Saturday morning we set out for Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the unfinished work of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. With limited powers and a total disinterest in state duties, he spent his time as king immersed in the operas of Wagner and built fanciful palaces far from the reaches official life. He was by all accounts was extremely introverted, preferring a world of creativity where he could be the king he imagined himself to be, one of romantic days gone by. He never married, therefore never produced an heir, and stopped attending official functions. At 40 years old, he was declared insane and thoroughly unfit to remain in power. He was arrested and taken to Munich. The king was found dead in Lake Starnberg one day later. The cause of death remains a mystery. The castle was opened as a museum six weeks after Ludwig's death.
I'm not real happy with these shots-harsh sunlight and no time to hike over to the foot bridge for the full sidelong view.
Walt Disney is said to have been inspired by Neuschwanstein. When we first reached the castle walls, and certainly when we began the tour, it felt like I was in a Fantasyland castle. Something about the idealized version of the past, and bold, bright decoration lend itself to Disney's brand of theme park experiences and storytelling. Here's a picture of the Singer's Hall, where the tour ended. It is still used for live performances every year.
We took a horse and carriage ride down the hill where we stopped for lunch in the town of Hohenschwangau. The shuttles weren't running, and sometimes you just have to make sacrifices.
We hopped in the car and drove toward the Zugspitze, Germany's highest peak. The Garmisch area had snow as recently as Friday, and we were excited to take the seilbahn up to the top. Ever fearless, Cody and Emily stood right in front to watch the cable car fly so high it shot up at a 90 degree angle to reach the summit.
The frozen Eibsee to the left.
I liked this more than I thought I would. The snowy peaks go on as far as you can see. Halfway across the observation deck you can cross the border into Tirol, Austria. Peaceful and very beautiful.
On the way down we took a different seilbahn to connect with the train that runs up and down the mountain at a very steep incline mostly through a tunnel. It took a little longer, but it was fun for Emily.
We ended the day at our favorite Bavarian restaurant. It ended up being an interesting night to be there. The back room had a party booked for a large group of traditionally dressed Alpine men, some with beards curled up on each side in huge loops you could hold a tin can in. This is something I really like about Bavaria. Every time we pass through we always see people in dirndls and lederhosen and it isn't necessarily for the sake of tourists. On our drive out this morning, we came across a Bavarian band walking down a road toward a small church. Another group was outside it, each holding a long pole of bound flowers and grasses for some springtime tradition. This was in an area with no tourist presence, just a quiet Sunday morning. Tradition is still alive here.
Dinner and a show with music and dancing. You can't beat that. Plus the apfelstrudel mit eis is killer.
At one point yesterday, Emily looked up at me and asked, "Is this the fairy tale land, where magic comes from?"
"Yes, it is."