Last weekend, Wei asked me if I wanted to join her on a trip to visit Schloss Neuschwanstein (English: “New Swanstone Castle”), a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen. Eric had told her that its beauty in Autumn cannot be compared to its lush landscape in Spring/ Summer and white wonderland scenery in Winter, and that the castle just has to be experienced in this time of year. It was an easy “yes!” on my part.
Fast forward a week, on the 17th of October, we board a regional train to Füssen from München Hbf, cameras charged and excited as can be to meet the very palace that has appeared in movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape, and served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle!
Tip: Purchase the BayernTicket for transport on the day of Your intended travel to Neuschwanstein. This ticket costs 23€ for the 1st person, and 5€ for every other person that joins. Furthermore, it covers all of Your train and bus journeys on this very day — it’s a steal!
I had packed cookies and scones for us to snack on in case we got hungry, and positioned the lunchboxes in the space between our seats before I dozed off into a dream where I sold lemonade to someone who had an uncanny resemblance to Dylan Dunlap. I woke up an hour later to find Wei snacking on the stash of cookies — caught red-handed ahha! — and we both dissolved into uncontrollable laughter. We reached Füssen soon after and, following the crowd, made our way to the nearby bus stop to take bus 78 to Hohenschwangau, where King Ludwig II’s original castle (Schloss Hohenschwangau) is situated. There, I rushed to the toilet — small bladder problems! — and befriended an Indonesian woman who was here with her German husband and Indo-German children to visit Schloss Neuschwanstein too! I felt a little sting in my heart — I missed my own parents so much.
Hiking up to Neuschwanstein, Wei shares with me a little bit from what she picked up during the Neuschwanstein castle tour that she went on the last time she was here (a couple of months ago in Spring). She told me that seven weeks after King Ludwig II’s death in 1886, Neuschwanstein (aka. “the castle of the fairy-tale king”) was opened to the public. The shy king had built the castle in order to withdraw from public life, but today, Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular of all the palaces and castles in Europe and vast numbers of people came to view his private refuge (about 6 million a year!), streaming through rooms that were intended for a single inhabitant. I then read on Wiki that Neuschwanstein illustrates the ideals and longings of Ludwig II more vividly than any of his other buildings. The castle was not designed for royal representation but rather as a place of retreat. In this castle was Ludwig II escaped into a dream world – the poetic world of the Middle Ages.
We didn’t have good weather to enjoy but with a husky ear muff and an ‘axe’, we knew how to have fun.
Anyone who comes here must head to Marienbrücke (English: “Marien bridge”) because it is right here that one would get the most spectacular view of the famous castle rising out of the land like a boss (featured all the way to the top of this post). The bridge is almost always packed, but don’t be turned away by the crowd, trust me, the experience on the bridge will be worth every jostle and hustle.
We continued through the bridge and kept hiking and hiking and hiking till we reached a point roughly 20 minutes away when we looked at each other upon realising that we were the only ones around! Wei and I turned back immediately and began on our long walk back to the bus stop at the valley. The long walk was accompanied by long and comforting talks about trust, changes and shutter speed — I think I mastered how to utilise varying shutter speeds in order to create magical water effects in pictures!
Waiting for our bus back to Füssen Hbf, an insane fight broke out between two little boys (featured below) who initially seemed to be the best of friends. There were violent beatings, throwing of each other’s bags and screams. It was so uncomfortable to watch, but who were we to interfere?
Wei and I boarded the 4.04pm train back to Munich — just barely — and I spent the next 2 hours looking through pictures while Wei played BB-Tan on her phone (I’m not usually into games, but this really looked like fun hahaha!) and filled the silence with stories of her sister’s hilarious endeavours while learning Malay.
What a day. :’)