Leaving Lake Garda and Malcesine we drove through the Great Saint Bernard tunnel and Austria to get to our next stop in Bavaria. We all love history and we like to learn new things about the places we go.
I had read about Neuschwanstein castle being the inspiration for the Disney castle and that it had been built by the mad Ludwig II of Bavaria. So, we decided that Bavaria would be a good place to stop for a few days. We stayed in a lovely apartment hotel in Fussen, the nearest town.
Fussen is a typical Bavaria town with the older generation still walking around in traditional Bavarian costume. It is a great place to wander and stop for fabulous Bavaria food such as warm, red cabbage, pretzels, snowball cakes, sausages and Schnitzel. Yum! The weather was varied whilst we were there in July so you definitely need a coat and good walking shoes. It’s very pretty with different coloured houses and tall clock towers of the churches.
There are two castles in the area built by the royal family of Bavaria. The first is called Schloss Hohenschwangau which was the childhood home of Ludwig II and the summer residence of his father, Maximilian II and his mother, Queen Marie of Prussia. It is a mock medieval castle with yellow walls and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
However, the main reason to visit has to be to see the castle that Ludwig never finished called Neuschwanstein. He was obsessed with building it and personally bankrupted his family, although sadly he never completed it. It is absolutely stunning, perched on the cliff top surrounded by forest. I can see how the Disney castle took inspiration from this breath-taking place. We walked up to it and it took us about 45 minutes but there are horse drawn carriages if you prefer.
The inside of the castle is unfinished in places but you can have a tour around the different rooms. It is a very interesting place. Learning more about Ludwig, it was clear he was not comfortable in social situations and was obsessed by the works of Wagner, a musician famous by his operas of the period. King Ludwig became king at the age of 18 in a very turbulent and changing time. He died in mysterious circumstances having been declared insane. Reading more about him, I wonder whether he was autistic, a condition that wouldn’t have been understood in the nineteenth century. Whatever the truth, his life and death are all part of the mystery that adds to the magic of this place.
As well as visiting the castles, there are many other things to do. Nearby, there is the Tegelberg cable car and nearby toboggan ride (summer slide) and playground which are worth a visit. We enjoyed a really fun day here and all loved the slide! There is a restaurant near the playground and we enjoyed a Bavarian beer.
The children also swam in the Forggensee which is the lake near Fussen.
We would definitely go back to Bavaria in Germany. We had such a great time. It had everything we wanted; great food, historical sites, beautiful surroundings and outdoor fun.
Our Awesome Adventures series.
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