What is Bavaria’s #1 attraction? Most of you might say Neuschwanstein Castle, but I beg to differ.
Do a web search for Neuschwanstein Castle, and what comes up? 90% of the images you see will be the ridiculously picturesque view of the castle from Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge).
You would have to be insane to visit Neuschwanstein and not do the short walk to Marienbrücke. It’s at this viewpoint that you can truly comprehend how Disney became so inspired for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
So when I visited Neuschwanstein Castle on a day trip from Munich, my number one priority was getting my ass up on that bridge.
Upon arrival at the castle, we toured the interior. I had imagined it to be freakin’ huge so was somewhat surprised that it not all that large. But hey, it was still incredibly ornate and fancy.
The tour only lasted 30 minutes, so afterwards I bee-lined for the path to Marienbrücke only to discover there was a fence blocking my way.
‘Caution, path closed due to ice’ was splashed across the blockade. No matter, I thought. I could see others making their way along the path. I’ll go anyway.
Confidently ignoring the sign, Robert and I climbed around it.
We slowly made our way down the slight decline, holding tightly on to the handrail to keep ourselves steady. Our shoes were making a decent effort to get us on our asses by sliding around on the ice, but we kept at it.
A few hundred metres in, Robert made the decision to turn back as the ice was getting too slippery. He slowly started pulling his way back up to the safety of the castle grounds, using the handrail to keep himself steady.
Determined, I continued. I could see people ahead that had made it further than I had. There was no way I would come all this way to Germany and not see the view of Neuschwanstein from Marienbrücke.
It proved increasingly difficult to keep steady as I made it further along. The handrail was coated in a layer of ice and my gloves were struggling to get a firm hold on anything.
A turning point in the path meant I had to let go of the handrail to cross to the other side. I slowly edged my way across to where a bunch of other people were attempting to climb over a second barricade and up a snow covered hill to get to Marienbrücke.
Half way across the path, my feet went from under me. Falling backwards, my arm went out to break my fall and my backside hit the rock hard ice.
I cursed loudly. A few people ahead turned around and asked if I was ok. Embarrassed at my horribly uncool fall, I checked my limbs to make sure nothing was broken, then told them I was fine.
Carefully standing back up to continue my quest, I realised there was something up with my wrist. It was giving me some pain when I pressed it against the ground to get myself back on my feet.
Making it to the other side of the path, I began to climb over the second barricade, but the pain in my wrist made it impossible as I couldn’t get a good hold on anything. I tried a number of different ways of climbing past to make it up the last little section of path to Marienbrücke, but in the end I conceded defeat. Ice = 1, Ashlea = 0.
I carefully slid back down the way I’d come, holding on to the handrail with my good wrist and trying very hard not to injure myself a second time.
Robert was waiting for me as I made it back to the area in front of the castle, and as I emerged from the path, I burst into tears – not because of my injury, but because I didn’t make it to Marienbrücke. I tried so bloody hard but just couldn’t do it, and it killed me knowing I’d made it all the way to Bavaria and not been able to see the one thing I’d been most excited about.
I sulked all the way back down the hill to where our bus was waiting. Robert managed to console me by telling me we’d come back one day in summer and I could go to Marienbrücke. He also said he’d seen another young woman emerge from the path with blood pouring out of one hand – she’d obviously slipped and cut herself on something. Apparently ice is significantly more dangerous than we all had thought.
We arrived back in Munich and I used Dr Google to figure out how bad my injury was. It looked as though I’d done something very similar to an injury tennis players get when they fall and land on their wrist, pulling a tendon beneath the thumb. Dr Google prescribed resting the wrist for a few weeks and no strenuous activity.
Point of the story? Sometimes, shit happens and we just can’t do the things we want to do. It was something as simple as a snowfall that crushed my dream of photographing Neuschwanstein from Marienbrücke.
I did everything in my power to make it, but sometimes, you’ve just gotta take what you can (or can’t) get. And what better reason to go back and see some more of Bavaria than this?