Sunday, March 3, 2013

Neuschwanstein Castle

Want to spend your Saturday at one of the most famous castles in the world, anyone? Casey and I had been looking forward to doing just this since we arrived, so this weekend we headed out to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle, the striking 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace that inspired the Walt Disney Castle and draws over a million visitors each year.

The castle perches above the village of Hohenschwangau (try pronouncing that one) in southwest Bavaria. We planned the trip this weekend because for weeks the weather man had been telling us that the days would bring temperatures in the forties and “abundant sunshine”. Casey and I even left our coats at home in anticipation of the lovely springtime day! We were surprised to step off the train into a sea of black clouds, falling snow, and below-freezing temperatures. After getting over the initial disappointment (and adjusting to a numb body) I was able to appreciate the foreboding and Gothic feel of the place; I felt like I had fallen inside an Edgar Allen Poe poem, and the ravens perched here and there reinforced this feeling.

While some chose to take a horse and carriage, we decided to climb the snowy mountain to reach the castle on top. The castle was just as striking and beautiful as we had anticipated, with pointed turrets framed against the winter landscape. Near the castle was a shop selling Glühwein, a delicious mulled red wine that was served steaming in mugs. Yum! This proved to be the perfect medicine, warming me to the core.

After exploring the castle and the village in the frosty air, we settled down to finish our day in a cozy restaurant with a meal of Käsespätzle, a scrumptious onion and Emmentaler cheese pasta, the sophisticated German version of mac-and-cheese. Another beautiful (and delicious) day in Bavaria! 

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