Schloss Hohenschwangau (Castle of the High Swan County) was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. The castle is small, nothing like the fabulous castles you have back home... and the size of the rooms is such that u have to remind yourself time n again that u r in a castle.. the exterior is yellow and at many places repair works are also being carried out. It is said that Crown Prince Maximilian of Bavaria discovered the ruins of Burg Schwanstein while out walking in the Bavarian countryside one day and vowed to restore the castle into a romantic royal residence. Many rooms here such as the Knight's Hall, Billiard's room, Hall of the Knight of the Swan (which was the formal dining hall) Some pics of the interiors can be found here.
Next we moved to the Schloss Neuschwanstein whose construction was started by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as "Mad King Ludwig". It was named after the Swan Knight, Lohengrin, of Wagner's opera, and was designed by Christian Jank. Now one interesting thing to note is that reportedly King Ludwig was very pally with this guy Wagnar and most rooms in this castle are based around a theme of one of his operas. Many tapestries and paintings also depict scenes from the operas of Richard Wagner, a reflection of Ludwig's love for Wagner's work. However, many of the interior rooms remain undecorated; only 14 rooms were finished before Ludwig's death. Owing to his eccentricites and his perceived use of Bavarian funds (a myth, as Ludwig actually used his own money to finance the construction of the castle), Ludwig was removed from power before the castle was completed. Many in the castle which are incomplete are not open to the public. This castle is supposed to have inspired the Disney castle in Paris.
The Throne Hall has a huge chandelier in the shape of a royal crown and depicts the legend of Parzival on some of the walls. The chandelier reportedly weighs 3 tonnes. There are also images of six European rulers and a very beautiful mural of Christ above the kings over the throne area. The only thing missing from this room is the throne itself. The King's bedroom is the only room designed in the gothic style. The wood carvings on the bed and canopy are amazing. There is also a secret door that blends right into the wall to Ludwig's bathroom. The last room on the tour and the one at the top of the castle is the Minstrels Hall. This was designed so Ludwig could have his own private showings of his favorite operas and plays.
The swan features prominently in designs motifs and paintings in both the castles. The reason being that the swan is a legendary bird and a symbol of royalty and knighthood.
The visit would have been incomplete without a visit to the Mariensbruke, but we were disappointed to see that the path to the bridge had been closed coz of snow. What the Hell.. we still decided to visit it... and we were not alone.. there were scores of people there who thought alike...Some really lovely views from the bridge... absolutely amazing.. perfect postcards!! Here is a small video (2.5 Mb) I shot there.
Now between all that walking from one castle to the another n then to the bridge I did manage to click some pics of the Alps. Here they are:-
Back to Munich by 8 pm and we had dinner at an Indian restaurant, with this desi couple we met at the castles - Shashank n Reema. Now, I wonder why, every European city which I have visited till now always has an Indian Restaurant named Taj Mahal... I mean, doesn't anything else symbolise India... Dont get me wrong, Taj is beautiful no doubt....and someone, who I know remotely, went there the very next day of her engagement with her 'fiancé of 1 day'... But dont you think it is a bit overrated??? First off, its not a mahal.. it's a mausoleum... and as for being the symbol of love, Mumtaz died giving birth to their 14th child... Some love, I must say.