While on a trip around Europe (starting in Amsterdam and now in Munich), my pal, Dean, and I decided in the short view days there to pay a visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle. We got up early so we could catch the tour bus at Munich station. Leading the tour guide was Maria; it was very pleasant and insightful listening to her.

Our first stop was at Linderwolf Palace (one of three castles/palaces owned by Ludwig II of Bavaria). It was a gorgeous sunny day with clear blue skies; this made it even better wandering around the lush grounds and seeing the palace. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the palace, but it was extremely luxurious; mirrors and gold everywhere. Apparently their way of signifying if the king was at the palace was by placing two bird statues outside the castle, instead of raising the royal flag like in Britain.

When we got back on the bus again, Maria gave us more insight into the life of Ludwig (creator of the two castles we were seeing on the tour). It was apparently speculated that the reason he left his wife was because he was homosexual. Interesting to think that there were known gay people during that era; it would have been a rare thing to acknowledge someone else with same sexuality whereas it’s all the rage now. The world has definitely come a long way since then and especially in the last 50 years.

We stopped at a wee village called Oberammergau. It had fairy tales painting on some of the houses were were passing, held a Passion play every year and was filled with little souvenir shops; a lot of the shops looked like Geppetto’s toy shop with all the ticking wooden clocks on the walls, and carved toys everywhere. I got my mum minature Nutcracker tree decorations.

We got back on the bus and headed for the highlight of the trip, Neuschwanstein Castle. It was absolutely stunning! It was strange seeing it through childhood in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and now seeing it in person.You could tell the likes of Disney got lots of inspiration from the look of it. There was another castle close by which used to be Ludwig’s father’s castle; I don’t know if Ludwig II was just trying to outdo his dad or if he built it close by for sentimental reasons. Either way Ludwig’s castle was bigger than his dad’s.

It was a fair bit of climbing to get to the Neuschwanstein castle itself, but before our tour started within the castle, we decided to climb further up the hill to get to bridge where there was a fantastic view of the castle, but it was so busy. Again like Ben Nevis I’m not scared of heights, but was getting wary when we were on the crowded bridge which was bouncing up and down due to the amount of folk!!

We then went for a tour inside the castle at 3:00. We weren’t allowed to take photos here either, but it was wonderfully eccentric! So many strange things inside like a throne room that’s never had a throne, all the paintings/designs were inspired by legends and Ludwig’s fanatics (geek like me) and his sex cave: you literally opened a wooden door from a posh bedroom and there was a rocky room with a waterfall and baloney looking out over landscape. It was a fantastic castle; so much better than these other tours which are so serious in their etiquette that you doze off out of mere boredom. It was such a great experience!