Mad King Ludwig – Fussen, Germany

Hohenschwangau Castle

Imagine this is your childhood home. It sits prominently over the city of some of your father’s most loyal subjects, and this town is the gateway to the rest of the country that he rules over. A lot of the minor inconveniences of life are taken care for you. There is a large kitchen where your food is prepared. Painter adorn your walls with the beautiful artwork of your favorite childhood stories. And when it gets cold, people inside the walls will supply more wood to the stoves that keeps each room warm. You don’t even need to know that they are there because they have their own special way of moving about the castle.

The view of the lake from Hohenschwangau Castle

This is even your view from your bedroom window. It overlooks a huge lake, and during the summer months, the sun shines begging you to take a dip in its cool waters. During the winter, it turns into a magical snowy landscape that hints at the fairy tales that you have grown up on. Life is pretty easy. Yes, you have to sit for the occasional portrait, and you are destined for a life of signing papers, and managing a country, but for now, you can search for more intellectual pursuits to enrich your life any way that you can think of. It seems like the life that came at the end of a fairy tale. What could possibly ruin this perfect existence?

The valley between Hohenschwangau Castle and Nueschwanstein Caslte

This was the life of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. He took over the throne at the age of 19, and two years later engaged in a war with Austria. It lasted only a couple of weeks, and Bavaria lost. His country was finally included into Germany a couple of years later and he was only a king in name afterwards. It was the kind of event that affected a person deeply, and he never wanted to experience that kind of loss again, so he needed to find another way to spend his time.

Neuschwanstein Castle

He still had a lot of money, and he decided to spend it fulfilling his wildest fantasies, mainly building more castles in some of the most idyllic locations he could find in what was once his country. The most famous of these was build right across the valley from his childhood home. He could watch the construction of it from his bedroom window. It would be the perfect retreat where he could add modern conveniences such as electricity and running water, and he could go there to live alone in his misery. This is when he earned the name Mad Kind Ludwig and was clinically diagnosed with depression during this time. This did not stop him from building his fairy tale castle on the hill, and he would have finished if it wasn’t for a couple of things. First, he ran out of money, and he could not pay the workers to finish what he had started. Secondly, he drowned mysteriously at the age of forty. Nobody discovered what had happened, whether is was an accident, suicide, or murder. Either way, the castle was left to be opened to the public, and people could now gawk at the luxury that this mad king had created for himself.

Horse carriages available in-between the two castles

The castle made the small town of Fussen, Germany a tourist destination spot, and many people came there to view that castle, but it did not become the bid tourist destination it is now until a particular man came to view it. He had grown up with the same stories that King Ludwig II had, and had grown in his desire to share these stories with the rest of the world. He had made progress in this arena by animating a couple of movies that enthralled his your audience, but he was looking for a way to bring it even more to life. When he saw this castle, he was inspired in a way that could let the kids not only see these stories, but to become a part of them as well. He too would create a castle just like this one in the United States, and surround it with his Magic Kingdom. It took him a few tries before it took off like the way he wanted, but he was still able to solidify not only in America, but the rest of the world as people now flock to Disneyland and enjoy his version of this castle.

A path through the woods between the two castles

It is strange how inspiration comes from the strangest of places, and creates the legends that we live with today. A losing war, a childhood vision, and a random trip to Germany have made the Nueshwanstein Castle one of the most famous buildings in the world. It all cam about because people came across something and wondered what could possibly become of it. Some call them mad for thinking that way, but sometimes it is this madness that could lead to genius. Disney had to file for bankruptcy once to retain his movie studio, but he was still able to build something great out of it. Even Mad King Ludwig failed at the one of the shortest wars ever, but he was able to leave behind a masterpiece because of the rejection he felt from that  failure.

You might not have been born in a fairy tale castle, but that does not mean that your path might not lead you to greatness. What will the next turn bring to you, and how will it inspire you?