In 1992 I took three weeks or so holiday from work and headed off around Europe with in Interrail card in my pocket. After visiting my relatives in Holland I made my way down Europe to the heel of Italy and Brindisi. Here I took a boat to Corfu. This was a mini-literary journey to see the place where Gerald Durrell had lived, as recorded in his book 'My Family and Other Animals'. Later I followed his brother Lawrence Durrell to Egypt (see the article here).
After spending sometime in Corfu finding out that Gerald's Corfu had gone I wondered where to go next. I got out my Rough Guide to Europe and thought, I know, I'll go and look at a castle. The castle I chose was Neuschwanstein.
The journey via Munich and Augsburg to Fussen was splendid, some really fantastic scenery. Also the Oktoberfest was on in Munich. The Bavarian scenery from Augsburg to Fussen from the train was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Rich hilly grassy meadows for the cow herds. At Fussen the grass stretches to the beginnings of the Austrian Tyrol, where Neuschwanstein is perched. Fussen itself is a really beautiful town, so picturesque.
The castle is set in an amazing place not far from the castle where the person who built it lived as a child. the builder was Ludwig the second. An interesting fellow. In the area you can get a bus to Austria into the Tyrol. The thing about it is that the land is flat to the foot of the mountains and then suddenly it goes up near vertical. I went up someway and came back on the cable car.
I look back fondly on my visit it Fussen and Neuschwanstein Castle, for me it is the ultimate castle.
Ludwig went bankrupt building his fancy places, but since his suspicious death the architecture he left behind has paid for itself many times over from tourism.
And where had I seen it on telly so many times? Well the castle is often used in films, but there is a major film in my life that it is used in. I saw the castle many times when I was growing up. It is the castle used in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
|Chitty Chitty Bang Bang over Neuschwanstein|