Living Out My Childhood Dreams: Neuschwanstein Castle
By Tess Hays
So I don’t know about you, but when I was little my biggest aspiration was to grow up and be a princess so in preparation, I watched literally every Disney Princess movie over and over again(my favorite was Cinderella). Up until recently, I had forgotten about this dream, but over spring break I managed to live out just a portion of it: I went to Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle in Disney World.
Neuschwanstein is in the mountains bordering Austria and because of the number of tourists it gets, there’s this little town at the base of the castle. It’s a complete tourist trap, but it was super cute. There are lots of hotels and it borders a lake and another castle that I didn’t get to see, but looked really cool. Other than that, there’s a lot of fields and towns nearby.
To actually get up to the castle, there are 3 options: bus, carriage, and walking. We walked, and I personally would recommend walking. It’s not a short walk, but if you hike, you can go see some really pretty views of the Alps and the lakes and countryside. There’s also a path to get up to a bridge that provides a fabulous view of the castle, provided you aren’t afraid of heights(the bridge is super high up and kind of rickety).
The finished part of the castle is always being renovated so some of what we saw was obscured by construction, but everything was so pretty! Our tour guide said that a lot of the castle was based on Byzantine designs so for the most part, the castle doesn’t look super European, but I thought it made it more interesting. The castle’s walls are painted with opera scenes, as King Ludwig built the castle as a sort of monument to Richard Wagner and his music.
On the way down the mountain, we took the horse drawn carriage, which was so fun! We got a ton of stares and a few people took pictures and videos, which was a little not fun, but I felt like an actual princess so it was worth it.