Friday April 18*
It’s about 6:45 pm in the Czech Republic now, and we are still on the bus. I’m enjoying a piece of Ritter chocolate and two seats to myself. We left Munich at about 8:30am and stopped for a tour of Von Ludwig’s castle, Schloss Neuschwanstein,the inspiration for the Disney Castle. We hiked uphill through plush green moss and clear mountain springs to behold the mad king’s castle perched among the mountains. Once inside, we visited the king’s chambers, dressing room, and music hall. Von Ludwig only spent 172 nights in his decadent home, about half a year, and left the castle incomplete. Architect Christian Jank had designed a third floor of quarters and a garden but when Ludwig died suddenly, all construction ceased and the castle was turned into a museum only six weeks later. Tours have been conducted ever since – 120 years straight. Von Ludwig’s death remains a mystery. He was declared “mad” by the government, dethroned, and sent away, and just one day later, was found dead, drowned, along with his doctor. It had never been determined whether his death was murder, suicide, or accidental. I think it’s worth reading up on. Von Ludwig’s rooms were ornately decorated including oversized gold chandeliers embedded with colored glass gems, porcelain swans to symbolize loyalty, and large paintings dedicated to his favorite operas. Sadly, due to his untimely death, he never entertained in his home. The decadent castle was quite a contrast to the desolation at Dachau we saw just 24 hours earlier.
*I hand wrote and/or typed each reflection on the date and time included with the post.