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Feb 15, 2002
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Salzburg, Austria>>>
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Parting of the Fog Sea

February 15, 2002

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Neuschwanstein Castle BedroomVestibule, Neuschwanstein Castle

No photography was allowed inside the castle, so I bought post cards of the interior. Clockwise from top left, the bedroom, the vestibule, minstrel room, and the throne room. Immediately I liked this interior better. This castle was painted extravagantly with paintings on nearly every wall and

Minstrel Room, Neuschwanstein CastleThrone room, Neuschwanstein Castle

supports and handrails and such, all painted like a kaleidoscope. Pretty colors everywhere. Some of the rooms were like displays at Disney World. One particular corridor was a dark, fake cave and the ceiling looked like the stars, from what I can remember. I'm going from memory but it looked like radical 1950's stuff but remember, this is a 19th century castle. It almost seems like Walt Disney took a few more queues from Neuschwanstein. It was said that Ludwig's father died when Ludwig was 18, and he'd been a very eccentric, childish king, which is how his servants had him declared insane. The closest I can think of is Michael Jackson (no disrespect intended towards Mr. Jackson). The people loved him but his servants called him Mad Ludwig.

The bedroom was especially interesting--the top of the bed was an elaborate carving, and for the sharp-eye, take a good look at that bed. It's a queen size mattress at best. Couldn't the King at least spring for a king size mattress? Am I picking at straws here?

In Neuschwanstein the Middle Ages were only an illusion: behind the medieval appearance of the castle, King Ludwig used the latest technology. The rooms and residences were fitted with hot air central heating. Every floor had running water, and the kitchen had hot and cold water. The toilets had an automatic flushing system that did not involve monkeys or dogs. Ludwig used an electric bell to summon servants. On the third and fourth floors there were even telephones, although in the late 19th century, I doubt there were many folks he could call, and the modern pizza hadn't been invented yet. There was a lift to carry meals upstairs. The latest technology was also used for the construction process itself. Cranes were driven by steam engines, and the Throne Room was incorporated by means of steel construction.
Descending into the valleyMary's Bridge from 175 feet below

Beneath Mary's Bridge

Unlike the barren, concrete churches I was used to, such as the Cologne Cathedral which was completed around the same time as Neuschwanstein, and even Dad's puke-yellow castle, Neuschwanstein felt cozy, almost like I could move my things in and feel at home. The only problem was, my house in Virginia had 1162 square feet. I needed 54 more sets of furniture. We climbed 136 steps during our tour and at the end, I ran back down all of them, out the exit and on to the forested path surrounding the castle. I wanted to see if the fog situation had changed and perhaps get a few good photos before gently settling into my car and cruising on out to Salzburg, Austria. I found stairs (297--yes, I counted them) to the bottom of the gorge, then ran about 800 feet along a babbling brook, leaping over logs and tripping hazzards, and up under Mary's Bridge, 175 feet above.

I ran down, ran back up to the path and back up the steep hill (my knees are sore) to the bridge. This time I prayed for God to lift the fog so I could get a photo before I left. I stood around for five minutes and then said,” Look, Lord I have places to go…whatever you show me at 4:13 I’ll shoot and leave”. So I stood there and people came by complaining of the fog and I said,” It will lift soon”. They thought I was joking.

I shot the same scene about five times because every time I tried to leave the fog would lift even more, and I’d re-shoot the same photo. I eventually got a perfect photo from the gorge that, only 15 minutes earlier, was completely fogged in. PRAISE GOD!

Peering up from the forest

Neuschwanstein Castle from valley below

Neuschwanstein Castle beneath a veil of fog

Fog begins to clear

Still clearing

Castle appears behind me

Almost cleared up

Neuschwanstein Castle from Mary's Bridge, one last look

Now I can't help but wonder what would've happened if I'd been patient and prayed outside my neighbor's bathroom window. One last look…
Neuschwanstein Castle
I ran down the slope, past more horseys to the parking lot and couldn’t find my rental car! The lot was almost empty and my car obviously wasn’t there! I kept calm and eventually, after about 15 minutes of concern and trying to figure how the heck I'd report a stolen rental in Germany, I found there was a smaller, identical parking lot behind the trees and sitting there was my ugly, yet capable Passat! At nearly 5pm it was too late to try for Zugspitz (the last lift goes off at 4:15 pm and I was not yet capable of light speed) so I headed north to Munich (called Munchen here) and then to Salzburg, Austria (home of Mozart). As I left, the fog kept changing the scenery and I stopped three times to shoot more photos of the castles on the hills.
Neuschwanstein Castle as seen from the parking lot

Neuschwanstein Castle as seen from the parking lot