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Adorable Chick

HIGHLIGHTS OF EUROPE diary : Day 17 - 01 May 2016

Hohenschwangau is a village in south Germany, in which the massive Neushwanstein Castle is located, high amidst the hills. It lies very close to the town of Fussen. It is said that Walt Disney along with his wife visited the castle while on a vacation. Thereafter, he was so inspired by its structure that he drew out his own version of this Castle during his animation of 'Sleeping beauty' and also another similar version while creating his animation of 'Cinderella'. Later, he turned this into a permanent icon of DISNEY MOVIES - right ..! the one you see at the beginning of every Disney Movie. The castle was built in the 19th century under supervision of King Ludwig II. The King was greatly inspired by romantic Opera and Theater. He wanted a palace of his dreams built with his own funds. Twin castles initially stood on the ground of this castle, but the King was highly attracted to the environment, seclusion and also felt the place was holy. He therefore ordered destruction of the twin buildings, to build his ideal palace. He wished to live in his Palace above hills, until his death. Unfortunately he got to live there for not more than a fortnight, before his death. Ever since, the castle has been open to tourists.

The fascinating history behind the castle and its relation to Disney greatly attracted us. Therefore this had to be a part of our travel Itinerary. It was an easy day tour from Munich.

After a little brain storming the previous evening, we dropped the Idea of visiting the Zugspitze mountain, and chose to continue with Neuschwanstein Castle visit. Though it was expected to be a rainy day, we were hell bent upon getting there. As per forecast, it poured and was cold. We reached the Liam station by bus, from our accommodation. We then reached the Munich main station (Hauptbahnof) and took a direct train to Fussen from here. From Fussen, we took a bus to Hohenschwangau village. The bus stop was at the base of the Neuschwanstein castle. We bought the tickets for entry to the Castle here, along with tickets for the shuttle bus.

Tidy Desk

The Shuttle bus soon arrived at the same station, but the rain didn't seem to cease. We quickly slipped into our "BIG BUS PARIS" rain coats, flashed our tickets at the door step and boarded it. The vehicle got crowded soon and huffed its way up the winding mountain. We got dropped off a little before the entrance to the castle, calling for a bit of stroll uphill. The scene around was misty and beautiful. The downpour totally dampened our walk, with the fog & mist playing their part in spoiling our camera shots. Our limbs felt totally FROZEN, just like a spell cast in the same movie. A part of us was literally turning into ice and felt numb. Few of us experienced some pain too, due to this condition . No amount of rubbing palms together or blowing air into cupped hands seemed to bring in warmth of even an iota. Somehow, we dragged ourselves up till the gateway. The Colossal structure had us totally captivated. However, we couldn't savor its ' fairy tale like essence' due to the close proximity. There was fog all around. All we saw was, the huge mammoth sized walls ahead of us. We felt dwarfed. I was totally spell bound by such an Old , strong, mighty castle atop a mountain, built at a great height. Hats off to the King who had the patience to demolish the earlier twin buildings, build a new one as per his specifications and also await its completion. We tried to capture as many shots as possible in that nail biting weather.

The entire crowd took shelter from the rains under the castle entrance. We stood there shivering and absorbing the views inside the castle. We managed a few pictures. We didn't regret our decision. It turned out to be fun to walk in the rain, except for the cold wind, which gave us a tough time. The views from the top were so mind blowing. We spotted the HOHENSCHWANGAU CASTLE ( yellow in color) from the top. This was the childhood home of King Ludwig II, built by his father.

King Maxmillan II, had fallen in love with the Hohenschwangau village, before getting this Palace constructed on top of the hill overlooking the Alpsee (lake), and making it his home. His queen collected various flora from all over Europe and had them planted in their Garden. They lived in the Palace with their 2 sons, one of them King Ludwig II, who later went on to build the Neuschwanstein castle for himself. The Hohenschwangau castle was earlier called the Schwanstein Castle. The history behind these castles is very vast. There are many other castles in the surrounding area.

All of those together, can easily occupy two full days in a tour itinerary, whether the reason is to delve deep into history, or to just be fascinated by Castle structures & palaces. We were unable to take a tour inside the Neuschwanstein Palace rooms, due to the climatic conditions. However, we managed to get in through the main entrance, to reach the vast corridors on different levels by using the stairs, to click a few pictures for our album. The time was soon up. We walked back once again to the Shuttle bus stop. We couldn't wait to board it to find some warmth. The bus, once again, began to get crowded than ever before. The driver pulled the clutch, once it met full capacity, but suddenly brought the vehicle to a screeching halt after a few seconds of onward movement. There seemed to be an announcement by him, on the speaker. We were taken aback and looked all around to understand what was happening. He was gazing at the rear view mirror while calling out for a "person with the black cap right at the back" of the bus. " You do not have a ticket, please get off " he remarked. The embarrassed passenger did as instructed. It set us thinking as to how the driver realized this ? How did he know that someone was trying to get a free ride ? Was it his power of noticing or was it something we were missing. We called it his "intelligence" and left it at that. We got dropped off at the bus stop and took the reverse route back home, same as our onward journey. At Fussen station , we managed to grab a bite of hot french fries. It was much needed in the cold weather. We got back home safely. It still rained. Back to cooking some warm dinner and snugging in to catch up on good sleep is how we ended our rather eventful day.