I had the privilege of visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Neuschwangau in the Bavarian region in Germany. In the beginning, I was not aware of where we were going. All I knew is that we were going somewhere renowned, it is famous, and it is a surprise. Many possibilities and probable answers surged through my mind, but it came empty. I really had no idea where we were going. Needless to say, it was truly a pleasant surprise.
This castle was built for Ludwig II, in Bavaria, a shy and introverted king who wanted a place of solace where he would retreat in the 19th century. The king regrettably did not rule for long since he died relatively shortly after building commenced. Only a handful of rooms were finished, along with a lavish throne room, bedroom, modern kitchen (for the 1800s, at least). The rooms were filled with opulent Renaissance era artwork all on the walls. The artwork was inspired by Richard Wagner's pieces, the favorite being the tale of Tristan Isolde. Since photography and filming was prohibited in the castle, with the entire castle an original work and not recreated to maintain longitivtiy, they wanted to preserve the beauty of the castle.
To get to the castle, it is approximately a 30 minute walk up steep hills to reach the castle's entrance. On the particular day we visited this place, it happened to be 2 degrees. That's 34 degrees Fahrenheit. At the end of May. With a light drizzle coming down, we began to climb the hill. By the time we reached the top, it started to snow 10 minutes later. With lush greenery spreading far beyond the horizon, the snow-tipped trees along the tree line with the snow falling down softly at a high elevation created an eerily calm and tranquil scene, so beautiful and serene, it almost didn't seem real.
A cute and endearing feature of this expedition is that my youngest sister though that she was on an adventure rescuing Rapunzel from Mother Gothel. The reason for this is that Neuschwanstein Castle is actually where Walt Disney drew inspiration to build upon his entire empire. The castle bares similarities to Cinderella's castle at one angle and the Beast's castle in the Beauty and the Beast at another angle. It is sometimes called the Original Disney Castle. While one is the face of an empire, of a tycoon, of entire childhoods, the other is filled with profound history and a sad story. I'm glad to say I have visited both.