The next day we carried on our trip along the Romantic Road a little way. We are coming to the end now but there are still a couple of highlights to see. The first is the pilgrimage church Wieskrch (“Church in the Meadow”), which is close to the little town of Steingaden.
Wieskrch “Church in the Meadow”It is a beautiful church standing on its own in a peaceful meadow located in the rolling foothills of the southern Bavarian Alps. The view of the Alps behind the building, the cows wandering around with their cowbells in the lovely sunshine – It doesn’t get more picturesque than this. It is certainly a very memorable church. It is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site and well worth a visit.
The outside reveals nothing of the glorious and striking interior – You are taken aback by the amazing artistry it’s just incredible. The ceiling is fantastic as it is an optical illusion. It appears to be rounded but in fact it is flat. There are gorgeous sculptures, paintings, gilded decorations, frescoes, statues and marble balustrades which are all magnificent. It is reported to be one of the most beautiful rococo buildings in Europe.
We are not great fans of visiting churches but this one was beautiful to look at.
After the church, we travelled a bit further down the road to Schwangau which is the home to one of southern Germany’s biggest tourist attractions – The Neuschwanstein Castle. This world-famous castle of Bavarian King Ludwig II marks the end of the Romantic road at the foot of the Bavarian Alps.
Also next to Neuschwanstein Castle is the interesting but lesser known Castle Hohenschwangau.
The car park had a section specifically for Motorhomes to the right-hand side of the car park at a cost of 7 euros. We prepared and eat our lunch before heading for the castle enjoying the view from the car park of the castle nestled amongst the Bavarian mountains. The Neuschwanstein Castle reminded us of a fantasy world building with its peaky towers and white chalkstone walls. In fact, Disney World’s Cinderella Castle was inspired by this magnificent building, and he drew inspiration from it for his classic, Sleeping Beauty. It is the most photographed building in Germany.
The castle is a must see and is one of the most viewed sights in Germany with over 1.3 million visitors a year. We expected it to be a bit quieter visiting in September but it was still very crowded. We both said that we wouldn’t like to be visiting it at the height of the season.
It was a bit of a walk up the hill to the ticket office to purchase tickets to see inside the castle. When we arrived there was a massive queue which would have taken a couple of hours to get to the front so we decided to just go up and see the castle from the outside and the surrounding views of the countryside and not bother with the inside.
If you want to see inside you have to take a 30 minute guided tour around the castle. You can’t just wander around at your own pace and when you buy your ticket you have an allotted time so you have to make sure that you get up to the entrance before that. We also read that you can’t take photographs once you are on the tour of the interior – probably because they are rushing you through.
It looked like a really steep hill to climb to get to the castle so we waited for a while in a long queue for the horse and cart. It was really hot and there was no shade so again, after waiting a short while, we decided to walk up as the path looked quite shady. The first part of the hill was really hard going for someone as unfit as I am but once we got going it wasn’t as bad. I only needed one little rest on a bench at the side of the road. The walk up took about half an hour. The horse and cart does not go all the way up anyway and that stops 10 minutes walk away from the castle entrance. We did it around the wrong way though and got the horse and cart back down the hill just for the experience and because by then there was virtually no queue.
The view from the top of the surrounding countryside was magnificent. We walked further on around the back of the castle to the Marienbrucke Bridge where many other tourists flock to take their requisite photo of Neuschwanstein. I got a little scared on the bridge actually as there were so many people on there at one time I wondered if the weight might be too much for it as I felt it wobble a bit beneath my feet. I just quickly took my photo and got off.
Despite the crowds, it was a lovely afternoon and again well worth visiting. When we got back to the motorhome we did wonder if we would be allowed to stay overnight in such a beautiful setting but thought better of it and headed to a stellplatz in Fussen which was to be our next stop at the start of the Alpine route.