One of the favourite places of all tourists to Germany (and we were no exception!)is the land of castles in the southern part. Just a short drive from Weiskirche, while passing a lake, through a flat but picturesque valley we came upon this!
Re-built by Maximillian II in the 1800's, this castle was originally built in the 12th century and then ruined by Napoleon. This was Ludwig's boyhood home and it was full of beautiful furniture, chandeliers and furnishings. There was a secret doorway that connected the king's suite with his wife's bedroom - interesting! This castle has a feeling of comfort and home, a place where a family with 2 boys spent happy times, I imagined.
We could see the second castle from this vantage point.
There was a lovely garden with several fountains that made it so inviting to just sit and rest.
Many outside walls were painted with beautiful murals.
From the bottom of the cliff we got a good impression of the whole castle.
Once we finished touring the first castle, we hiked up the hill to see Neuschwanstein , the castle that Walt Disney used as his model for the Cinderella castle at the entrance to Disneyland. King Ludwig built this castle based on paintings and the opera music of Richard Wagner. Built from 1869 - 1886, it's only as old as the Eiffel Tower. Construction continued for 17 years, only one-third of it was ever completed and Ludwig only lived here for 172 days before he mysteriously died. Falkenstein, another castle he planned was supposed to be even more whimsical and would make this one look shabby but it was never built.
Our first up-close view was the corner tower and then -
we saw the whole side.
Mary's Bridge is further up behind the castle but we didn't climb up to it (next time!). I'm sure the view of the castle and valley from here would be spectacular.
It was a fairytale kind of place, perfect for taking pictures with loved ones :))
Cobblestone mosaics are fascinating, especially with moss growing over them. Can you imagine how long it took to lay these down in such perfect patterns?
This is one of the valley views that the king had of his kingdom.
Outside King Ludwig's bedroom(a room that was actually finished), through a window beside his reading chair, you could see this statue - just one of the many details that filled the castle. This window also looked out onto the valley.
Our half-hour tour took us through some of the completed rooms but we couldn't take any pictures. I loved the castle kitchen in the basement! It had a seperate room for washing dishes, a chef's office, copper utensils and wonderful marble countertops. It was considerably bigger than my whole house!
One last glimpse of the fairy castle as we left.
If you are ever in southern Germany, you must make time to visit these beautiful buildings. I'm so glad Heather and Jonathan recommended them to us and that we had a guidebook with lots of information about history, tours and tickets.