One must admit when thinking about the castle Neuschwanstein all the things that fairytales put in our head emerge: princesses in danger, noble princes on white horses, wild beasts and dark forests. So far so good. One must also admit that the next thought coming along all those pretty bubbles is, how relevant those fairytales are in the modern world and why do we react so strong to certain triggers? We asked ourselves the question: why do modern women with careers in engineering and law still jump into pretty dresses and pose for pictures in front of cheesy castles? Where have all the achievements of hundreds of years of feminism vanish in the moment of stepping close to something reminding us of a fairytale?
The history of the castle Neuschwanstein is indeed a very modern one. One day in 1869 King Ludwig II ruler of Bavaria decided to make a long term investment in his heritage, what we know today as the Bavarian public purse and commissioned the construction of castle Neuschwanstein, next to a couple of other castles all across Bavaria, which are today however not as popular as their big sister. Also like modern days big infrastructure projects, the costs alongside the expectations of King Ludwig II rose exponentially with the delayed timeline of castle completion. Unfortunately up until today mankind still has not mastered the art of project management. King Ludwig was not fortunate enough to witness his prestigious project being finalized. He died a mysterious death shortly before the castle was completed. We know from his diary that castle Neuschwanstein was meant as a “habitable theater backdrop” for his personal pleasure and was never meant to serve the purpose of real royal housing. The castle is nothing more than a pretty peekaboo sitting on the mountain pretending to be a castle attracting tourists from all over the world (lately almost 1.5 million visitors generating €6.5 million profit per year). And maybe this is the reason why we like to pretend to be a pretty princess without any other purpose when around Neuschwanstein castle - we need to keep up with the show.
What to do when in the Neuschwanstein castle area?
The most easy way to experience your own Neuschwanstein fairytale is to simply park your car and take the 40 minutes easy walk up or even take the bus, leaving from the big parking lot area below the castle. An alternative is to can go on one of the most beautiful hikes in the area of the Ammergauer Alps with the reward of stunning views on Neuschwanstein castle at the end of it.
To do the hike take the cable car operating next to the big parking lot up or alternatively also hike up all the way to the Tegelberghaus. It is an good hike of 4.4 km and 887 m elevation. You can calculate 2.5 hours for this first part when hiking. When on top at the Tegelberghaus don’t miss the chance to witness some paraglider taking off or even better – try it yourself. Continue from the Tegelberghaus to the Branderschrofen, the highest elevation point of the Tegelberg mastering another 174m elevation and quite some difficult climbing at the last part of the way. Calculate approximately 40 minutes one way for this part. When on top of the Tegelberg you will see a small and narrow passage on the left hand side leading over a ridge. If you are free from giddiness it is worth to cross it for some stunning views down on the valley.
After a break here return to the Tegelberghaus and take the direction “Marienbrücke/Hohenschwangau” to continue towards Neuschwanstein castle. Always continue to follow the sign towards “Marienbrücke/Hohenschwangau” and you will need 4 hours for this 11 km hike but the path is easy going down approximately 1000 hm and the views are breathtaking. Your last checkpoint will be the bridge “Marienbrücke” and the Neuschwanstein castle itself. It is also possible to do the hike in the other direction: start with Neuschwanstein castle and then take the hike to Tegelberg and take the cable car down.
Summary of the hike:
Parking lot and Tegelbergbahn (820m) – Tegelberghaus (1707m): 2.5 hours or cable car up/down
Tegelberghaus (1707m) – Branderschrofen (1881m): 40 minutes one way
Branderschrofen (1881m) – Neuschwanstein castle (940m): 4 hours
Neuschwanstein castle (940m) – parking lot and Tegelbergbahn (820): 1 hour or bus
The pictures we know from Neuschwanstein castle are all taken from the bridge called “Marienbrücke”. This bridge was build to only serve the purpose to access the best view on the castle. Our advice is to definitely be there as early as possible or late afternoon shortly before the sunset to avoid the crowds. We arrived here after our wonderful day of hiking half an hour before sunset with just enough time to take some pictures with decent lighting.
So why do modern day women travel for miles to take hundreds of pictures in front of “habitable theater backdrops”? Our answer is: because it’s a show. And because it’s a show, it’s fun. No modern day woman in her right mind would like to exchange her life for the life of a princess from the middle ages (even if there would be a castle coming on top of the deal). There is no need to state that access to education, own income and freedom of choice is worth more than all the pretty dresses and castles of this world. And because it’s fake, it’s a choice and fun to play along. Putting on the dresses and pretending to be a princess in front of a “habitable theater backdrop” is fun for a while but then happily going back to real jobs and life and choices is the real deal.
Want to know our secret Yuppies on Tour photo spot?
When you are standing on the bridge “Marienbrücke” go into the forest and take the first path to the left. Continue for 5 more minutes up until you reach this magnificent viewpoint.