During our weekend in Münich, I accomplished one of my lifetime goals: visiting Neuschwanstein Castle. When I was about six or seven years old my dad was sent by the Army National Guard to Nuremburg for about two weeks. While he was there he visited the castle and brought back postcards. It was so pretty that I vowed to someday go there.
Photography by April Magneson
It’s located on a mountain in the mystical Alps, a bit of a hike upwards. Luckily for visitors there are three ways to reach the castle: by foot, by bus, or by horse carriage. The cheapest way is by foot, and so we hiked what they estimated to be a thirty to forty minute hike in about twenty minutes. Take that, mountain!
One side of the exterior part of the castle was under restoration, but it was still beautiful—as pesky as it is to see buildings under renovation, it makes it possible to see them still beautiful twenty, fifty, even one hundred years down the road. More than half of the group continued to climb higher to the Marienbrücke, where there are dreamy views of Neuschwanstein. A lot of people love to have their pictures taken with the castle in this area, and we were no different, having individual and group photos. Being on the bridge is a somewhat nerve-wracking feeling: the bridge connects two sides of a ravine a few hundred feet off the ground, and if there are many people on the bridge, you can feel the bridge swaying a bit from the weight, like a suspension bridge. We quickly descended back to the castle so we could make our tour slots on time.
|Mary, April, Zach, Will, Josh, Maren, and Brianna|
The tours run for about an hour, and aren’t necessarily cheap, but it is worth seeing the lovely rooms and designs. No photos or recording are allowed inside, so unfortunately the only images we have are from postcards or books. Ludwig II took ideas from mythology and the composer Wagner’s operas for designing the rooms, such as a bedroom with scene depictions from Tristan and Isolde, a tragedy of ill-fated lovers. The Singers’ Hall was based on the singers’ hall at the Wartburg Castle, where the legendary Tannhäuser singing tournament took place in medieval times. It all is very beautiful, but I do pity Ludwig and his plight: he was a dreamer stuck in a position with a strong sense of realism and practicality, and his heart couldn’t bear that. He mysteriously died when he was only forty years old, but it would have been amazing to see what else he could have accomplished.