Surprise, surprise, we're moving on to another castle for yet another week of revelry. But honestly, do you ever get tired of them? We don't. This week's feature is extra special as it will be the site of the annual Victorian Swag Christmas Party.
Not only do we love it for its whimsy and architectural daring, we can't get over the fact that it inspired the castle in one of our favorite Disney classics, Sleeping Beauty. One look at the turrets, towers, balconies, and pinnacles and it is hard to imagine that this place was built by a middle-aged German man and not a magical fairy princess.
Ludwig II started construction in 1869, desiring to create a physical expression of the mythical operas of friend and composer Richard Wagner, the Romanesque Revival palace, which overlooks the city of Schwangau, Germany, is nothing short of decadent. Although it was never completed, the castle, built on top of a dramatically steep cliff, remains an impressive architectural feat as well as a beautiful example of modern medieval idealism. It really does look like Sleeping Beauty should lie sleeping in one of the towers and one is not hard pressed to believe that there may be a deadly forest of thorns barring the path from unwanted visitors. Enough about the castle for a while, let’s get to the party.
We were so pleased with the success of our Thanksgiving gathering that we decided to invite some friends (you know, just a select few as we couldn’t possibly have enough room here, hehehe) to come and stay with us for Christmas. The theme for the week is, of course, fairytales. And as we couldn’t possibly be expected to spend the week cooped up alone in the castle, the four of us brought suitors, ahem, dates. Sally will be accompanied by Bradley James who has agreed to bring his chainmail and provide any knight-in-shining-armor moments that may be required. Sarah has invited Garrett Hedlund who will fill the requisite fairytale role of woodsman throughout his stay. Mariah will be joined by Zachary Levi. After all, we couldn’t do without a loveable, adorable, goofy court jester type. Finally, Andrew Garfield will accompany Ali and will be the stereotypically handsome prince’s even-more-gorgeous brooding younger brother who may never ascend the throne (always a necessary addition to any good fairytale). We couldn’t risk having our dance cards pulled by just any dashing lad at the ball. We are looking forward putting up Christmas trees, sipping lots of hot chocolate, and finding ourselves under an inordinate amount of mistletoe. And we are most looking forward to our Christmas ball.
Let’s see some scores:
Location: 9.5 – There really is no place like Germany at Christmas. We are practically in the Alps here so we should be guaranteed a white Christmas (love it!). Another plus is the fact that we can frequent the Weinachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets) for our fill of Glühwein (hot mulled wine) and Bratwurst. Oh, and did I mention the views from this place (who cares if it’s a tough climb to the top)? Magnificent!
Exterior/Landscape: 9 – Built on top of an imposing cliff, Neuschwanstein looks like it was meant to be. It is almost a natural part of the landscape, its turrets and towers complimenting the towering pines that dot the hills around it. The blue slate roof contrasted with the white limestone exterior is a perfect combination for a fairytale castle. Pretty much this place is awesome.
Interior: 8 - The rooms – though only 15 or so were actually completed – are just as romantically delightful as the castle’s exterior. Whimsical murals depicting Wagner’s operas cover most of the walls while ornate woodwork and sumptuous fabrics make up the rest of the over-the-top décor. Another bonus? This place just begs to be decorated for Christmas. Actually, few decorations are really necessary. The color palette is made up of bold reds and greens accented by gilded décor that would really only require a Christmas tree or two and a light dusting of snow on the rooftops.
Overall Design: 9 – If the interior were finished, it would be a 10.
Creativity/Originality: 10 - I am sorry, but this castle is so quintessentially fairytale. How can I not give it a perfect score? It was designed to be whimsical and it embodies the imaginative spirit as few other places do. Simply lovely.
Party Hostability Factor: 8 – Guests shall arrive by horse-drawn carriage into the main courtyard. The large halls will be perfect for dining and dancing while the estate rooms will hold our overnight guests nicely. Since the decorating is finished and Christmas is nearly here, all that is left is to bring out the punch bowl and cue the string quartet. Merry week-before-Christmas, everyone!