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Exploring Bavarian Castles: Unfinished Majesty and Tranquil Retreats

We took a day trip to the Bavarian countryside south of Munich to tour two 19th century castles, including the ill-fated Ludwig II’s famous yet unfinished Neuschwanstein (claimed to inspire Disney and the design for Disneyland). We knew it would be a challenge navigating the nap on a 10.5-hour day trip, but after learning a few lessons from the Chocolate Train day in Switzerland, we thought it was worth an attempt. You know, when in Bavaria, gotta see those castles, per @ricksteveseurope

Fortunately the decision to join an organized bus tour made the experience extremely efficient, given the round trip driving time and goal to accommodate Jacob’s nap in-between each castle. We visited two of Ludwig II’s retreats, Linderhof and Neuschwanstein, and actually ended up preferring Linderhof (pictured in the first few photos) for its stunning grounds and surroundings. Jacob marveled at Linderhof’s ornate ceilings just like he did as a 3-month-old baby visiting Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, and just like his Papa used to do. 

We arrived at Neuschwanstein in time for an overtired tantrum by the lake. After rushing through our sandwiches, we reclined Jacob in the stroller for “nap time” while Dave pushed him a mile uphill ahead of our timed tour of the castle. Miraculously Jacob fell asleep on the ride for an hour, a game changer for the visit later that afternoon – though he still got sick of taking family photos from the balcony. 

Both castles were relatively small compared to other European castles we’ve visited, but still ornamental and ostentatious inside and with impressive views. Dave felt a kinship (and jealousy) hearing about Ludwig’s preference for visiting his castles alone and spending time there in quiet contemplation. 

By researching and selecting the right tour schedule for our needs, lots of desirable snacks anticipating the day’s transitions, bringing our own lunch (saving time instead of scrounging for paltry options in the castle town), and a more generous iPad allowance for the bus ride, the day trip ended up being worth the effort… this time! 😛