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The Enchanted Castle

Written by: Hayley Abbott

I jumped out of bed as soon as I heard my alarm sound. I could hardly contain my excitement knowing that I would be experiencing the site of a world-renowned castle, famously known for inspiring Walt Disney. The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in Bavaria, Germany.

Professor Cuisinier swiftly led the pack of students to the station. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one eager for this experience as I struggled to keep up. Dressed in several layers, with my scarf and gloves, I glanced down to double-check that I hadn’t lost my train ticket. Pressed for time, I sighed with relief when we made it to the train station on time and I was able to find a seat. I removed my scarf and gloves and glanced out the window only to find a winter wonderland. It was a brilliant white that sparkled as it graced the top of mountains and houses. It was vast and resplendent. I felt blissful and tried to keep myself from asking how much longer we lacked until our arrival.

After a long and scenic two hour ride, I peered out the window and saw the most magical thing I had ever laid my eyes on. We burst open the doors of the train and stomped onto the snow slushed ground and filed behind the crowd of people. Horse-drawn carriages carried families up the hill to the castle. Tourists snapped photos and made their way to the counters to purchase souvenirs. The hill to the castle appeared steep and the wet snow began to fall. I felt my hands numb through my gloves and could hardly open my eyes as the snowflakes landed on my cheeks and eyelashes. The hill got steeper and the snow fell harder, but my excitement never faded as we continued climbing to the top.

Soon a sweet aroma filled the air as we approached a local restaurant perched on the hillside. Although it was hard to pass up the idea of a warm drink and dessert, we pressed on. The blustery, chilling wind only got stronger. I kept my eyes down at the hard ground before me until I heard the sounds of people at awe surround me. For one of the few times in my life, I felt speechless. The enchanted castle seemed unreal with the snow-covered mountains appearing in the backdrop. It was simply magical. I strained my neck so I wouldn’t miss a second as the enormous castle towered over me. The numbness and chills faded away and I embraced the moment before me. I snapped a few photographs for memory-sake but wanted to cherish the dreamlike experience.

Time seemed to pass so quickly when I heard my friends call for me. It was time to discover what the scent calling my name from earlier had to offer. I asked for three of the German donut-like treats, referred to as “fried quark balls.” As a southern girl, I’ve never experienced a type of fried food I didn’t like, but little did I know it would soon become one of my favorite desserts. I also purchased a cup of glühwein, a famous German hot red wine winter drink. As I sipped the wine, the feeling returned to my fingers and the sweet dessert warmed my stomach. I still hadn’t come down from the high I was feeling from my very own fairytale. A surreal experience you read about in books or hear in movies. As the Germans may say, I felt a feeling of “gemütlichkeit,” or a sensation of comfort, that will always be dear to my heart.


Hayley Abbott

Paris-Munich Winter
Eastern Kentucky University

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