2nd Day Trip from Munich (21st November 2011)
I had joined the same tour agency for both day trips so we again started out from the Munich Hauptbanhof that morning. We had a different guide whose name I cannot now recall. It was another 2 hours train ride, this time to Fussen. On the way, our guide related the story of King Ludwig II and the history of the castle. By the time we reached Fussen, he was up to part of the King’s mysterious death. We would hear the rest of the story on our train ride home.
From Fussen, we took a bus up to Hohenschwangau (I think that’s what it’s called) where we were given the options of getting up to the castle ….. either by a 30 min walk uphill or by bus. A short distance up the hill from where we were, we could see the Hohenschwangau Castle which we were told was the childhood residence of the King.
Since it was already lunch time, we proceeded to a nearby restaurant for a meal. There was a beautiful lake nearby where we were able to snap some photos before we made our way to the stop from where we would be taking the bus up to Nueschwanstein Castle.
We were told to meet by the Marien Bridge from where we would get a great view of the Nueschwanstein Castle and the beautiful Swangau area. I suppose this wasn’t the peak season for visitors so we were lucky the queue for the bus wasn’t very long.
The bus dropped us off near the Marien Bridge which gave us a breath-taking view of the Castle and the vast plain surrounding it. There were not many visitors on the bridge at that moment so we managed to get quite a number of photos before another group arrived. A pity one side of the Castle was covered by scaffolding which I suppose must be due to the on-going renovation and maintenance (as can be seen on the Castle’s left wall in the top photo). The bridge was built over a waterfall which we could see right below us. After we had our fill of the view, we then proceeded to walk down to the Castle. We had another beautiful view of the surrounding Swangau plain and lake on the way down. Finally we saw the Castle just ahead.
Our guide got our tickets while we waited in the courtyard. Admission was by groups and according to the selected guided tours which were available in multiple languages. Whether one visits the castle on one’s own or by tour, admission into the castle is strictly by guided tours conducted by the castle staff.
Finally our group number came up and we each tapped our tickets on the reader at the entrance gates. We then proceeded to the top floor where we met our castle guide who brought us to the various rooms while giving us a commentary of its history. Unfortunately photography was not allowed. I cannot now recall each room exactly but we were brought through the King’s bedroom, dining room, the throne room and the music room. What struck me about these rooms were the very elaborate carvings, rich tapestries and beautiful paintings which adorned each and there was even an artificial cave along the way. It seems the King was a great admirer of the composer Richard Wagner as all the paintings were of scenes from his plays.
The castle tour lasted about 30 mins which I thought was a bit short and we didn’t get to see other rooms beyond the few we were brought to. On our way down to the exit, we passed by the kitchen where we could see all the cooking utensils displayed in the roped off area. Just before we exited, we passed by a couple of souvenir shops selling items related to the Castle. And that was the end of our castle tour.
Our guide next brought us for a hike down from the Castle to the bottom of the gorge. It must have lasted about 30 mins as we trooped all the way down through the various paths and steps, and at one part we had to walk along a narrow bridge built against the rock face of the gorge. This hike would not be possible for those with bad knees.
After what seemed like a long time, we finally reached the place from where we had first arrived, where we had taken the bus up to Marien Bridge. Our bus then took us back to the train station for our ride back to Munich.
Finally it was time to head for home the next day. I suppose each trip teaches us something and opens up our eyes and mind to things which can be fascinating or not depending on one’s outlook.
I have learnt much.