Munich & Neuschwanstein Castle: Fairy Tale Bavaria

What a difference 10 minutes can make — That was my big photography lesson last weekend, when we got off the train to find Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany completely enveloped in fog. It persisted for a couple of hours while we explored the castle grounds and then, just as we were boarding a bus to catch the train back to Munich, we saw a few rays of sunlight filtering through the clouds. By the time we got to the train station 10 minutes later, the sky was a bright, sunny blue and we were flagging down a taxi to take us back to the castle for a second take. Was it worth it? Well, here’s one of my favorite photos from the trip captured on our second visit:

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And here’s what the same view looked like during our first venture up the mountain:

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So yes, I’d definitely say it was worth it 🙂

Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and it’s easy to see why — It’s so classically romantic and surrounded by such beautiful scenery that it practically looks fake. Our second, sunshine-lit visit had the added bonus of being mostly free of the busloads of Chinese and American tourists that had flooded the area earlier in the day, despite the foggy weather. After taking photos from slightly terrifying Marienbrücke bridge (which provided the lovely view of the castle you see above, but has a wooden plank floor that shifts under the crowd’s weight), Gui and I went for a mini-hike further up the mountain and then had the path to ourselves for the walk back down.

Without the late weather luck, I think we would have left Neuschwanstein a bit disappointed. After waking up at 4am to fly to Munich, we had an extended train/bus journey to the castle due to construction and arrived to find both the thick fog and that tickets for the 30-minute inside tour were already sold out. The latter I quickly moved past, but the photographer in me was super bummed about the extremely limited visibility after seeing such amazing photos online. Thank you, Bavarian weather gods.

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Sunday we spent the morning wandering around Munich, arriving in Marienplatz square just in time to see the clock show on the hour. I have to say, we usually find the decorative clocks a bit disappointing (no offense Bern, Prague, etc), but this one was totally awesome, complete with jousting knights and spinning German figurines that prompted ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the crowd. Afterward, we parked ourselves at the famous Hofbräuhaus beerhall for a couple of hours of Bavarian happiness, complete with giant mugs of beer, fluffy pretzels and a brass band wearing lederhosen. We had the craic 🙂 Happy weekend!

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8 thoughts on “Munich & Neuschwanstein Castle: Fairy Tale Bavaria

  1. Great photos! Neuschwanstein also featured in the 1968 film, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Hope you didn’t encounter the child catcher! For people of my generation he is the scariest thing ever to be committed to film! Mind you, that bridge looks quite scary…..

    Liked by 1 person

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