Thursday, December 9, 2010

He makes good castles...

Bavaria is the queen capital of castles, so we could not go to Germany without taking our princess to two palaces. The Hohenschwangau Castle and the Neuschwanstein Castle, (which was the inspiration for the Walt Disney Sleeping Beauty Castle and is according to my daughter, where all the princess live).

Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Gothic Revival Palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near F├╣ssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, Ludwig 11 of Bavaria, and it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886. Since then, over 60 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with up to 6,000 per day in the summer. The postcards must sell like hot chocolate to an Eskimo!

Hohenschwangau Castle or Schloss Hohenschwangau, is a 19th century palace that was the childhood residence of King Ludwig 11 of Bavaria and was built by his father. This is a stones throw from the Neuschwanstein Castle, (if you have a good throwing arm), I guess he did not want to move too far away from his mummy.

Most historians believe that Ludwig was deeply peculiar and irresponsible, and the question of clinical insanity remains unresolved. His life is an interesting story and his death is treated as suspicious, drowning in shallow waters, suicide or murder? Sounds like a classic case of CSI television show. Others believe he may have suffered from the effects of chloroform used in an effort to control chronic toothache rather than any psychological disorder. I just think he makes good castles. Anyway, he looks sane, don't you think?

The castle was breathtaking to see, even from a distance. A horse and carriage ride to the castle had a queue with over an hour wait, (2 small children, no thank you). The walk to the top was over 40 minutes up a steep hill, with steps included, (2 small children, no thank you). Instead we viewed the 2 castles from a distance.

After a lovely lunch, (with the castle in the background), and a quick play in the snow, we headed for the car and I felt a pang of guilt as my daughter says, "I want to see the castle mummy!" This is followed quickly by, "I can't walk, carry me" as we head up the 10 metre incline to the car, (guilt disappears). We hop into the car and enjoy the gorgeous white scenery from Germany, to Austria, to Liechtenstein, maybe even Switzerland, (we think... we were very confused when we changed countries as there were no apparent borders, just a change in coloured lines on the roads?)

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