Saturday, July 14, 2007

Europe: Neuschwanstein

The castle that defines all castles. See pictures here.

It only has a few rooms finished, but those were decorated with many very romantic murals depicting the Wagner operas. King Ludwig was a patron and devoted fan of Wagnerian operas. It is said he would sit in a gondola on the water in one of his castles in the artifical grotto and have an orchestra playing Wagner from the shore.

He was eventually declared unfit to rule by his psychiratrist and a few days later they both mysteriously drowned while boating together in the lake. He had lived in Neuschwanstein 142 days.

His bedroom alone kept 14 woodcarvers busy for 4 years. The ballroom was set up for private performances of Wagner operas and other concerts. The castle sits high about the town, to the west is a tall, plummeting waterfall and a suspension bridge. If you've never heard of this, google it and just take a look. I'll post pics when I'm home or somewhere where there's an internet cafe.

We walked out of the castle and up the hill to the suspended bridge overlooking the castle. It is the side view you get of the castle on so many posters and postcards. Upon our return four of us took a detour on the Polletschult - the gorge along the waterfall and rushing stream - to return back to the bus. B missed that because he had worked out an arrangement with the tour guide to get a single ticket to Hoenschwangau, the family home. He loved it, was happy happy happy to have been able to see that. We had a bag lunch provided by our tour guide and off we headed for our summer luge ride.

I may have written about this, I can't remember.... you sit on a sled type thing and plummet downhill on what consistutes a giant slipery slide. It truly is designed like a luge run. It was exhilarating. See pictures here.

If you have high speed internet, view a first-person video of a full run down the mountain here. It might take a minute to load, but it's worth it.

Impressions of our hotel in Austria, for the two nights around visiting the castle, included a lot of motor bikes, many languages, the glorious smell of blossoms on a number of trees permeating the air. I was delighted to find out the hotel would do our laundry for only 12 euros. How nice to get clean clothes back on our bodies and into our suitcases.

So, great meals and great scenery - this is my memory of southern Germany and Austria. That and the fact that 3 people sharing one bathroom is impossible.

1 comment:

  1. and yet ...the jewels in the chandeliers are coloured glass and THEY WERE BUILT THAT WAY ...