Next we headed to Neuschwanstein, It was a glorious scenic drive up the mountains. It is quite a walk up a steep hill to the castle but in the royal fantasy they offer horse drawn carriage rides up and down the mountain. I had to do this, there is just something so fairy tale about riding up to the castle in a horse drawn carriage. we squeezed in, the kids sat up front and David and I sat in the back under a blanket. It was in dead a magical ride up. When we got to the top we had a little wait before our English tour started, so David to the opportunity to get some great pictures. King Ludwig began building Neuschwanstein in 1868 and never lived to see it completed. After 18 years of work when the king passed the work stopped. King Ludwig wanted Neuschwanstein to be a tribute to his friend Richard Wagners operas. The castle actually went through many designs and was added onto numerous occasions as Ludwig found different aspects of architecture that he liked, he did however want it to be a German style castle with Bavarian influence unlike Linderhof that is of french influence
The castle is 4 floors high but only several of them are finished. The first floor consists of servants quarters, the 3rd floor consists of the staterooms and the kings apartments and the 4th floor is the singing hall. The first room on the tour is the throne room and actually occupies the 3rd and 4th floor with a 4 meter high chandelier in the center. This hall is inspired by the Byzantine Churches because Ludwig not only saw himself as a king by God's grace but as a mediator between god and the whole world. Murals on the wall show Christ in his glory with john and Mary Church symbols and architecture also adorn the room. Off the throne room is the anteroom that leads to the kings apartments. An electric bell was installed so that Ludwig could summon servants from any room.
The dinning room is framed with oak panel lings and many murals there is an impressive salute in the center of the table of Siegfried fighting a dragon. The bedroom is lush and lavish. The walls depict the carvings and murals of Tristan and Isolde. The kings bed is in a neo gothic style and It took 12 carvers 7 years to carve all the woodworks in the room. The dressing room is decorated like a garden hall with vines and trellises. The paneling shows scenes from the poems of Vogelweide and Hans Sachs. Elaborately decorated and hidden in a recess is the king jewelry box. I would love to have this. The adjacent salon is L shaped and is decorated with scenes from midlevel poems. The grotto and conservatory, is behind a hidden door. I looks just like and cave and has colored lighting and a water fall. The kings winter garden (conservatory) is housed on a balcony encased in glass. The view is incredible. In fact the view through out most of the rooms is amazing. It looks down on town and over the picturesque lake. In the kings office the murals show the Tnnhauser saga. The king worked at a large desk in the center of the room and he has a room for his secretary nect door. The singers hall in on the 4th floor and was one of the kings favorite projects. It occupies the entire eastern section of the 4th floor, it mimics the festival halls in Wartburg. The murals in the alcoves depict the saga of Parzival and the Holy Grail. The stage is painted with an elaborate forest scene that surrounds the castle of the Holy Grail. Unfortunately it never served it's purpose for large banquets or musical performances. It was just Ludwig's salute to midlevel times of knights and legends. It seems that Tannhauser, Parzival and Lohengrin were figures the youthful king could identify with.
Down on the first floor is the kitchen, this kitchen was equipped with the a large stove and sideboard, it had spits over a fire place, a roasting and baking oven and even a plate warmer. This kitchen was not what i expected. It was large and had ever thing you might expect in a kitchen. I could cook in a kitchen like this.
After Neuschwanstein we headed to Innsbruck in Austria, it lies over the mountain pass. It was very high and going up this winding road was not so bad but coming back down, we came down a 16% grade road through switch backs. That was very nerve wrecking, it was a snow covered little mountain road. I tend to think that I may have forgotten to breath for a few minutes there. We went into the old section of Innsbruck and I was not that impressed, it was very commercial and very touristy. The Christmas market was full and there was a lot of celebrating going on but it really was more tourists than locals. We tend to like the more family oriented markets. We did however find a local pizza place where we got a huge slice of pepperoni pizza and David had a nice conversation in German with the store owner. He loves that!
Date taken: 2008 08 04 15:57 Monday