Bavarian Journey Leg 2: Fussen to Lindau.
Germany may very well be the land of castles (schloss in German), with Bavaria boasting the cream of the crop.
Thanks to a vital trade route that sliced through this beautiful countryside back in Medieval times, prosperity and wealth of the many kings of the land required protection. Built on the hilltops with the best vantage points across the valley, these castles are postcard-perfect.King Ludwig II of Bavaria was an eccentric and troubled monarch. His childhood residence was the 19th century palace; Hohenschwangau Castle, built by his father King Maximilian II.
Located near the town of Fussen, this compact fortress sits on a hill overlooking Lake Alpsee. There’s been many fortresses reconstructed on this spot since the 12th century. By the time Ludwig II came to the throne after his father died in 1864, it was the official summer and hunting residence.The gardens and fountains were still nicely kept, with some great views from the balconies. The Swan Fountains were particularly prominent and may be the reason why he was also known as the “Swan King”.King Ludwig II later embarked on an epic spree of building castles and palaces all over Bavaria, exhausting the royal revenues. The extravagance led his ministers to declare him insane and he was eventually deposed.By far his greatest legacy would be the Disney-like fairytale palace of Neuschwanstein Castle, meaning “New Swan-on-the-Rock Castle”.
Although never completed, it was built and furnished in medieval styles but equipped with the latest technology of the time.A steep hiking trail took us around the back of both castles for a different perspective.In fact, it was difficult to find an angle that wasn’t awe inspiring…The waterfront of Lake Alpsee, lined with its old wooden buildings, gave a glimpse of a time when these castles really were the luxurious homes of kings.The common folk have called nearby Fussen home since Roman times. Its Old Town is a pleasant change, after all the ‘castle-strolling’.Although, our road trip through Bavaria meant there would be more castles still to come.Visited 26th September 2014.