At the end of the famous Romantic Road, near the Alps, somewhere in the Bavarian region of Füssen, Germany lies the small quiet village of Hohenschwangau. Despite being very “Little town, little quiet village – Belle, Beauty and the Beast” (yeah2x I know it’s the wrong Disney movie and country), it’s actually visited by almost 2 million people every year. Why? Cos of the massive and beautiful Schloss Neuschwanstein, the grand castle built by Mad King Ludwig II as an homage to Richard Wagner. There was definitely something more than friendship and admiration going on there. The tragic part is, the king was only able to stay for 11 nights before he died. In English, Neuschwanstein is translated to New Swanstone Castle, which explains the Swan motif everywhere inside the castle.
Anyway, so from the village you take a bus to the foot of the castle, walk up the long, long, long ass path to the actual castle and while you’re trying not to die, wait in line for your turn. You end up taking huge pulls of air into your lungs before you can talk again. Since I was alone, thankfully I could just pant in peace. Before you get to the castle, you head over to the Marienbrucke (or Mary’s Bridge), located just a few meters away and spans the Pollat Gorge. It was named after Marie of Prussia, wife of King Maximilian II and mother of King Ludwig II. Back in the day, it used to be wooden but the king had it reinforced with iron railings. The floor is still wooden planks that was scary as hell. The photos were great but the experience of looking down a ravine while hundreds of people jostle about the narrow wooden bridge is not something I want to relive. This suspension bridge is actually one of the world’s most spectacular footbridges according to CNN.
Even the pathway to the castle gate was far far away from the bus stop. The experience was awesome because you ended up talking to other tourists who are also suffering and short of breath. Once you reach the gatehouse, the castle is so massive that you cannot take a decent picture. That’s why you need to go to the suspension bridge.
You’re not allowed to take photos inside the castle but the interiors are just extremely ostentatious – mosaic, gilded, larger than life. The exhausting trek did not stop because we had to go up lots and lots of spiral staircases and down long corridors but hey, it’s not everyday I get to tour a straight legit castle. The view of Hohenschwangau from the top of the castle towers was just breathtaking. Kick-punch to the throat. Thanks King Ludwig, this was definitely a great idea.
How to get there: Take a 2-hr train from Munich to Füssen.