Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles, Germany – Wednesday

Here are a few more images around Füssen:
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Today was Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, two castles used by Ludwig – Neuschwanstein, was built by him, Hohenschwangau, was his parents, and his after his father’s death. His father rebuilt Hohenschwangau, and designed it in a gothic style – gorgeous paintings on the walls. I really liked them. Unfortunately, no pics were allowed inside. I bought every tour book I could, but they don’t do it justice! Neuschwanstein, is fantastic – it was never finished – Ludwig was declared insane, hauled away, and died the next day, under mysterious circumstances. Neuschwanstein, is somewhat plain on the outside (next to the renaissance facades of Heidelberg Castle, say – but that is because it wasn’t finished. The inside (also not finished), is spectacular. What was finished, anyway. It really is a fairytale castle, covered in paintings from various myths and legends, many of which Wagner wrote operas about. They include Tannenhausen, Lohengrin, and Tristan and Isolde. The Tristan and Isolde paintings were particularly lovely. Truly, it was amazing and beautiful. No pics inside again, unfortunately – and it really is a shame because some of the paintings I liked best aren’t really visible in the images in the many tourbooks I bought to try and have as much coverage of the art as I could!

We started out at Neuschwanstein, first thing in the morning. We had heard that it can be very crowded, so we got there right when it opened. You can either get a ticket for both castles (but they start you at Hohenschwangau, and you do Neuschwanstein last), or you can buy individual tickets for each castle. I don’t think there was much of a price savings for getting the joint ticket. And there are two lines – a long one (and it got longer as the day went on) for the joint ticket or just Neuschwanstein – and a much shorter one for Hohenschwangau. We really wanted to to Neuschwanstein first, because of the crowds – so we decided to take a chance and get just a Neuschwanstein ticket first – see the castle, eat, and then come back down and get on a hopefully still short line and get a ticket to Hohenschwangau. This turned out to be really smart, and it worked perfectly.

Here is a view of Neuschwanstein from the parking lot. There are many parking lots, actually – it’s good to remember which one you are in – we had trouble finding our car since the lots filled up so much and everything looked different from when we first parked!

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Once you get your tickets, with your entry time, you can either walk, pay to take a shuttle bus, or pay to take a horse carriage up to each castle. They aren’t terribly close together, and it is quite a hike up to Neuschanstein. Hohenschwangau was much closer.

Since my knees were bothering me, we paid for the horse carriage, which was quite fun. It wasn’t terribly expensive, and it was about a 10-15 minute trip or so (the signs said 40 minutes, but that’s not accurate). The carriage leaves you off and you still have to walk a bit to the castle. Here’s the view from where the carriage lets you off.

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You go up a bit and see the castle walls right in front of you!
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You go around the front and walk through the archway in this wall:
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And that puts you in the lower courtyard, where you can queue up for your tour! There are restrooms, gift shops, and lovely views – and it’s easy to fill the time til your tour!
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You can take stairs to the upper courtyard, where you have a lovely view of the entrance archway…
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…and the back part of the castle, which is lovely. There was supposed to be a huge tower right in front of it (right where the lighter cobblestones are) – but it wasn’t even started. I also took a pic of a sign that had some information about the castle.
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We were allowed to take photos out the windows of the castle, but I was good and didn’t take pics of the inside, though I desperately wanted to – especially of the Tristan and Isolde murals in the King’s bedroom – some of the smaller paintings are not really in the tourbooks and they were so lovely!

The castle has a lovely view of Füssen – and the very roads I took a picture of the castle from!
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I believe this is the lake upon which shores they found Ludwig’s body. Excuse the camera reflection!
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The official Neuschwanstein site has a description of the rooms and some photos of the interior. They don’t do it justice though! There are more pics on this site.

I did scan some postcards. This is Ludwig’s bedroom – it’s the one with the Tristan and Isolde paintings. It is so beautiful! See the painting of the lady in the pink dress? The one behind the chandelier? Yeah – that’s the painting I liked that I couldn’t find many pics of.
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There is a tiny picture of the pink lady in one of the books I bought, though she’s not very big in it. She is supposed to be “love”, or “minne”. I found a nice photo of her here!

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There is another painting on the other side of the Tristan & Isolde painting, of a lady in blue – I she is “treve” or “faithfulness”. (I believe dogs mean faithfulness too.) I scanned the tiny pic of her from one of the books I bought! That’s the only one I have!
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This woman is reading Tristan and Isolde – I loved this painting!
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Here are some more scans of photos Tristan and Isolde murals.
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See the pic in back of the chandalier? That’s my other favorite. Fortunately I was able to find a post card of this one! This is Ludwig’s study.
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Here’s the painting from Tannhauser.
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Here are a few more paintings I liked from Parsival and Gawan
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Here’s a scan of a pic of the king’s staircase – gorgeous!
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So, after the lovely tour, and a stop at the gift shop, we headed back to catch a horse carriage back to get our tickets for Hohenschwangau. Here are some departing looks at the castle!
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We had no trouble buying our Hohenschwangau tickets, but the Neuschwanstein line was enormous!! After much debate, we decided to walk to to Hohenschwangau – and it really wasn’t bad, even on my bad knee, though there were quite a few stairs. Here are some pics of both castles from the lower central visitor area. You can see how far away and high Neuschwanstein is!

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And some pics of the walk to Hohenschwangau:
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The castle was being preserved on the outside, so there was much scaffolding. Ah well. Once you get into the main courtyard, you basically just hang around and enjoy the view until your entry time. There were bathrooms, and a giftshop, and a fountain:

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We took the tour and I was once again sad that no photos of the rooms were allowed. The paintings were just as gorgeous as Neuschwanstein – and this castle shouldn’t be missed! There are a few pics on this page – but they don’t do them justice! It’s hard to find good photos of the paintings. The books I have don’t have good shots of them sadly.

We could, however, take photos out the windows, so I did!
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We stopped at the lake on the way down:
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And a few more castle views – note the large swan on the roof..
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After we got down, we decided we didn’t want to miss the Marienbrucke – so we took a shuttle bus up as far as we could go to see the very high up bridge that overlooks a waterfall and has a fantastic view of Neuschwanstein. A bit scary as it spans a gorge, but an amazing view of the castle. Here is a pic of the bridge:
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The bridge is hugely crowded, as you can see – so not a little bit scary in that regard too! And here is a sign showing info about the bridge.
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And the view from the bridge:
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And just so you know a real person took those pics:
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And the view straight down…
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And a last view of the castle with gliders over it.
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We got back to Füssen for dinner and some lovely picture-taking around town! In Füssen, we actually had two meals at this great Thai/Chinese place. I wish I’d written down its name. :-/
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