It all began with a picture…
I was walking my dog on a sunny spring day. The flowers had started to blossom and the park looked unbelievably beautiful. Jazz was especially enjoying the stroll when he saw an English Bulldog waiting paciently for his owner who was buying the newspaper in a kiosk.
Trying to greet his new friend, Jazz started to pull hard towards him. As we aproached the dog, a magazine cover displayed in the kiosk really caught my eye. It was a fabulous picture of a castle framed against a white winter landscape.
It looked absolutely surreal…The faitytale castle rised with all its splendour in the mist of a pure white forest. Surrounded by snow-covered trees looking like soft cottom, the castle´s setting couldn´t be more romantic and idyllic.
While Jazz and Brutus played, I started reading the travel magazine. I was pleasantly surprised to see that beautiful castle was located in Germany. We always spend Christmas away from home so why not celebrating our next Christmas holidays in Bavaria ? It sounded so good!
Perched on the top of a hill overlooking a frosty valley and Schwangau village, the Neuschwanstein castle is unquestionably an architectural marvel.
The excentric King Ludwig II who was an enthusiast for German composer Richard Wagner, built the castle in his honor. In fact, Neuschwanstein means “New Swan’s Castle” which is a reference to one of Wagner´s characters.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria was declared incurably insane by a team of doctors led by Bernhard Von Gudden, a reputed German physiatrist. The King was desthroned and confined in Berg Palace.
On June 13th, 1886 his dead body was found floating face down in a lake. Mad King´s death has been cloaked in mystery since then. Although the official version says King Ludwig committed suicide, the real cause of his strange death is still unkown. There´s a theory that holds he was murdered by his enemies.
Neuschwanstein castle was opened to the public just 7 weeks after King Ludwig´s death. Poor Ludwig could only live 172 days in the castle of his dreams.
The Neo-Gothic Hohenschwangau Castle, also known as the High Swan Palace, is less known than Neuschwanstein but according to our tour guide, has a richer history. Captivated by the beautiful surroundings, Ludwig II´s father acquired the castle in 1832 and had it restored completely.
The castle design greatly influenced Ludwig during his childhood and later in his life, it would become a source of inspiration for his own castle.
Füssen At Christmas
The 700-year-old town of Füssen is located at the very end of the Romantic Road. Framed by the Alps and filled with romance this alpine jewel is definitely well worth a visit.
At Christmas Füssen, also known as “The romantic soul of Bavaria“, is absolutely magical. The cobbled streets bathed in soft glowing lights, the Christmas market and the aromas of mulled wine as well as other culinary delights, really invites to linger over.
Not to be missed is St Mang Basilica which boast the oldest preserved fresco in Bavaria. In the south wing of the monastery, the Museum of the City of Füssen holds an interesting exhibition where you can learn the history of the lute and violin makers. Did you know Füssen was the European birthplace of violin making ?
Another remarkable landmark near St Mang Basilica is Hohes Schloss, the former summer residence of the Augsburg. As we leisurely walked through narrow lanes of the Medieval Old Quarter, we came across the historic Stadt Apotheke (town pharmacy). As you can see in the picture, the facade is exquisitely painted.
Embedded in snow-covered mountains and surrounded by sparkling lakes, Füssen is truly a paradise when it comes to winter sports. There are 31 miles of hiking paths cleared of snow to explore as well as many other activities to do. The longest natural tobbogan run awaits you!
Special thanks to…BRUTUS!
Thanks to this lovely English Bulldog called Brutus, I found this spectacular place in Germany. Jazz and Brutus became good friends since then, and hang out frequently in the park 🙂