Friday, April 24, 2009

Germany (Day 8)...

And my little girl dreams came true on this day - I saw Neuschwanstein Castle!!! For those of you who are unaware, Neuschwanstein is nicknamed "The Disney Castle" because it is the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the film as well as the Disney parks. It is SO pretty in person.

Sylvia and I checked out of the room at Edelweiss Resort and then along with Elijah headed to Neuschwanstein. It was foggy when we left, but the forecast was sunny, so I was hopeful the weather would change. Sure enough when we finally reached the castle, the sky was a brilliant blue and the sunny was warm and shining! We were SO happy!!

The little town of Schwangau boasts two of King Ludwug's Castles... his family home Honeschwangau and his masterpiece Neuwschwanstein (if you notice everything has 'schwan' in it, which is the German word for 'swan'... I am figuring this is their family bird or something, cause it's everywhere!! and yet there are no live swans to be seen). We knew that Elijah wouldn't be able to handle both castles, so we skipped Honeschwangau in favor of Neuschwanstein.

The hike up to the castle from the little town is about 40 minutes on foot, so we paid for the horse-drawn carriage ride up instead... then we walked about 10 minutes to the top (it was VERY steep).

And then we reached the top and there through the trees, with walls a blazing white, was my dream home!!!

When you buy a ticket, you have a specific tour time that you must wait for... so we had time to look around the 2-tears courtyard and catch a glimpse of the nearby waterfall!!

cool door -
Oh... funny Elijah story - he insisted on wearing both his swim trunks (cause he loved the swimming from the night before SO much) AND his jeans... but the trunk needed to be on the outside so he could see Nemo on them... I love this kid because seriously, who doesn't look cool wearing swim trunks on the outside of his jeans??

Sad to say, but photography inside Neuschwanstein was strictly forbodden. So I downloaded some shots to show you the COMPLETE magnificence of the throne room!!!

and the Singer's Hall

King Ludwig was no fool when he picked the location for his beloved castle... the view is SPECTACULAR!!

Sadly King Ludwig didn't live to see it completed and when he passed away the castle building process died with him. The castle was never completed and was opened to the public instead shortly after the King's death... the third floor for instance was never completed and so on the tour we skipped that floor and walked the narrow spiral staircase right passed it onto the 4th floor.

And now we interrupt this wonderful post for a tirade from Miranda about the complete disrespect teenagers have for wonderful historic places!!! We'll first talk about Neuschwanstien - Sylvia and I took the English language tour because... well because it's in English of course, so why was it that there was a HUGE group of Italian 15 year olds with us on the tour??? But the confusion there was nothing to the frustration at their CONSTANT TALKING!!!! I mean I don't understand the language, but I think I pretty much know which on the guys all the girls had a crush on... and got to witness all the flirting and general stupidity of youth. Okay I will admit, I understand that when your young, that's the kind of stuff you care about... BUT SERIOUSLY on a tour of something that I have been waiting 20 years to see (well pretty much since I first saw Disney's Sleeping Beauty) it is just SO ANGERING!!!
But some of you may still find my frustration a little harsh... well if you'd have been at Dachau the couple days before and witness THE EXACT SAME BEHAVIOR from a group of German teenagers IN THE CREMATORIUM!!!!! You'd understand why I had no patience. I was SO angry!! SO angry!!! I wanted to scream and shout at them how retarded they were all being and how little respect they had for the people who died there... were MURDERED there... but I couldn't and instead had to watch while a group of teenage boys kicked dirt at each other and messed around out in front of the memorial. UGH!!!

okay the tirade is over and as an apology for making you read that, I'll give you some more shots of the castle.

there is Sleeping Beauty's tower where she lies in slumber awaiting Prince Phillipe's kiss of true love -
After our tour, I was famished (the spiral staircase in the castle had more stairs that St Paul's Cathedral, and THAT'S A LOT!! So Sylvia, Elijah and I walked down the hill and along the way picked up a hot pretzel from the Pretzel stand - Germany is the birthplace of this delicacy and so I was not about to pass up a chance for a treat - plus I LOVE soft pretzels.

Elijah had one too, which of course he shared with Sylvia
I even learned how to order one in Germany - "brezen mit salz" (pretzel with salt). Did I tell you I did so little preparation for this trip in terms of the language... but I picked up the phrases that I needed - "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" (Do you speak English?) "Danke!" (thank you) "Verzeihung bitte!" (excuse me) "Auf Wiedersehen!" (goodbye) "Gruess gott" (welcome)... etc. (really there is no ect... that's it.

After Neuschwanstein we drove to Oberammergau for a little taste of a small Bavarian town... Oberammergau (over-ammergau) is right next to Unterammergau (under-ammergau)... and yet I saw no signs for just Ammergau. I figure it's just a small little farm house all by itself... hehe.

Oberammergau has store after store of GORGEOUS wood carvings and other ornate crafts. It also has 2 Katie Wolfhardt Christmas stores. So if you didn't know already, pretty much a lot of what we know as Christmas originated with Germany - St Nicholas, the christmas tree and ornaments, etc all came from Germany... so I wasn't about to pass up a chance to get a little souvenir. I got a Christmas pyramid (okay so I just google imaged for a picture of a Christmas Pyramid cause I didn't want to get mine out, set it up and take a picture... and the first one to come up is a larger version of the exact one I got - cool!!!)

So why did I choose this Christmas souvenir... well years and years and years ago my Uncle Don and Aunt Carol gave my parents a large Christmas Pyramid from Germany... the kind with the candles in it that you light and the top spins. Well it was always one of my very favorite Christmas decorations! But it takes so much set up and the Christmas Season has gotten so busy, so it is rarely set up anymore, but it's gorgeous. So I decided I should get one of my own actually FROM Germany to decorate my house with. :)
I wish I would have gotten a picture inside the store because it may be my new FAVORITE store... I love all things Christmas decor. But here is a picture from the internet

But here is a very cool door I saw in Oberammergau!! (okay, if you haven't noticed already - the doors here are holding my fascination QUITE a bit... it's weird, I know)


Amy T Schubert said...

not exactly the same - but I had a similar problem with annoying teenages at disneyland - shoving each other and wrestling IN LINE ... really? because the strangers a foot behind you are giving you plenty of room?

Nicole T said...

I love the christmas pyramid. do you know how freaking expensive those are here! And i think trunks over jeans might come back into style, you never know.

Andrew said...

So, did you put an offer on your dream house? Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney movie and I cannot wait to visit the real place.