What a great day! First, let me say that we were soggy today. All day. Super soggy. Not enjoyable but so far, it’s been my favorite day!
We had a fabulous breakfast at the hotel complete with what Shane and Emily are calling the best eggs ever! and set out for a day with Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
We started at Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, neighboring castles of Ludwig’s. Neuschwanstein is the most famous of his castles as it’s got the most unique look and inspired Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland. When we got there, the reservation people switched our castle times so rather than having lots of time to stroll up to Hohenschwangau like I expected, we had just enough time to catch the bus to Neuschwanstein at the top of the mountain…or so we thought until we saw the line! We got stuck behind two tour groups and waited forever to catch a bus. We made it to the top and ran down the hill to make our appointment time. If you miss your slot, you are out of luck and I wasn’t having that! Team work made the dream work and we arrived right on time for our tour of Ludwig’s opulent yet unfinished palace.
After our super interesting tour of the castle, we made our way back up the mountain to the Marienbrucke, Mary’s Bridge, suspended above the castle with an amazing view. It was also very full of tourists so I stayed off while the others got some great shots of the castle and valley.
Back in the village, after a slippery downhill walk, we shopped for souvenirs and had a snack before heading back up another hill to Hohenschwangau. This was the castle that Ludwig’s family called home so it was more “lived in.” We had an excellent tour guide Who gave us lots of insight into both Ludwig’s upbringing and his legacy. We also all have our own theories about his death after hearing three different variations!
After those castles, we visited Oberammergau in the rain which ended up being a bust, but what wasn’t a bust was our time at Ludwig’s only finished castle, Linderhof. Oh wow what a beautiful place! It’s small, the grounds are gorgeous, and apparently, it was like taking a trip to Paris for Versailles! Ludwig admired Louis XIV and modeled this home after the famous French chateaux. There’s even a tiny version of the hall of mirrors with an optical illusion creating the impression of a huge room. He also had a dining table, house elf style. It raised and lowered to the kitchens throughout his 12 course meals. What a diva!
The last thing we saw at Linderhof was Ludwig’s grotto…a man-made cave with a shell-shaped boat and flowered garland all around a pretty big “underground” lake – all designed to honor one of Wagner (Ludwig’s “friend”)’s operas. I remembered learning about that in German class so that was pretty cool.
We made our way back to Fussen for dinner of pork and spaetzle – yum! – then spent some time in our kitchen eating Eis and planning our Sunday jaunt to Salzburg. More good times ahead!