|Hohenschwangau Courtyard Fountain|
|Burg Stahleck in Bacharach Germany|
We started our trip in the Rhine Valley where there seemed to be a castle on every corner, quite literally. They liter the banks of the Rhine as they overlook what was the major shipping channel of the age. Today they've been turned into magnets for tourism, hotels, some are hostels and a quite a few are just left as ruins. No matter, we loved them all and could not get enough of them. At least in the beginning. Absolutely every one we saw would be a shout out "oh! look another castle!" We'd pull over, and start snapping away. Several of the them ended in muddy back roads that led to nowhere as the castle didn't have a road and wasn't receiving the hoards of tourists.
|Hohenschwangau Swan Fountain|
|Neuschwanstein in the distance|
We did end our travels along the Romantic road in Fussen as we thought it would make more sense to stay overnight near the castles vs. trying to do a day trip from Munich. Which is smart if you want to visit this area. However, be warned this is hands down the most touristy location of our entire trip. We honestly had no idea it was. Upon arrival we were swarmed with bus loads of tourists coming in for the day (presumably from Munich). And while we arrived at noon, tickets (yes you must buy a ticket to tour a castle) were completely sold out for the day. The lines were long with waiting times of several hours. We decided that since we were there, we would bite the bullet and try for tickets the following morning. Highly recommend this strategy since you cannot reserve in advance.
|The hike up to Hohenschwangau|
|Hohenschwangau Two Swan Fountain|
Due to its secluded location, the castle survived both WWI and WWII. In addition the Nazis used it as a hidden depot for plunder taken from wealthy Jews. Hitler's dream was to create a "Furhrermuseum" with an estimated 5 million pieces of artwork and cultural items he had stolen which included masterpieces from artists like Michelangelo, da Vinci and Vermeer. In April of 1945, the SS considered blowing it up to prevent the building and the artwork falling into enemy hands, but was in the end surrendered to Allied forces. Clearly, we enjoyed touring the many castles and learning more about the history behind each one. They all have stories to tell.
My now deceased ex husband was allegedly related to Mad King Ludwig, which actually explained his raging mental health and alcohol issues. His family also was from the town of Tann (fam name being von der Tann) and they owned a castle there too. Small one. When his grandparents visited Germany, they tracked down the address and went there. Apparently the distant German relatives were less than thrilled at the Americans that showed up to say hi. I think it was literally a meeting at the door, 'that's nice, bye' and shut the door.ReplyDelete
Spectacular! So many beautiful things to see and so much history. I absolutely love it.ReplyDelete
The photos are fantastic! Castles are so intriguing. King Ludwig II is definitely an eccentric I would have loved to have met in another time. I watched a documentary on his structures and was glued to the tv! The towers of Burg Eltz are so charming. How interesting about the branches within it.ReplyDelete
Burg Eltz is spectacular! We have a couple of castles in this area too, but none as large as along the Rhine. I visited Neuschwanstein as a child. Crowded, but beautiful place :)ReplyDelete
Incredible! The only castle I've ever seen is the Hearst Castle! :) What amazes me is how they built these huge places in the time periods they did. Another reason I need to go to Europe!ReplyDelete
The closets I have been to a castle is the Disney on ah! but seriously these castles are amazing!ReplyDelete
Wow, can you imagine watching one be built! Layer by layer all the way to the top!ReplyDelete
So very cool! I've been to a lot of castles in the UK, but none on the Continent that I remember. We'd really like to visit Europe, but we're waiting until we're on the East Coast again! Or least on the Mainland. It looks like your trip was pretty cool! I'm somehow not that surprised that the tickets were sold out at Neuschwanstein. I feel like it's the most recognized/popular castle in Germany! Maybe even the world.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful vacation!ReplyDelete
One of my all-time favorite memories is of the Neuschwanstein castle. While visiting my brother (who was stationed in Germany at the time), we took a road trip. Out of the misty morning appeared this castle. Just like a fairy tale. When we got closer and pulled off the road for pictures, I could hear all of the cow bells ringing, as a herd moved towards us, probably wondering what we were doing.
Your blog posts are bringing back lots of happy memories.
Looks like an absolutely stunning, spectacular, amazing vacation!! Great photos. I can't imagine how they are harvesting the grapes on that vineyard in Germany!!!ReplyDelete