31 May 2012

Hohenschwangau und Neuschwanstein

"From where they stood, they could see the castle."
 - Frank Yerby

Photo by Marcio Cabral de Moura
From where we stood we could not see the magnificent view you see above.  But the castles were impressive and a sight to behold in person.  On the right you see Hohenschwangau Castle and to the left you see Neuschwanstein Castle.  Neuschwanstien is what the castle in Disney's Sleeping Beauty was modeled after.  It is a great looking castle but I will have to admit Hohenschwangau was much more impressive.

Fair warning before I post the pictures from my visit, no photography was allowed inside any of the castles.  You could shoot photographs through windows to the outside but nothing was allowed in the castle.  The tour guides explained that it is to protect the delicate fabrics and paintings from flash AND because there are so many one of a kind pieces in the castle.  They do not want replicas out there I guess.  I find it all hogwash since you can look up pictures of the interior taken by tourist companies or historical organizations.  Whatever, I complied.   >:(
  Funny thing happened right by the Jägerhaus, well funny after the fact.  When it happened/was happening it was quite frightening.  My sister and I were glad it happened when it did and when she noticed or our trip would have been a very drab panhandling trip.  So what happened you ask???  Some sort of money belt malfunction happened!  My sister was wearing one of those money belts you wear around the waist and somehow it decided that it hated holding money.  I was a few steps ahead of her when I hear her shout my name in panic.  I turned around and frantically she exclaims, "Help me!" as she bends down to retrieve her money.  People were looking at us and one even chuckled as he walked by while my sister and I are picking wet, muddy money off of the ground.  OH MY GOD!  I had my leg wallet (which I will never travel without, best thing ever!) so we would have had money for our lodging and limited transportation.  But not much money for all of the plans we had for our travels in Germany.

Luckily not a single Euro was lost and we were so happy that our first mishap was not so bad.  We chuckled over the sillyness shortly after it happened and decided this one was one for the books.  It was our story of how our trip was almost over just as it began.  I think at first our laugh was a nervous one but quickly it turned into joking.  "Hey Sylvia I will just walk behind you in case you want to start throwing away your money."  Not a single person helped us retrieve the money but not a single person tried to take off with it either.  My sister decided the money belt was stupid and she carried her cash elsewhere for the remainder of the trip. 
This is a view of Hohenschwangau as we headed toward the hiking path to the castle.  Click the image for a better view.

View of the lake on our hike up to Hohenschwangau.  It's a little steep, nothing too strenuous but in the summer you will break sweat.  Luckily it was nice and crisp so the hike kept us nice and warm.
View from the path just before getting to the castle.

Haha look at how tiny I am in the above two pictures!

A few shots of the entry way leading to the courtyard where you wait for your tour to begin or spend some Euros in the gift shop.
The bottom of the stairs is where the tour started.  I wanted to get a picture of my sister and me by the fountain on the left side of the picture but it didn't happen.  There was a family of 4 picture hogging the spot for like 10 minutes!  Don't people know what sharing is?  I had half a mind to photobomb them so they could remember in the future to share landmarks with other tourists.

The view down from the castle to the parking lot and tourist information center.   The place with the yellow tents is where we had our first German meal.  You can actually see our rental car from this view. 

A few shots of Neuschwanstein Castle from Hohenschwangau; they were much closer than I anticipated them being!

Some views from inside the castle.  Too bad I couldn't show you what the rooms looked like.  The gifts that were given to the ruling Wittlesbach family were exquisite!!!  The gifts, tapestries and furniture inside of Hohenschwangau far outshine anything that Neuschwanstein Castle had to offer.
This is the back side view of the entry way I photographed earlier before the start of our tour.
Outside area after touring the inside of the castle.

My sister posing in front of a really nice fountain.  In all I think I counted four fountains around Hohenschwangau Castle.
I have no idea where this lead to or what it was for.  It was after our tour and I had no one to ask but I loved the red stained glass.  I had to take a picture of it!

On the way back down the path I noticed this sign.  I had no idea what it said but after some research I think it says something about: 'Traveling on the path (or off the path maybe) is at your own risk.'  It was wet out and slippery so I can understand why they would post a warning.  But I also noticed that off the path looked pretty soggy with mud and equally dangerous.  If anyone knows, please tell me what it really says.
Passing the Jägerhaus on the way to catch the shuttle to Neuschwanstein.  Actually before catching the shuttle we indulged in some currwurst and beer.  It hit the spot and we needed a bit of a food boost to continue our day.  I also had a problem with my beer, the first sip ended up on my chin and chest.  Uh huh (insert drinking problem joke here) it was slightly embarrassing.  That is until two dogs decided to play rough and a guy pretty much dumped his entire beer on himself and the table.  He was a good sport about it.  Turns out a little yappy dog decided it wanted to get in the face of a bigger dog.  Bigger dog was tolerant and then it had enough; it barked and nipped at the smaller dog.  It was actually funny to watch 3 people try to untangle 3 different dogs all while holding their beer mugs. 
My sister taking a picture of me taking a picture of Neuschwanstein Castle on the hike there.  This was the easy part of the hike, it got very steep the closer we got to the castle.
This is what I was photographing in the previous picture.

Like I said no photographs were allowed to be taken inside.  But they did have a scale model of the castle that you could photograph.  So I posted a few of the different angles we got of the model.  The inside was very big but it lacked in royalty to me.  Many of the ornaments were beaded glass in contrast to the items in the other castle which were made of semi-precious stone.  The grotto was really neat and creepy.  I think it was my favorite room.  I really wish the castle would have reached completion and gotten decked out like the other one.  It really would have been impressive.  I mean, it was really impressive as it was but it didn't have the rich history that the other had achieved.
Technically we were not in the castle at this point.  It's a tunnel that leads out so I snapped a picture, you know me and tunnels.  No yelling though, that is reserved for driving through tunnels.

They had a little vista outside of the castle so you could photograph it.  So here ya go.  I liked the first one I got, the second one just seems too washed out.  But at least you can see all of it in the second shot.  I also found a nice view in the opposite direction.  Check it out:

Isn't it pretty!!!  After I got video of this we rode a horse drawn carriage down to the parking lot and made our way to the car.  We hopped in the car and made the mad dash back to Munich to return the rental car to the airport.  We got a little lost but luckily my German came in handy to ask for help.  The guy answered in English which was doubly helpful.  We were able to get the rental back just as it got dark!  I am glad we didn't end up lost in the dark.  I hate that!

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