I grew up like so many girls loving the story of Cinderella and dreamed about princes, glass slippers and castles. When my children were old enough we took them to Disney World to visit Cinderella’s castle and they loved it and I am sure they had similar dreams.
And today we would be traveling to Germany to visit King Ludwig II’s Linderhof Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle. I was so excited.
We were up early, ate yet another great breakfast, boarded our bus and made our way along roads that offered picturesque views of mountains and alpine villages.
Our tour guide, Mary, gave us a running history of the two castles explaining that the Linderhof Castle is the only Bavarian castle completed by ‘mad’ King Ludwig. The castle is considered one of the great houses of Europe. And, that sadly, Ludwig had started construction of the Neuschwanstein Castle in 1869 and never completed.
As we traveled to our destination we drove through the village of Oberammergau which is noted for its beautiful Bavarian houses with their ornately carved balconies, beautiful painted frescoes and the Passion Play they perform every ten years.
The views from the bus were just beautiful. We drove over rolling hills, on winding mountain roads; through mountain passes and saw beautiful pastoral landscapes. Everywhere we looked there was beauty. As we rode along I could imagine Randy and I on our motorcycle enjoying these wonderful winding roads. I was sure Randy was thinking the same thing.
We arrived at Linderhof Castle and had to wait for our another group to finish their tour before we could enter. Randy and I spent that time walking around the grounds admiring the beautiful fountains and gardens. The castle and grounds were beautiful. Inside the castle the one thing that caught Randy’s eye was the dining room table that disappears down into the kitchen and reappears with food and thought that was very clever.
We were taken on a tour of the castle and the only word that came to mind as we walked from room to room was, opulent. What we learned about Ludwig was that he was a very lonely man who never had guests in this beautiful home. I thought that was very sad indeed. (Photographs were not allowed during the tour). “I was impressed with the castle,” Randy said as we made our way back to the bus. “I could hardly believe that he had this beautiful castle built just for himself.
Our next drive would take us over Germany’s famous “romantic road” to Neuschwanstein Castle. Mary told us that Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disney Land were modeled after the Neuschwanstein Castle.
To get to the castle the bus parked in a small village at the bottom of the hill. Some of our group paid a little extra to take special transportation up the steep hill and the entrance to the castle. We did not. There were several ways to get up to the castle by a using a bus, a horse-drawn carriage or walking. Not knowing just how steep the climb would be, we opted to walk. Oh, my, this decision proved to be a challenge for me, but, we made it.
The Linderhof Castle was on the sunny side of the mountain, the Neuschwanstein Castle was shrouded in clouds when we arrived. Even with most of the castle shrouded by clouds, it was still an awesome sight. We spoke to several of our group after they returned from the castle tour and they all said they felt that the interior of the Linderhof castle was more beautiful and impressive.
We had not purchased tickets to get into the interior of the castle but we were able to walk into the lower courtyard to take some pictures and visit the gift shop.
We started to walk back down the hill stopping at several souvenir shops and a wonderful viewing area for photographs. The walk down the hill was a little less strenuous and seemed faster. We both enjoyed seeing the trees in full fall color. And just as Randy thought the further down the hill the clouds slowly lifted from the castle.
Once down the hill, we stopped at the Restaurant-Terrace Kainz not too far from the where our bus was parked. We sat on the terrace and ordered first a café latte as we watched all the thousands of tourists scurrying around the town.
It was a little chilly so we ordered the Kartoffelsuppe mit brot or potato soup with bread and finished our meal with a delicious Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte or Black Forest cake. All our choices were delicious.
When we reached the hotel I asked Randy what he thought about the day. He thought a moment and said, “This was such a beautiful day. The ride to and from the castles was spectacular”.
I loved the entire day. No matter where we went there was something beautiful to see. I mentioned to Randy that this was definitely an area I would love to come back to sometime in the future. Beautiful, just beautiful!
We enjoyed another wonderful dinner before retiring. It had been a busy and we needed to pack and get some sleep because it was going to be another busy tomorrow.
Tomorrow we make our way to Italy through the Brenner Pass into Italy.