“Didi, come under the umbrella!! My hair is going to frizz.”
Sounds like first world female problems- I know, I know.
The September weather in Germany is unpredictable. One minute the air is dry and humid, occasionally surprising you with a warm breeze. The next moment, it’s raining while the sun is gallantly shining from above.
This was my first time in Germany, a highly anticipated girls trip to celebrate my cousin’s 30th birthday. We had spent the first half of our trip in Berlin, where we witnessed the strength and grandeur of the Brandenburg Gate, the progressiveness of the East Side Gallery, and learned of the dark, yet extremely important history at the Holocaust Memorial. A few days later, we ventured through the streets of Munich, throwing back cocktails and numerous types of beers with local University students and indulging on delicious, thick salty pretzels the size of our faces.
The trip, however, could not be complete without a visit to the illustrious Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany. Fit for royalty. I even bought my cousin a fake birthday crown that seemed fitting for the occasion.
Sejal and I hiked up a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in our sneakers thinking we could brave the rugged terrain. Unbeknownst to us, the weather forecast that day revealed an unwelcome storm. Midway through, heavy pellets of rain began to fall from the gloomy sky followed by large bouts of thunder. Our sneakers and clothes were soaked with mud and water.
Armed with only our tote bags and no umbrellas we ran to the nearest cafe for refuge where we met a group of foreign exchange students from New Zealand. One of our new friends lended us an umbrella and showed us a “shortcut” to get to the top of the hill.
Despite the circumstances, we were ready to weather the storm. He and his group led us through a lesser-known trail, occasionally stopping to share facts about Bavaria.
Did you know Neuschwanstein means “New Swan Stone?” No, I actually didn’t.
Ludiwg slept only 11 nights in the castle. Wow what a waste.
More than 14.5 million euros is spent on its maintenance. Man, wish I had that type of money.
After what seemed like an eternity, our hike -rather plight- was complete. As we ascended to the top, the weather seemed to comply and slowly rain was replaced by sunshine again. Before our eyes was the most unbelievable medieval castle, straight out of a fairytale (side note: this castle inspired the Walt Disney Magic Kingdom’s Sleeping Beauty Castle).
The idyllic castle stood majestically amidst the backdrop of the autumn foliage. Sejal and I decided to tour inside. The castle was surrounded by luscious green landscape and even had a well-kept inner garden. The tour guide walked us through elegantly decorated bedrooms complete with detailed wall paintings and vintage furniture.
We even learned a thing or two about the architectural insights of Ludwig II and the Bavarian society he lived in.
After the tour, Sejal and I walked to a small bench on one end of the palace and admired the enchanting landmark as we sat mere yards away from it. I pulled out a bottle of Prosecco, her favourite, from my damp tote bag and poured the liquid into two plastic champagne flutes.
Here we were, two independent women, living our own fairytale of travelling through the gorgeous country of Germany and experiencing the beauty that lives within it. Prost to that.
Written by Pooja Shah; Photos by Pooja Shah.
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Follow in Pooja’s footsteps and explore the Bavarian heartland with a 2-day tour of Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Hohenschwangau castles.