Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria in Southern Germany, built for king Ludwig II, is one of Europe's most famous castles, and perhaps the most classically romatic in appearance. It has such a fairytale look to it that it became the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyworld.
The fairytale look of the castle is no accident -- King Ludwig had the castle built in the late 19th Century specifically to help him live out a fantasized and romanticized version of glorious life in the Middle Ages. For this purpose, the castle's design was drafted by a theatre set designer, although the actual structural details were then provided by an architect.
Even though we spent two nights in the tiny castle restaurant inn right under the castle walls on our trip to Bavaria last month, I did not fully appreciate the fairytale quality of this castle until just about when we were leaving. As we were driving away through the town below the castle early in the morning, the castle appeared through the morning fog on the steep hill above. It looked so wonderfully unreal and magical, just like a fairytale movie scene come to life, surrounded by mist and spotlighted on one side by feeble rays of the morning sun that I couldn't help myself -- I had to stop the car, parking it (illegally) on the side of the road in a hurry, and ran out and used my telephoto lens to capture the sight. So here is the way it looked: A real-life fairytale castle rising through the early morning mist.