Füssen; Neuschwanstein Castle and Mad King Ludwig; The Romantic Road to Munich

Sheryl had smuggled a blanket out to me in the car the night before, so I wasn’t cold, and she brought another out in the morning so we could have them later. I snuck into the hostel for a shower and breakfast. This meant that together we’d paid €20 for accommodations, instead of €40, plus a couple of blankets thrown in - a much fairer price for what you get in a hostel, in my opinion.

Füssen is a nice little town. It’s main attraction is Neuschwanstein Castle, a fairy-tale confection with soaring towers and round pointed roofs. It was built by Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, called “Ludwig the Mad”. I don’t think he was, to be honest. After reading about him, it seems to me that he was just a sensitive soul with a romantic streak - a very shy man who just wanted to be left alone to build castles, and wasn’t up to the demands of high politics. The symptoms of his so-called madness seem suspiciously like a nervous breakdown to me. But his cabinet had him declared insane and sent the asylum staff to pick him up. Hi remembered he was king and ordered them off, then fled to one of his castles and holed up. Later, he and his physician were found mysteriously dead, floating in the lake.

Neuschwanstein was Ludwig’s greatest creation. It’s supposedly the castle that Walk Disney based his logo design on. That may be true or not, but it’s a perfect fairy-tale castle. The decoration inside is ridiculously ornate - nearly Rococo in its excesss. It features swans absolutely everywheere - there’s at least one everywhere you look. As far as I’m concerned Ludwig’s obsession with swans is the only real evidence of his supposed madness - swans are evil bastards and they should all be killed and eaten.

Anyway, mad or not, Ludwig had excellent architectural taste. Neuschwantstein is awe-inspiring, especially when seen from the bridge which spans a nearby gorge. When we were done with the castle we drove north away from Füssen on the “Romantic Road” which runs from Füssen to Würzburg. It was slow, winding as it did through every little town on the way. We didn’t stop at any of them - there’s only so much romance it’s possible to handle, afer all.

The drive to Munich was mostly uneventful. Munich is a big city, and we didn’t have a map. We found the centre by pure blind luck, really. Unfortunately both hostels which said they had parking really had underround parking, which is no good for sleeping purposes. The nice man in the tourist office explained the traffic meter system to us, though - outside of a certain ring road parking is free overnight. There was a campground, we knew - so we got badly lost trying to find it. Eventually we gave up and found a nice quiet spot for the car on a side street where we wouldn’t be disturbed.


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Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
This travelogue comprises 16,426 photographs and 402,515 words in 307 dispatches written from 335 places in 52 countries on 6 continents around the world.
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