Growing up in California, we’ve frequented Disneyland quite a bit; although, never while we’ve been together. We should change that. Anyway, the most iconic part of the park is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. It’s the first thing you see in the distance when you enter, and you just have to get your picture taken in front of it. One thing people don’t often know is that Walt Disney pulled inspiration from Neuschwanstein Castle for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. And the super cool part about living in Germany? We’ve gotten to see it! TWICE!
The first time we went, Tyler took me as a surprise for my birthday. He didn’t tell me anything; just to be ready to leave early in the morning and that I was going to love it. And I did! Since my birthday is in January, it snowed almost the whole drive there. Thankfully, the snow stopped while we explored the castle – but that didn’t mean it wasn’t cold! Plus, we had to hike up the mountain to get to the castle and I was definitely wearing the wrong shoes.
We finally made it up to the castle, and we still had over an hour until our tour time. Normally, I wouldn’t mind the wait; but when the temperature is below freezing, standing outside in the breezy mountains is not the funnest thing to do. We spent most of our time waiting inside the small souvenir shop just through the castle gates, mostly because it was the only place that was warm. After an hour had passed, it was time for our tour and I was ready to be out of the cold and into some heat. I quickly realized I was thinking in the twenty-first century, and that heaters were not a thing in the nineteenth century.
This castle is also a no-camera castle. So, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get anything from the inside of the castle. But trust me when I tell you it’s absolutely beautiful inside. There is so much detail in every little thing. There was even an indoor cave with a sliding glass door! And yes, the sliding glass door was part of the original design.
King Ludwig II ordered the construction of the castle as a sort of refuge for him. He pulled the plans for Neuschwanstein from several other castles’ designs. The wood banisters had meticulate carvings. The throne room was covered in breathtaking paintings, as well as the massive throne. There was even a swan room with over 100 different images and sculptures of swans. They were a good luck animal to the royal family so there was almost always some form of swan throughout each room of the castle. Unfortunately, Ludwig II did not live long enough to see his castle completed. There was still incredible amounts of work to be done when he passed. He only slept 11 nights in his chamber. This castle was to be Ludwig’s home and he never wanted public access, but just six short weeks after his death it was opened to the paying public.
The amazing thing about visiting this castle twice, is that we got two completely different experiences. For one, the second visit wasn’t covered in snow. Although, it was a rainy day so the weather still wasn’t perfect. And for two, we got to see things we didn’t see the first time around. In January, Marienbrücke – Marie’s Bridge in English – was closed indefinitely for repairs. The bridge is located behind the castle, a little higher up on the mountain. It gives you an amazing view of the castle as well as the country behind it. Thankfully in August, the bridge had been reopened so we were able to walk on it.
Getting to the bridge meant more hikes up a mountain, so it’s safe to say I hit my daily steps goal. The higher we got, the windier it became. We finally made it to the bridge and it was a lot tinier than I anticipated. The boards also moved slightly under our feet which isn’t a very comforting feeling. We did, however, see an amazing waterfall on the opposite side of the castle. I mean, how beautiful does that little lagoon look?! If the temperature was higher than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, I probably would have gone for a swim.
Seeing the castle from the bridge left me in awe. The architecture, the attention to detail, the luscious, vibrant trees surrounding the castle. Everything was like it came out of a fairytale. The trek up the mountain was worth it just for this view. I can confidently say we’ll be coming back to this castle again before our time in Europe is up. This is a MUST see if you’re ever finding yourself in Deutschland. It’s always fun to feel like royalty for a day. 😉
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