The Neuschwanstein Castle is in the Bavarian area of Germany and the town we stayed in was right at the base of the Alps, which still had snow on the top of them. There were two famous castles to see there. The first was called Hohenschwangau and it was built in the 1830s by King Maximilian on the site of an old fort. The castle was used as the royal family's hunting residence and this is where King Ludwig II, who built Neuschwanstein Castle, grew up. Seeing Hohenschwangau Castle was a great introduction to what these old castles were like.
If Neuschwanstein looks familiar to you it is probably because it is the castle that inspired the Disney castle and to tell the truth, the inside of the castle is a bit "Disney-like," which we took a tour of. After 17 years of construction, the king died before the inside of the castle was finished, but he moved into it when enough of it had been completed that he could live there.
The first room we saw was the throne room that had a floor showing some of the earth's animals made out of 2 million stone mosaic pieces. Next was the king's bedroom, which had a small throne, a chapel, a huge wood carved bed and two secret doors that led to a bathroom and reading room. We then went through a fake cave that led to a ballroom, which had a fake forest painted on the wall over a big stage, so the king could have people put on plays for him in the castle.
After the Alps, we headed for the city of Munich and on the way we stopped by another castle made by Ludwig II, called Linderhof. They told us this was the king's favorite residence. He was very happy there because he designed it so he could be left alone. He even had a magic table in his dining room that was elevated up to him from the kitchen, so he didn't need to see anyone when he went to eat. Also, just like at Neuschwanstein, he had a fake cave built, but this one was even bigger and had a lake in it that the king would use as a swimming pool sometimes. The cave was all painted with stage sets so that they could put on operas there for the king.
When we were in Munich we went on a tour of the city with Mike's Bike Tours. We rode around Munich seeing all the big government buildings, churches, and statehouses and learning the history of the city.
This was a great way to see the place and I liked it a lot because in Munich a lot of people ride bikes, so they treat them like cars and they have special lanes just for the bikes. We even saw someone getting a ticket for riding their bike on the wrong side of the lane.
Now that we've explored a bit of Germany our next stop is Rome. Aufweidersehen!