Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the must see landmarks in Germany. Ton had already been twice, but since this is my first time in Germany she suggested we should see it. We signed up for the tour from the Army.
The first stop on the tour was Weiskirche which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains a religious relic called the Scourged Jesus. In the 1700’s an old wood carved Jesus statue was found in the hayloft of a barn where it had been stored for a couple of generations. The farmers wife built a small chapel to house it, and the morning after they placed it in the chapel she noticed tears on the face.
The area of the farm is on an old Roman Road which was the main pilgrimage route from Bavaria to Rome, so the pilgrims began visiting the chapel and miracles occurred. Over time enough miracles occurred that the Scourged Jesus was declared a religious relic and received funding for a proper church around 1745.
The church was built in the Rococo style and is known as a pilgrimage church as it is out in the middle of a field not near a town. We have spent quite a lot of time in Gothic churches and cathedrals so the Rococo style was interesting for us to observe. It is much more light and airy than gothic. The art work is focused more on the ceiling of the church, and they try to achieve a 3D effect by blending statues into the art. The art work was quite beautiful, and either well preserved or recently restored.
After the visit to the church we were encouraged to try some Bavarian Donuts. Every culture seems to have a variation of fried sweet dough, and so far they are all delicious. We sat down with a soldier to eat our donut and he was on his way home after having spent the last 8 months working with the State Department, and US Aid assisting with Syrian Refugees. He said it was the most complicated assignment he had faced in his 34 years in the army. It was fascinating to here his experience trying to deal with the Turks and the Kurds both of whom are allied with the US, but hate each other pathologically.
The next stop was Neuschwanstein Castle, which is the model for the Disney Castle (they reportedly pay a royalty to the Bavarian Government annually for the likeness). The castle is quite new having built by King Ludwig II in the 1860’s.
Ludwig was quite an eccentric and spent a great deal of the treasury and his families money building this castle and two others. He was spending money at such a fast rate that eventually the Bavarian Government had him declared insane, and appointed his Uncle king. Shortly after he was deposed he was found “accidentally” drowned along with one of his Doctors in three feet of water, even though he was 6’5” tall.
The castle is quite an impressive structure, and the workmanship of the rooms was superb. The tours are conducted with Germanic precision and no pictures are allowed of the interior. I can now cross Neuschwanstein off my bucket list.