On Crazy Kings and Reenactments

While in Germany we spent an entire day (the day after going to the Zugspitze) taking in three of the dreamy castles of King Ludwig II. We started in Füssen, at Schloss Hohenschwangau, which was originally the home of Ludwig II’s parents, and then became his when they died. I didn’t get a really great picture of the entire castle, probably because I wasn’t flying over it in a helicopter, but you’ll get the idea.

I took a few pictures outside on the grounds, because unfortunately you can’t take pictures inside any of the castles, with a couple of exceptions (I’ll get to one in a minute).

We only had to look into the distance to see our next stop, Schloss Neuschwanstein. Ludwig II had this castle built for himself, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from his parents’ place. Known to Americans as the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle, (EDITED: A-HA! Tom was right, in the comments. Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. I never knew that: thought both castles in both parks were the same, Cinderella’s castles. Don’t shoot me.) Neuschwanstein was intended to be a vacation spot for Ludwig II, and it paid homage to Richard Wagner, his favorite composer (and a good friend).

Again, no pictures inside, with two exceptions. Here was Ludwig II’s view of nearby village,

and here was his view of his parents’ castle, Hohenschwangau.

It was a 45-minute walk (there was a bus and a horse/carriage option but we passed) from Hohenschwangau to Neuschwanstein, and we weren’t done there. The best views of the castle were from the Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge), which was thirty minutes on the other side of Neuschwanstein. The bridge hovers over a huge gorge over a beautiful waterfall, and was a little nervewracking to stand on because of the hundreds of other tourists who were jockeying for the ideal photo-taking position. Jim opted out and stayed to the side, but the boys and I made our way to the center and were handsomely rewarded with a view that was to-die-for (but thank goodness we didn’t!).

Next stop? Schloss Linderhof. I visited Linderhof on my first trip to Germany in 1983, and I have always remembered how beautiful it was. I was hoping we could make time to take the detour there on the way back to Munich, and indeed we did.

Because it was already three in the afternoon and the lines were crazy, we opted out of taking the tour on the inside of the palace and just walked around the beautifully manicured grounds. (That was really what I wanted to see, anyway!) After being at the massive Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau all morning, Linderhof (inspired by the palace at Versailles) looked like it was in miniature. Indeed, it was Ludwig II’s smallest castle.

Isn’t it “cute”?

Here’s a wider shot.

I took tons of pictures here. The “front yard” of the palace extends way out, and you can go up the steps to have an even better view, which I’ll get to in a moment.

Here’s what you see when you look at the grounds from the palace.

Black and white, grainy lens, anyone? (Love this one!)

Now there’s a handsome couple!

One of the things I really wanted to do was recreate a picture that was taken back in 1983. It’s one of my favorite pictures of all time, and at the time I didn’t even know anyone was capturing the moment. Tina, the girl I stayed with in Germany for the month that summer, and I were sitting at the very top, hanging out and watching what was going on beneath us. As I recall, we had just finished some potato chips. I’m glad they didn’t make it into the shot! Tina is on the left, and I’m on the right. (and yes, that IS a Panama Jack t-shirt. I wore that thing OUT!) By the way, Tina’s dad took the picture.

It was a little drizzly, and it wasn’t like my boys were going to just hang out in that exact spot, so I asked them to sit there, and they obliged. Pretty cool reenactment; one of the things I noticed first was that the crowds are much heavier these days than they were in 1983!

That’s a pretty good place to end for now, don’t you think?

And guess what? One more post and then we will have completed my retelling of our family vacation! You’ve almost made it!



  • Tom

    Beautiful! I had no idea the castle had such amazing grounds.

    I love the fact that you took that re-enactment picture. I would have done the same thing.

    one little note: being the Disneyland geek that I am, I'm pretty sure that castle was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty castle. Not sure about Cinderella's castle; will have to look that one up. In Disneyland, they took the top part of Neuschwanstein and turned it around and voila.

  • Liz@thisfullhouse

    I am SO glad that you're re-telling your family vacation — feels like I'm right there, with you, sort of!

    Great pics, as always, my friend!!!

  • Lisa

    very cool castles. and thanks for including the mention of the one being the inspiration for Cinderella's castle. I wouldn't have noticed without the mention but totally saw it after I read that.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the reacted photo, I love doing that sort of photo!!!

  • Colleen - Mommy Always Wins

    VERY cool! (But you never did get around to telling us the two exceptions to pictures inside the castles!)

  • PJ Mullen

    Great shot of Neuschwanstein, my mother has had a picture of that on her wall for as long as I can remember. Not for nothing, but I wouldn't have built my castle that close to my parents 🙂

  • kat

    Yeah, the reenacted photo is the best. Gotta love the original…so retro it is back in style.

    Now here's to hoping that the boys will one day bring their kids to reenact the reenacted photo. If they do, we have a room for them 🙂

  • Michelle

    Oh how fun! I know this will come as a huge shock to you, but I LOVE wandering castles and the like. And so cool of your boys to recreate that photo (PS August = tourist month, maybe that has an impact on the size of crowds, too?)

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    So pretty! The cute little castle and grounds does look like Versaille. (One castle I can say I have been to!)
    I pegged the Panama Jack shirt before you even said it! So funny!
    Annoying that they don't let you take pictures in the castle!

  • Patty@NYC Girl at Heart

    Why can't I meet a man with 3 Castles? Huh! I'd even make an exception and take the smallest one! LOL!

    The pictures really looked like you were in a fairy tale!

    The reenactment picture is great!

  • Momo Fali

    I love the reenactment! I have picture of my husband on an amusement park ride when he was probably about five years old (lucky to have it, because he was the 9th kid…there are like three pictures of him) and I took pictures of both kids on the same ride from the same POV. I love those pictures.