Going To Neuschwanstein

“When I am traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal; that is when the ideas flow best and most abundantly.”   Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Going To Neuschwanstein

It is raining again  in Munich.   Lisa and I are going to Neuschwantstein Castle. It was commissioned by Ludwig the Second and is the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. It is in Hohenschwangau, Germany in southwest Bavaria.

It takes about two hours by train to get to Schwangau from Munich.  I find a day tour on the internet ( Viator.com) and we meet at the train station. I buy a thick salty hot pretzel for the journey to add to what we have already taken from the breakfast buffet at the hotel. Train rides make me hungry.  I need carbs.

There are no more seats in the car  with the tour guide that are facing  forward . We go in the next car by ourselves. As we are traveling, the scenery flashing by is getting whiter and whiter. It is starting to look alot like the weather reports from the ski slopes in the Bavarian Alps that I watched on TV this morning.  I check to make sure the tour guide is still on the train.   All the pictures I have seen of Neuschwanstein,  show it as   sunny and very green. I thought we had missed  the sunny and green stop.     I didnt know that southwest Bavaria meant the Alps or that November meant winter.   I have lived in California for too long.

We  finally get off the train and we are  in a scene from Dr Zhivago.  It is snowing and there is a white out . We are standing at the train tracks and can see nothing.    The tour guide is very flustered and ushers us into the train station to figure what to do. There are two problems. One is that the restaurant that we are supposed to eat in is closed because of the snowstorm and two,  the bus running up to the castle is not in service due to the steepness of the road and the inclement weather. (funny how she just found this out) It is five kilometers up to the castle and is a 25 -40 minute walk depending on which route you take. You can also go up by horse and carriage. It is interesting that the horses were able to go up the  mountain in this weather but the buses were not.

We find an open restaurant .They are thrilled to have the business in the blizzard  and give the tour guide a free meal. I taste my first weisswurst breakfast ( white sausages and pretzel). It is the perfect meal to climb a mountain in the snow.

Now as I told you, it is raining in Munich.  I am wearing an Ed Hardy leather jacket, Los Angeles faux boots ( Miu Miu and made of canvas –luckily they are almost flat).  I have one of those Peruvian/Estonian winter hats  (I bought them in both places).  They are so in fashion now for anyone under 30.   I’m wearing it for warmth.   Lisa on the hand, is perfectly dressed for shopping on Fifth Avenue or an afternoon in Munich. . She is in head to toe Burberry wearing beautiful knee length slim fitting leather boots with a small thin heel  and a camel coat.  We did not get the memo to wear our ski clothes or hiking boots.

Since the buses are not running, there are too many people waiting for the horse and carriage.  It has stopped snowing so we decide to walk up.  Every time I turn around and see Lisa dressed for an outing in the city, walking up a mountain in the snow, I can’t stop laughing.  My feet are sopping wet when we finally get up to the castle.  Canvas is not good in the snow.  Lisa has made it up the steep, icy road  in heeled boots.  She has not fallen.    Her feet are dry. Bravo Lisa.

Now one of the best things to do at Neuschwantstein is to go across the Marienbruke (Marien Bridge)  a bridge than goes across a river valley. It is a scenic place to take photos of the castle. The bridge was closed because of the snow storm . We couldn’t even see it or the beautiful scenery and views.  We did see a lot of snow.  Schwangau Lake is visible behind the castle . No, we couldn’t see that either.  I was too cold to take my hands out  of my gloves to take many photos anyway.

I usually do these European castles  in the summer where everything is beautiful and easy. But doing them in the winter gives you a much more realistic picture of life at the Palace. It is cold and dark and damp. King Ludwig had one of the first toilets with running water in Europe as well as a hallway cave. He was a big fan of Wagner and scenes from his operas make up the murals throughout the building. (“mad” King Ludwig’s obsession)The only place you are allowed to take pictures in the castle is the kitchen.( and why would I do that?)

King Ludwig was found dead in the lake three days after he was declared legally insane. Did he drown or was it murder? Was he really mad or just “different” or ‘special”? Was he perhaps gay in a world and social strata where that was impossible?  You will find none of these answers at the castle.

Lisa has decided to  wait for the horse and carriage. I chose to walk down. No one else has made this choice and I am alone on this beautiful snowy road. I  fall a few times where it was steep and slippery .  I was trying to get down before it got dark. It was peaceful and quiet and I missed skiing.

The tourist village at the bottom is supposedly very charming.  They were right it looked like a Christmas card covered in snow.  I was  glad to find an open store to warm up in, while I waited for Lisa. She had to  wait a long time in the horse and carriage line.  The horses were walking very slowly down the slippery road.

We get into the train   and we are joined by a group of German Punk Goth drinking, rowdy teenagers.  We wisely decide not to say anything and we move.  We start planning where we will have a late dinner back in Munich.

It is  your mistakes that often make up the adventures. It is the adventures that lead to the stories. It is the stories that you remember.

Also See Things I’ve Learned In Munich


Haben Einen Sicheren Flug


7 thoughts on “Going To Neuschwanstein

  1. I visited in February a few years ago and although it wasn’t snowing that day, there was snow on the ground and the bridge was closed. My sister and I made the hike up to the castle in the snow, too. It’s definitely a different experience than the summer tourists get!

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