A Fairytale Day

Sloane Saxon: AU Honors College — Study and Travel in Germany Summer 2022

Growing up as someone who adored Disney movies, having an experience in which I felt like I was in a Disney film was incredible. If you’re ever in Germany, driving 117 kilometers south from Munich will take you to an incredible attraction called Neuschwanstein Castle. The German landmark surrounded by the German alps was the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland. Growing up in Atlanta, my only experience with historical castles and sites of this nature were in history books and art history curses. Having the opportunity to interact with the history itself was extremely enriching.

The tour of Neuschwanstein allows visitors to enter a room of the castle and get a sense for how it would have functioned in the 19th century. The walls were decorated with ornate frescoes, wood carvings, and paintings. Each piece of furniture you saw in one room would be upstaged by even nicer furniture in the next. As we progressed through the tour, it became very clear to see the degree of artistry and attention to detail that it took to create something like this. The previous semester before this program, I took a lot of art history courses and began to have a strong interest in why people make things like castles and huge palaces. My professor often remarked that “all art is political; it serves a purpose in the era it was created in and now”.

Obviously, it’s not the 1800s anymore, Germany no longer has a monarchy, and palaces are almost entirely used for residential and historical purposes across the world. Nevertheless, I think places like Neuschwanstein serve a more significant purpose. Being one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions, the landmark serves as a point of pride for many Germans. King Ludwig II, the commissioner of the castle had significant appreciation for the music and the arts- many of the cultural things Germany is known for today. In a similar vein, Neuschwanstein allows visitors- particularly ones who have never grown up with a monarchy- to literally walk through what it would be like to have access to all of that power and excess.

Needless today my day trip to Neuschwanstein was a fairy tale day on top of an already fairy tale trip.

Auburn Abroad

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