My body was so confused when I arrived in Munich. I had taken a red-eye into Berlin from NYC two days prior, had very little sleep on the plane, took a 2 hour nap when I arrived in the morning, had 12 hours of sleep on the first night, and then 1 hour of sleep the second night. Still a little buzzed from the night before, I caught a 6am flight to Munich.
When I arrived, I went immediately to Mike’s Bike Tours shop for the 8:45 tour to Neuschwanstein. I was determined to see this castle that inspired the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. I tried to nap on the two-hour bus side, but there was so much cool information! Well most interesting was the conspiracy theory of King Ludwig II’s death. He’s the one who built the castle.
Ludwig spent so much money while he ruled that his family thought they’d go broke. He built lavish things all over Bavaria and threatened to fire his advisors when they refused to borrow money on behalf of the crown for him to create his lavish ideas. He’s actually known for making fairy tales come to life. Quite the reputation. Anyway, he never married and didn’t bear children. His family wasn’t happy about that. The theory is he was gay. So the official story from the royal family is that he went for a ride on the river with his psychiatrist and committed suicide. The theory is that his family murdered him to get rid of him. There’s apparently a ton of support for this theory and the original story had a lot of holes.
When he died, his Neuschwanstein castle project stopped and was never completed. He finished 14 of the hundreds of rooms. Those rooms are still empty – literally just bricks. The finished rooms are not as impressive as I expected, especially considering no one ever used this castle. Or maybe I just couldn’t appreciate the art. I was so unimpressed I fell asleep standing… More than once. The colors were dull. The rooms weren’t that big. The throne room may have been the nicest but still just ok. Oh yeah there was an indoor man-made cave that was cool and totally unnecessary. Lol Not sure if he was inspired by Louis XIV here but he definitely built a statue of him or something in Munich.
Needless to say, the castle interior was not the highlight of the day. The exterior with the fantastic rural Bavarian countryside as its backdrop was spectacular! We had to take a 20 minute hike for the view from Marys bridge. It wasn’t too bad. The castle is ridiculously large. It really is like a fairy tale from the outside.
The castle is in the Bavarian Alps which we had a chance to bike through. We even had a lovely dip in the cold alpine lake. The mountain ranges are amazing. The weather was perfect – warm, sunny with a slight breeze. (Super lucky considering it was forecasted to be pouring rain and freezing the next couple of days.) I would love to explore more of the Bavarian countryside again.
Food: For lunch, I ordered pork knuckle again. It was way too heavy this time. They really need to serve it with some vegetables like the Berlin beer garden version.