“You can’t count on the Future, you can only count on the Now.”
The 2 hour bus ride from Munich to the small town of Schwangau felt as if it was only 10 minutes. That tiny portion of German countryside was enough to showcase some of this countries true beauty. The lakes and mountains and rolling meadows all had me felling like I was in a scene from Lord of the Rings. Forget New Zealand, they clearly should have just filmed here. The castle I was heading to, Neuschwanstein, will easily end up in my top 5 moments of this entire trip. Might even be number one, but it’s still way to early to make that call. It’s been something I’ve dreamed of seeing for quite some time now.
The castle itself, which translates to “New Swan Stone”, has some awesome history behind it as well. I’ll just provide the back story, but I encourage anyone interested to do more research. The history itself actually would make for a great screen play, just saying. “Building Neuschwanstein”, starring Christoph Waltz, I can see it now. So upon first glance, one would naturally think, that is an old medieval times era castle, but it was actually built in the late 1800’s. It was never finished inside, but it featured many modern amenities such as early versions of central heating and running water. The castle belonged to the Bavarian King, Ludwig II, who wanted to feel as if he was living in the medieval times. He fashioned his castle around various tales of the era such as Tristan and Isolde, and one random room in the middle of the castle is a set design of a cave. Apparently the king saw it in a play and brought the set designer to his castle to create the cave room. He even has a giant concert hall, even though no one ever performed there. The king would simply light all 700 candles in the room and sit, imagining he was attending a musical show. They didn’t let us take pictures inside, and I respected their wishes, but they wouldn’t have done it justice anyway. This is something you need to see in person.
King Ludwig II was arrested in the castle before he could finish the construction and was declared legally insane. A year after that he was found dead in a lake with his psychiatrist, no one knows what actually happened. Ludwig was building his castle so that he could have a place to escape the world because he felt people did not understand him. He never intended to share it with anyone, not even his family, and he also did not want it to become a museum. Only 6 weeks after his death the castle was open to the public. Not only did Walt Disney steal the castle design for his infamous sleeping beauty castle, but inside the castle is a painting of a forest, which Disney stole for his inspiration behind Bambi. When you combine the design of the castle with the story behind it, it clearly becomes one of the most interesting castles in the world. I’ll be there again – who’s coming with me next time?
The small town at the base of the castle was stunning as well. On one end was a large, clear lake, for swimming or boating. It was surrounded by mountains and forest. There was also another castle located on the other side of the lake, but I didn’t have time to explore that one as well.
Challenge for the 5 people that will probably ever read this: find your favorite picture online featuring something on this planet. Maybe it’s a city, a landmark, a beach, a celebration. Maybe its the background on your phone or the background your computer. Maybe it’s a postcard you have or a featured image on your current calendar. I think you all know the picture I’m talking about. Take your favorite picture, find out where it is if you don’t already know, and plan your trip there. Within the next year. Seriously, fucking do it. No excuses. Pick your week and tell your boss you’re taking a vacation and start saving up. If you live paycheck to paycheck then find something to eliminate from your life so that you can have some extra funds. Get an extra credit card. Sell shit you don’t need anymore. Make visiting this place a priority over other things and you will not regret it. Eventually you will reach a point where you are no longer able to do the things you want to do. Do them now.
Imagine there is a plate of your favorite food sitting in front of you. If you just sit there and look at it, eventually it will go bad and you wont get to enjoy it. You don’t know when it will go bad or get cold, but you know it will. The ending is already set. Nothing you can do can change that. You could try eating it really slow to make it last longer, but then you run the risk of not finishing it at all. And is that really even enjoyable? Cutting your steak up into 1000 super tiny pieces? It’s still the same amount of food. That’s life. Tomorrow is not promised. Stop letting a fear of death preventing you from living. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience here. I used to get paralyzing anxiety at just the smallest thought of the end. I don’t want to die. I would sometimes sit up at night gasping for air thinking of all the things I’ll never get to see after I’m gone. But now I think of all the things I’ll miss while I’m here if I don’t act. Oblivion is inevitable. Nothing we can do will change that. Eventually everything will be gone. All of this. All of the people and the stories and the memories and the monuments. Why waste time worrying about something so huge? Distract yourself with thoughts of living instead.
Remember I said I was probably going to cry on this trip? Well today was that day. Seeing that castle in person, something that I’ve been looking at pictures on Instagram of for the longest time, was an insanely surreal feeling. I’m actually here, I thought, as I allowed my eyes to slightly water. I want everyone to experience that feeling. If anyone takes anything away from this blog, I hope that will be it.