I, like many other little girls, grew up with countless books and movies featuring princes and princesses, large castles and magic. Fairy tales played a huge part in my younger years (right down to refusing to ever wear pants – my Mum put ‘Pants Day Saturday’ in place for the whole family in order to get me out of a dress at least one day a week).
I’ve seen my share of castles over the years as well, in both Europe and New Zealand, but what could possibly compare to THE fairy tale castle – the one that inspired Walt Disney’s iconic castle and the one I grew up looking at over and over imagining one day I’d marry my prince and live there.
The drive out to Neuchwenstein itself was incredible. The German countryside is really picturesque and it was a wonderfully sunny day when we made the trip. We passed endless green fields, grazing cows, through small towns and on to vast open space getting closer to Hohenschwangau.
The walk up to the castle took about half an hour, up a steep and windy road a midst towering, dense forest. The only traffic up there was on foot, or in horse drawn carriages. We walked around the side and back of the castle and on to Queen Mary’s Bridge (Marienbrücke) to gaze down at the flowing, turquoise waterfall below it, overlooking the castle from a distance.
The bridge was crammed with people, so we then continued over the other side and up the hillside to escape the crowds and take in the serenity. Perched up on that hillside is one of the most incredible views I’ve taken in on my travels, and my favourite spot anywhere in the world.