Monday, May 15, 2006

München - Tag Zwei

Well day 2 was reserved for the Schloss Hohenschwangau und Neuschwanstein. The two castles are near a place called Füssen which is about 2 hours from Munich. A travel tip here - In Munich when u buy a 1+1 ticket its actually valid for 5 people so it makes sense to go there in a group of 5 and make use of this scheme. Just outside the Füssen station (pic above) you will find the busses which will take you to the summit, for less than 4 euros, from where you can get the tickets to the castles. Now a twin ticket for both the castles costs less(15 Euros approx) so go for it. Now you could take a Bus, a horse driven carriage or simply walk to the castles. The day I was there, the buses were not plying so there was a huge waiting line for the carriages therefore chose to walk. First to the Schloss Hohenschwangau. Well there would be a guided tour in English of the castle which comes included in the tickets u buy for the entry.
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

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.
Heres the complete album.


Sakshi said...

Beautiful pics.
Hey ther used to a Taj restaurant here too. It closed.
And many people don't know it is a mausoleum, they think of it as a shrine.
And most people forget the brutality that was met out to the artisans by the King.
But people love the idea of love and hence to romanticize everything.

If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya said...

hey dude, so u know me remotely eh?? after everything we've been through and all...

yeah, for some reason he wanted to propose at the taj but then thought better of it and did it in the bus itself while on the way to the taj.

this was my first visit and honestly even i used to think it was vastly over rated. and yes, the king was brutal to the artisans...but when i reached those marble seats and started walking up, i was just stunned.

i cudnt think of a queen dead with labor, i cudnt think of killed or mutilated artisans, and i cudnt care less that this was after all just a tomb...all i cud think was...God it is unreal and so beautiful.

anyhow, the alps luk stunning. nice pix lalit. i especially like the ones where the snow is blowing away from the top of the mountains.

Lalit Singh said...

True.. people love the idea of being in love... its such a high.
I think love is also one of the most overrated things.

My Dear Colleague (since we work for the same company)
The choice of word was very deliberate. 'Remotely' refers to the distance and gives an idea about the acqaintance over net which is nothing but a few hundred thousand machines connecting remotely. Waisey bhi u r sitting thousands of miles away.

I know, one radio transmission tower aka Eiffel Tower left me with an open mouth, when they started shimmering the lights.

About the pics.. now you know I risk life n limb to bring these pictures to you all. BTW, if u r contemplating about honeymoon destination, I would strongly recommend Europe.

If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya said...

lalit, dude, i give up. in ne liya....long distance hai.

honeymoon in europe? sahi hai. i'll dream about it.

Sakshi said...

Hey .. India has a cool destinations to offer... like Andaman or Lakshadeep. Its beautiful beaches, warm climate and the perfect romantic setting. But you have to love seafood ;-)
My fav place is Kerala. Tried and true spot for honeymoon but it has a lot of things to offer - Thekkadi for the nature lovers, tea gardens and cool ait to back waters.

Lalit Singh said...

Hey Sakshi
I've been there - Thekkadi... was in Kerala for 3 months and every weekend we would visit some or the other place...
Infact a friend of mine went for his honeymoon to Munnar, on my recommendation

V, hope u r making notes?? see people are pouring in suggestions for your honeymoon. :-)

Sakshi said...

I was in Kerala for I think 10 days... Highlights included visiting the spice gardens in Thekkady, the "Chai" plantations.. Watching those women deftly pick young, tender shoots for Tata factory and the most memorable trip was overnight on one of the houseboats in Alleppy.. very romantic.
hint hint to if I tell ya'...
I have all these places I want to revisit. I wish I can plan a month of next time I come home :-(

Rohit Talwar said...


LOL @ Taj! Overrated...YES. But..not to forget it's one of the wonders of the world. :D

If I tell ya, I'll have to kill ya said...

hey lalit, sakshi! thanks guys !!

at present, i'm beginning to think its an easier option to just elope. whoever said a wedding was just 2 people ought to be shot.

umm houseboat in kerala. what a dream. but sakshi, if ur short on time, check out the Neemrana heritage hotels. They have one in almost all corners of the country...and they are AMAZING.

Lalit Singh said...

I dont think they exhaggerate when they say God's own country. I remember Thekkadi, Munnar, Rajamalai sanctuary, Periyar, Ponmudi, KanyaKumari, Houseboat from Kollam to Allepy, Kochi, Kovallam and lotsa other places. had a time of my life.

Haan bhai wonder to hain... isiliye to Zakir bhai bhi 'Wah Taj' kehte hain.

Neemrana is good no doubt.. but its more of a weekend getawat yaar... not someplace u wd want to go for honeymoon... def not.. I can chalk out a detailed Kerala iternary for nominal fees to fit your needs. Interested??