The next stop from my Europe trip takes us to Füssen, Germany. If you missed the last city, Vienna, click here.
After any period of extensive traveling, friends and family always seem to ask, “Which city was your favorite?” Oftentimes you answer with the name of a familiar city, a London or a New York, but this was not the case for myself. Füssen, Germany is a small town in Bavaria, a German state, full of German architecture, beautiful scenery, and a twinkle of magic. As the train progressed deeper into Bavaria, the green rolling hills transformed into monstrous snow-capped mountains that ever so slightly kissed the sky, reminding every newcomer that nature still reigns supreme here.
The largest driver of traffic to Füssen is the Neuschwanstein Castle, which served as the inspiration for Cinderella’s Castle. Who would have thought that King Ludwig II, a man who built the castle to withdraw from public life, would have served as inspiration for one of the most iconic structures and logos in the entire world? The magnitude of the castle is apparent once you make your way up to its front gate, and it is at that very moment you wonder why the hell Ludwig had this built for himself and himself only. Apart from that ridiculousness, there truly is something magical about the city and its surroundings. Maybe it’s the way the mountains circle the town, providing a sense of safety that only what was pure, innocent, beautiful, and full of life were permitted here. Or maybe it’s the way the city was designed, allowing you to appreciate the surrounding beauty with every step you take. I don’t know why, but Füssen resonated with my soul. It was refreshing to see a town that even in the modern age had kept its roots in mind and made sure that Planet Earth was taken into account with every advancement and inch of progress.
Especially now, with certain groups denying climate change (seriously?), Füssen was a reminder that we can coexist with nature, but more importantly that we need to take steps to ensure that we don’t destroy this planet. We only get one Earth, and I hope that the pictures convey this very message. After all, here the mountains are King, and you’re constantly reminded so.
Walking along the cobblestone streets you get the feeling that Füssen was designed with nature in mind. The vibrant colors of the buildings are highlighted by the sun, the shadows it casts adding depth and structure, constantly changing the mood of the city as the sun rises and falls.
I call this one “Ball of Sugar”, a concoction of fried dough, chocolate, and a variety of toppings. On our second day we walked around 15 miles, and these tasty snacks provided a much needed boost when we started to tire out.
Forever thankful for beautifully designed buildings.
There are two castles pictured here. The one on the left is the Neuschwanstein Castle and the right is Hohenschwangau. The latter served as King Ludwig’s home while growing up. He began to build Neuschwanstein because he wanted a bigger and better castle with a nicer view…all for himself. A bit selfish, but in the end he never saw the completion of the castle. 6 weeks after his death, tourists were paying to visit the castle out of a fairytale. They’ve been doing so ever since.
I love this picture for a lot of reasons. I think the way the trees are layered and stacked makes for a unique transition in the eyes of the viewer as you move between the buildings in each corner. The structures provide a stark contrast from the rest of the scenery and it makes for a more magical setting, as if the buildings don’t belong…but yet there they are.
This may be one of my favorite pictures from the entirety of the trip. Apart from increasing contrast and adjusting both highlights and shadows, this picture conveyed a dark, ominous mood from the onset. The rolling fog had engulfed the castle, breaking apart for just enough time for me to capture this image. Like I said above, Ludwig built this for himself, and had garnered a reputation for being crazy and volatile. I can only imagine the rumors that passed around back then as the townspeople looked up and saw something very similar to this.
If you’ve ever been to Füssen, sadly, you’ll know that this spot isn’t as quiet as you’d like. Most tourists end up here after they see the castles, but I was lucky enough to capture it in such an intimate setting.
However, you can get away from the tourists relatively quickly. There is an abundance of hiking and walking paths around the town, allowing you to escape civilization for hours on end. What I love about this picture is the contrast in size between my two friends and the trees. As you’re walking beneath the canopy you feel an air of wisdom, an understanding. These trees have been hardened by the cold winters and speak to the importance of resilience. They embody grit and are living proof that if you hold your ground, you can weather the worst of storms, and maybe, just maybe, defy time.
These two pictures were taken at the Ziegelwies Füssen Forest Centre, and drive home the idea of coexistence with nature that I mentioned above. As you walked from bridge to bridge, you saw that the engineering was designed to enhance the surroundings – that on their own, the bridges wouldn’t have been as stunning. However, when combined they create an experience unlike any other.
The true Kings of Bavaria (sorry King Ludwig).