FUSSEN (311)After all this blogging about my lovely South Africa, I want to take my readers a bit around Germany, my beloved, romantic childhood home.

Let’s start all the way in the South. Bavaria. To us non-Bavarians, Bavaria is like a different country within Germany. You see, all of Germany’s 16 states are very different from each other. Drop me in any German town and I will be able to tell you what state we are in – the way people communicate, dress and shop is different!

In this post I will publish some real nice pics I was blessed to take at castle Neuschwanstein in Germany – and I posted them all nicely at the bottom so if you don’t enjoy reading up on history, feel free to scroll right down to the”goodies”. For those of you who stay with me on the travel stuff, thanks!

Whenever I get a chance I am trying to show my South African husband (white – just saying … a lot of German friends have told me: wow,  you are brave, marrying an African? Are you going to stay in a straw hut – cooking over open fire? Geez, nope. South Africa is a modern first world place and my hubby is of Dutch origins …) different parts of Germany. We have been blessed, Andries has seen both the most southern and most northern part of Germany, both beautiful and worth sharing on a blog with you!

Lets go south. Fuessen, a beautiful town on a beautiful lake, will be talked about in the next post. Close by are a few little “Schwangau” villages.

In the Middle Ages, three castles overlooked the villages. One was called Schwanstein Castle. In 1832, Ludwig’s father King Maximilian II of Bavaria bought its ruins to replace them with the comfortable neo-Gothic palace known as Hohenschwangau Castle. Finished in 1837, the palace became his family’s summer residence, and his elder son Ludwig (born 1845) spent a large part of his childhood here.

Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and Hinterhohenschwangau Castle sat on a rugged hill overlooking Schwanstein Castle, two nearby lakes (Alpsee and Schwansee), and the village. Separated only by a moat, they jointly consisted of a hall, a keep, and a fortified tower house.[5] In the 19th century only ruins remained of the medieval twin castles, but those of Hinterhohenschwangau served as a lookout place known as Sylphenturm.

My then 2 and a half years old boy Steven was super excited to go and see a real castle. Neuschwanstein castle has been the prototype for Walt Disney’s Disneyland castles and was planned and build by a real whacky chap. Some say Ludwig was gay – he never married, wore eccentric attire and was just his own best company, apparently. Steven was disappointed not to meet the king, he went looking all over the castle for him. But seeing the enormous throne, on which the monarch never sat because he died mysteriously shortly after finishing the project, was quite impressive for my son.

Neuschwanstein embodies both the contemporaneous architectural fashion known as castle romanticism (German: Burgenromantik), and Ludwig II’s immoderate enthusiasm for the operas of Richard Wagner.

Wagner’s operas Tannhäuser and Lohengrin had made a lasting impression on him.

Since we come to Germany by airplane, we are taking the trains and busses that are available in Germany to take us conveniently around.

We stayed at a small dairy farm, comfortable, affordable accommodation with a view to the castle from our breakfast table that even 5 star hotels couldn’t match. And of course staying on a farm is excellent when traveling with little kids. There were plenty of animals including little calves, and generous wide open spaces to run around, something that is never safe to do in South Africa.

I hope you enjoy my pictures, I’m giving you: Neuschwanstein!

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Room with a view – farms in Germany are surrounded by luscious meadows … nothing like the bush farms in Africa …. how nice that my kids can know both.

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Castle Neuschwanstein view over the Forggensee to the Tegelberg mountain right from our balcony.

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Holidays in Germany are something for the Romantic.

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Disney world’s Sleeping Beauty castle was modeled after this one!

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Yip, I took this one myself – from a cable car uphill to Tegelberg mountain.

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Bus stops look slightly different than in Africa … it was no problem folding the pram and taking it along in our bus closer to the castle. But still, one has to hike the last 2 km.

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when traveling with kids to historic places, make it real fun by telling dramatic versions of what happened at the site, bringing the past to life. Steven loved every painting and piece of furniture, especially the bombastic bedroom and throne. We played hide and seek in the king’s hallways and walked the scary “swan lake”bathroom with awe…

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