My childhood was filled with enchanting tales of fairy tale castles, dashing princes and beautiful princesses. I had always wanted to visit a real castle. B. J. and I were on a tour through a number of European countries. This select tour was taking us through some of the loveliest lands in the world. We were seeing a lot of gorgeous scenery, dining in fine restaurants, staying in excellent lodging, and, to my delight, visiting some ancient castles.
Kirk, our tall, dark and affable tour host announced that perhaps the most glamorous castle in all of Europe was on our agenda and we would be spending time there soon.
We were in the elegant Bavarian Alps. The mountain landscape was stunning. The high, winding mountain road was especially chosen by the tour hosts to give us an up-close look and feel of the awesome Alps. The big tour bus came pretty close to the edge of the precarious road at times causing B. J. to snuggle close and clasp my hand tightly. I liked that.
Our lecturer informed us that “The castle we will be visiting is world famous as a honeymoon resort. Celebrities from around the world come here on their honeymoons.”
“Can other people besides celebrities come here on their honeymoon? Someone asked.
“Sure, if they can afford it,” the guide shrugged.
The bus wound higher up the mountain. Soon, we rounded a curve and our guide pointed ahead to a huge, gleaming edifice perched on the crest of a majestic mountain. “There it is,” our escort proclaimed enthusiastically, the famous Neuschwanstein (notch-wan-stine) Castle. Walt Disney stayed here several years ago and was so enthralled with the castle until he went back to Florida and designed his celebrated Disney World Castle at Orlando after it.”
The bus gained the top of the incline and pulled onto an enormous parking area prepared to accommodate several tour busses simultaneously. Our driver eased the Greyhound type bus into a slot behind another bus, and shut the motor down. Soon he opened the door and we filed out to behold the overwhelming spectacle looming before us--the lustrous Neuschwanstein Castle.
With cameras in hand, we followed our leader across the parking area to the gigantic steps that would carry us inside this amazing megastructure. Although it was June, it was cool at high altitude in the Bavarian Alps. B. J. snuggled closer.
Towering atop a rugged mountain peak, Neuschwanstein Castle’s dreamlike appearance serves as a reminder of the dramatic life led by its ultra-wealthy creator, King Ludwig II of Bavaria--a fairytale castle for the fairytale king.
Just ascending the steps was something of a challenge. At the top we were greeted by castle tour guides who would usher us into the interior. When we were in proper order, we were led inside to witness an astonishing sight. Paintings, wall designs, matchless architecture, color schemes, gleaming chandeliers trimmed in gold and silver--it was astounding! And we had just gotten inside the door!
Neuschwanstein is known all over the world as a symbol of idealized romantic architecture encouraging dreamy fantasies among the passionately inclined. Early in its history, due to its elevated setting high among the clouds it was used as a retreat for the high and mighty offering awe-inspiring mountain vistas. The story goes that those lovers who spend time here and come under the spell of Neuschwanstein become so passionate that they want to return again and again. So was the intention of the fairytale king for the fairytale castle. I sensed B. J. snuggling closer and closer as we followed our director through the ornate and sophisticated castle.
Years after its construction, an American celebrity, Walt Disney, too a master of fantasy, visiting Neuschwanstein Castle was so inspired by it until he captured its spirit and brought it to the magic kingdom of all fantasies, Disneyworld.