Visiting Neuschwanstein, Part 1

Today we hopped on the Deutsche Bahn and journeyed south to Füssen to go visit the legendary castle of Neuschwanstein. Getting to the castle is relatively easy BUT it’s advisable to buy tickets way in advance since it’s regulated by appointment and it gets crowded in the summer and early fall. Worse, you have a specific time window to pick up the tickets prior to your “appointment” time (for further details on visiting Neuschwanstein, go HERE). Nevertheless, the Deutsche Bahn is fast and efficient and after about a two-hour ride in a comfortable train, we arrived at Füssen where we caught the bus heading to the town of Hohenschwangau where the main visitor center/ticket office is located (it’s actually an easier trip than what we’re describing).

Waiting for our train at the Hauptbahnhof, Munich.

After picking up the tickets, we were able to rest a bit easier and so we decided to take in the scenery a bit before heading to our first stop, the Museum of the Bavarian Kings (more properly, Museum der Bayerischen Könige). Like Neuschwanstein, it’s best to buy tickets in advance (we bought it all at the same time online about a month before leaving for Germany) but there’s no fixed admission time and it seems that most of the tourists avoid visiting in favor of the castles (Neuschwanstein or Hohenschwanstein). For us, it was perfect. The museum is right next to this lake, the Alpsee:

Compared to the visitor center, and later the castle, the museum was empty and we pretty much had the entire place to ourselves. As the name suggests, the museum is focused on the Wittlesbach family who were the ruling the monarchs of Bavaria from the Middle Ages. Here’s some of the things that struck us (the lighting was playing havoc with my camera so for some pictures, I had to organize some photos from online):

The interior displays were aesthetically brilliant and it was complete sensory overload. And yes, that’s a LOT of real gold you’re looking at. 🙂

And here’s a portrait of Ludwig III, the last King of Bavaria, reigning from 1913-18:

And now for Ludwig II:

Portrait of Ludwig as Ludwig II as the Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of St George, (Gabriel Schachinger, 1887) wearing the ceremonial robe. And here’s the robe today:

The display of the robe is quite cleaver- it’s designed so it can be viewed from both front and back:

Not, it’s not the camera- the robe has faded to a shade of teal. It’s dramatically different than what’s pictured in the portrait above. There’s a lot more in the museum than what we’ve posted and we highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the history of Bavaria. It captures the history of the Wittlesbach kings very nicely, especially in how they attempted to come to grips with a modernizing world that would eventually render them irrelevant (sad, to say). Between this and the Residenz Museum, one can gain a pretty good overview. Definitely worth a visit. And now, on to the castle!

(To be continued…)

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