Day 47: Mad Castles and Downhill Fun

Today we spent visiting two of the castles of “mad” King Ludwig.  This is Ludwig II, who grew up with Wagner and a very idealized view of medieval times (e.g. Romanticism).  His fantastic family resort castle (Hohenschwangau), built on a hill overlooking a lake, was not enough for him.

So at 18 when he assumed the crown of Bavaria he began some building some truly amazing castles.  This was in the 1800’s, building what would appear to be a fantastic medieval castle (although with modern day conveniences of the time).  These castles were originally designed by artists, and when they looked just right given to architects and builders to actually create.  Supposedly Cindarella’s castle is inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle, the most famous and one we visited.  And this was never finished… there is a missing tall keep with surrounding towers, and only 1/3 of the interior was ever completed.

Now, why “mad”?   Well, the government of Bavaria managed to get physicians to certify Ludwig as insane, so as to depose him (and prevent him building Bavaria into financial ruin).  Actually, most of the building costs of Ludwig’s projects came from his own coffers, rather than the states (although Ludwig was putting himself into massive personal debt).  A day after he lost his crown, Ludwig wound up dead in a shallow lake, along with the chief physician who had diagnosed him (without ever actually seeing him in person).  Apparently they were out for a walk.

A month after his death, Neuschwanstein was open for tourism, allowing in one and all for fee up to and including us today.  Ironically, Neuschwanstein has paid for itself many, many times over by the millions of tourists that flock to it each year.  What really happened to Ludwig is not definitively known.

After this, Sara was left in the hotel to snooze away the afternoon and I took the boys to a nearby luge run and park.  This is a video of me and Michael trying to catch up to Daniel, who we never actually saw until the very end.  The day’s photos can be found here.

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