I started hearing about Sisi, or Empress Elisabeth of Austria, his cousin, who later I will get to know more when I reached Vienna, Austria, our next stop.
If you’re intrigued to know more about King Ludwig II, there’s an episode on him at Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast from the gals at howstuffworks.com (my current daily digest).
Neuschwanstein castle is definitely one of the highlights of our winter Europe trip :)