“Mad” King Ludwig’s Castles

After a few days to rest and adjust to the time change, we drove five hours from our home in the Rheinland-Pfalz region of Germany for a week in Bavaria. For Don and I Bavaria is our favorite part of Germany and we were excited to share the experience with Mom and Dad. We were also looking forward to catching up with our dear friends Judy and Bryan and their daughter Katelyn. All seven of us stayed in a cabin in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and took several day trips to sights nearby.  Our first day we toured three castles belonging to “The Swan King,” King Ludwig of Bavaria

The first castle we toured was Hohenschwangau a hunting palace where King Ludwig and his family lived for most of his life growing up.  Here’s a brief history of this castle:  It was built in the 12th century and was ruined by Napoléon Bonaparte .  It was restored 1832-36 by King Ludwig’s father Maximilian II .  Today you can tour fourteen rooms of the castle, and you will see it as it looked in 1836.

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Hohenschwangau Castle means “High Swan”

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View of Hohenschwangau from the “New Swan,” Neuschwanstein Castle

The second castle we visited was Neuschwanstein castle.  Most commonly known as the fairytale castle, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was partially modeled after Neuschwanstein.  It has an interesting story, but doesn’t end with “happily ever after.”  You can read all about it here

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Don took this photo during an earlier trip to Neuschwanstein.  It is one of my favorites.

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A view of Neuschwanstein from Hohenschwangau below.

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The final castle we toured was Schloß Linderhof. Let me stop for a moment and explain something to you.  The funny looking ß is not actually the letter B, but it is a letter in the German alphabet. It’s called an Eszette and is pronounced like a double s (ss). So, schloß is pronounced schloss (which means castle), straße is pronounced strasse (which means street) and scheiße is pronounced scheisse (and means…well, I’ll let you figure that one out).

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Schloß Linderhof was King Ludwig’s favorite castle (and mine too).  It is the smallest and “homiest” and was the only castle he regularly lived in.  Its design was inspired by the Petit Trianon, at the Palace of Versailles, France and is surrounded by fountains and Italian-style gardens right in the middle of a dense forest. 

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