Neuschwanstein Schloß, Germany
A day in Bavaria...
Our first weekend we were able to travel we weren't allowed to leave the country. Some friends and I were originally planning on going to Berlin for the weekend to see the history and walk around, exploring what we had learned in school. While in the breakfast room of Moore Haus earlier in the week I heard some girls talking about going to Munich to visit the Neuschwanstein Schloß and go to the Dachau Memorial Site. I immediately asked to join and they booked my tickets.
I've always wanted to go to the Neuschwanstein Schloß because of my love for Disney. My love for Disney began probably before I was born. Basically like a imminent love because of who my parents are. My mom grew up going to Disneyland for free because her grandma was an animator for Disney for many years and worked on movies like Sleeping Beauty. Therefore we take advantage of every opportunity we have to go to Disneyland. The Neuschwanstein Schloß is the castle that inspired Walt Disney when designing Sleeping Beauty's castle. Which is why when I heard people were going, I had to go.
We left Friday evening after everyone was out of class and took a taxi to the train station. When we got to the platform the train was cancelled. We looked up other train routes to get there and moved to another platform. After training for about three hours, stopping once in Mannheim, we arrived in Munich. Originally exiting the station on the wrong side and wandering for a few minutes, we eventually found our hostel. To my surprise it was incredibly nice, young, and honestly, kinda poppin'. Our group got there a few minutes before the other group of girls who had drove from Heidelberg. We stayed on the second floor right above the bar so of course Sarah and I went down and used the free drink coupons the front desk gave us. We sat and enjoyed a glass of wine before going back upstairs to the room, where all the other girls were already asleep from the long week of school. We woke up bright and early to go to the train station and find our tour guide for the Neuschwanstein Schloß.
We met Hein right outside Starbucks at 9am. Hein is South African, living in Munich with his wife and kids, and gives tours all over the greater Munich area. (Highly recommend traveling and touring with Hein, he was a phenomenal tour guide). The Neuschwanstein Straße is about 2 hours by train outside Munich. It was a winter wonderland the entire ride. From lightly snowing at the train station in Munich to feet of snow out the window of the train. Felt like the Polar Express. We got off the train and took a bus that took us to the bottom of the mountain the Neuschwanstein Schloß is on. I got off the bus and looked up thinking, "there is no way I'm gonna make it all the way up there" I legitimately thought that I'd make it halfway and then my asthma would hold me back and I would have to go back down.
Before we began our climb, we stopped and got lunch at a cute cabin-like restaurant, the only establishment that has let me order off the kids menu since I was 12. The only water they had was in a glass bottle and I decided to make it my water bottle and bring it up the mountain with me. The path was surprisingly steady. Hein had us stop many times to tell us about the history of the King who had lived there and built the castle.
When we made it to the top, Hein told us the famous bridge that overlooks the castle was closed due to ice. He told us that we're not suppose to go there, but, if we wanted to, he explained exactly how to get there. After we took the tour, taking pictures whenever a staff member wasn't looking, we exited the castle. Right by the exit was a fence with barbed wire on top, blocking a path. The side of the path where the fence ended was a mini cliff and there was smaller fence guiding the path. The two fences met, strictly trying to keep people out. So of course we climbed over the smaller fence and around the larger one to get to the other side. All 8 of us girls were able to do it, helping one another, passing backpacks and cameras to the other side to make it to safety before attempting to climb ourselves.
We hiked up an intense hill absolutely covered in ice. I thought it was going to be very little, and that the Government was just trying to avoid a lawsuit from visiting tourists. Boy was I wrong. Hanging on to the handrail for dear life, and falling many, many times, we slowly made it up the hill.
When we got to the top my heart sank. There was a large wooden wall blocking the bridge and a fence on the side with barbed wire all up and down it so no one could hang onto the side and go around. There was a break between the wall and the ground about 6 inches tall and 2 feet wide. I saw people go under and questioned my own ability to be able to go under as well. The people in front of me were much smaller than myself so I didn't think it was possible. Then the man in front of me, who had only one leg, and had made it up the mountain with the help of two ski poles and his girlfriend, got on the ground, and pushed himself through the small space.
That was when I realized I could do anything, I only had to try, the only thing holding me back was myself. One by one all 8 of us girls pushed through the small space and made it onto the bridge. We got incredible photos before having to run/slide back down the mountain on our butts back to the bus stop near the little cabin restaurant.
We met up with Hein and the rest of the group and took the bus back to the train station. We jumped on the train and went back to Munich. When we got back to the hotel, everyone was exhausted yet Sarah, Carol, and I decided to go down to the bar and mingle with a group of girls of the states studying abroad in Italy and some Australian guys on holiday. Our hostel was called 'Wombat's City Hostel in Munich' and I highly recomend staying there or at one of their other locations, especially if you plan on renting out an entire room.