Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Neuschwanstein Castle

As you can see TJ is an excellent writer. You can also see how much we've been engrossed in to which I haven't had time to write. We sort of came upon the agreement he would write and i would provide the photos from the trip which i will do as soon as we can find some decent Internet connections. 

To continue on we did indeed head back to Munich to see one of the famed castles of Bavaria. Heading back to our old hostel the Wombat they advertised a tour of the Neuschwantstein Castle, however the tour was cancelled. That did not stop us from getting the instructions to get there ourselves. The next day we awoke and made plans at the train station to get to Toulouse, France to see a friend of ours from our trip to Krakow. While there the very helpful English-speaking agent also set us up for the trip to the castle. In no time we were on our 2 hour train ride to see it. After the train ride we hopped on a very packed bus to the ticket center for the castles. Foregoing the option to see two castles we decided to the Neuschwanstein Castle, which is the basis for the famed Disney World Castle of Sleeping Beauty. Enduring another very packed bus ride up the mountain, not deciding to take the 30 minutes hike up the mountain, we were at St. Mary's bridge. From there it was a 10 minute walk mostly downhill to the castle. This truly was something out of a fairy tale. After a small wait and exploring the outside of the castle ourselves we began our tour. A few things we learned about the castle: It was built by Kind Ludwig II but never completed due to his early and mysterious death. The castle was dedicated to the operas and plays of Richard Von Wagner. Throughout the whole castle you will find swans either in paintings, carvings, or statues. This is due to the swan being the symbol of the area and a favorite among King Ludwig II. Throughout the whole castle there is practically not a single wall that is not adorned with an exquisite medieval painting. The unfinished throne room was magnificent. Above where the throne was to be is a painting of Jesus Christ with Joseph and Mary at his side and the apostles looking up. Across the way is decorated by a painting of St. George and the Dragon. The floor itself is a giant mosaic showing the animals of plants of the area created with over 2 millions tiny pebbles. The tour continued on through the King's room which was adorned with gorgeous wood carvings to mimic gothic towers and the legend of Tristan and Isolde. Another interesting fact was learned here; this castle was among the first to have running water due to the flow and supply from a natural spring nearby. His toilet even had a flush system. We got to see the King's personal chapel, a small room with a kneeling bench with large ivory crucifix. From there we viewed his dressing quarters, his living room, the study, and a personal opera stage which never held a performance due to his death. Afterwards we headed down the 120 something stairs to get back to the first floor. Taking in a few sights of the surrounding areas, the kitchen, and finally the exit we were on our way back. Using the opportunity I snapped a few shots and then we were off. After some tiring hill climbing we made it back to St. Mary's Bridge, the meeting point for the bus. After a long wait and one hell of a shoving match to get on the bus TJ and I were headed back. We walked back to the bus station to transfer us to the train station after getting a quick snack. When the bus arrived it was shoving match number two. With luck and my size we were on. With time not so much on our side we made it to the train station to find a hoard of people waiting for the train. It didn't look good. After another wait, some luck, and shoving match number three we were on and had seats. After a 2.5 hour ride we had returned to the hostel where we worked to find a place to stay in Toulouse. After that task we grabbed dinner and decided to call it a night we would needed to catch a 6am train.

Here are links to all the photos so far:

London:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.656247642698.2167393.39706315&l=2e8f1d5d18

Brussels:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.656341764078.2167441.39706315&l=a2996d093a

Amsterdam:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.657471470138.2169174.39706315&l=4393a83d1b

Berlin:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.657629243958.2169465.39706315&l=85bf539e6a

Krakow:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.658385323768.2170350.39706315&l=37c7dab7fa

Prague:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.659397560238.2170772.39706315&l=ed22dd87cd

Munich:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.660902998328.2171457.39706315&l=a89766c833

Rome:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.661857680138.2171673.39706315&l=57e4ea5a35

Florence:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.663205948198.2172057.39706315&l=3c03784d3c

Venice:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.663209101878.2172058.39706315&l=604b7cd92a

Neuschwanstein Castle:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.663210349378.2172060.39706315&l=f8b8e84814

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