23 December, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Leighs

14 December, 2012

Deployment Milestone

Just wanted to post a quick hoorah! 
We reached another deployment milestone. 
Don't want to say the exact number of days for OPSEC reasons,
 but the daily countdown, in my eyes, is much more manageable now!
I think I may even make a paper chain to countdown the days.

Also, I'm flying out this weekend to head back to the States. 
As if this week could get any better!
I'm so happy to be going home to my family. 
I will be staying in South Carolina for the remainder of the deployment. 
Hopefully the time will fly by while I'm with family.

11 December, 2012

It's Beginning..

to look a lot like CHRISTMAS :)

+ Nuremberg Christmas Market

25 November, 2012

Is it weird that...

the most normal part of my Thanksgiving was watching Clemson lose to SC?

This was an unusual Thanksgiving. I'm not complaining in the least bit. I was surrounded by good people here in Germany and I'm blessed to have great relationships with family & friends in the States. So really there was love all around. It was just different this year. Not having RC around was the worst part and knowing he's stuck in "the sandbox" and can't really embrace/experience the holidays hurts my heart. Fortunately they had a fairly traditional Thanksgiving meal and were able to have some free time to have a ping-pong tournament.

So with a quick recap let's compare the difference between Thanksgiving in the States vs Germany...

Typical Thanksgiving:
start the day with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
spend time with family
meet up with extended family
football in the background all day long
enjoy a deep fried turkey and all the southern fixin's ;)
nap after eating a ridiculous amount of pumpkin & pecan pie

breakfast at Cracker Barrel
hunt for the PERFECT Christmas tree
decorate said Christmas tree
play Christmas music since its AFTER Thanksgiving and the appropriate time to do so

surround yourself with family & friends .... even if they're Carolina fans
experience every range of emotion
(and for the last 4 years at least) pout because your team lost
practice extreme self-control and do not engage in the idiotic comments on Facebook

Black Friday-- Christmas tree shopping circa 2011

Thanksgiving in Germany sans husband:
drive to a friend's house 40 min away
watch old hockey games??? yah, I know
eat squash soup, turkey, and mashed potatoes with leeks (a first!)
try gluhwein (forget spiked eggnog! I'll take gluhwein as my holiday drink)
wait the appropriate time to get behind the wheel
drive to another friend's house 30 min away
notice that there are babies and little ones EVERYWHERE
have your first taste of pumpkin pie
finally some football in the background
talk to your husband for maybe 10 min on the phone
know how blessed you are to have him in your life
quick Skype session with family

sleep in
realize that the PX has nothing remotely worth getting up for
come to terms with the fact that you will not have a Christmas tree this year
nor will you decorate for Christmas (highlight: because YOU'RE GOING HOME)
jealousy sets in... your family is eating hashbrowns & pancakes at Cracker Barrel
you had granola cereal for breakfast
watch Fringe for the majority of your day :)

stay up until kick off at 1 am
Skype with brother & SIL during the entire game (BEST part)
feel less crazy when yelling at the tv because you're watching "with" someone
experience every range of emotion
pout because your team lost AGAIN
practice extreme self-control and do not engage in the idiotic comments on Facebook
go to bed because it's 5 o'clock in the morning

10 November, 2012

Halfway There!

Even though everything inside of me doesn't want to....it's kind of hard to say "WE'RE HALFWAY THERE" without making the obligatory Bon Jovi reference. So there you go...

01 November, 2012

Mom's Visit: Poland

Poland! Our Poland trip ended up being quite an adventure. One of the first things I heard about once moving to Germany was the Polish pottery and how you HAD to visit the town of Boleslawiec to visit the many, many pottery shops or skelps. I'm talking there are some seriously obsessed women out there.

We decided to make a two day trip out of it although many people do it in one. Personally I don't find driving 9+ hours in one day enjoyable so we opted to stay in the 75 euro a night Palac Brunow. And boy am I glad we did. You can find pictures of the palace below. An absolutely beautiful "hotel", spacious rooms by European standards, and an amazing meal for dinner AND breakfast as well. All for just over $100 I might add.

I'll be honest after driving through Boleslawiec and around Poland for close to 2 hours Palac Brunow was a sight for sore eyes. Overall there were many run down or unkept buildings. Maybe from the influence of the Soviets who had ruled for so long? It may not have helped that it was a very dark and dreary day. So while the town of Boleslawiec nor the area we drove through was very appealing to the eyes the pottery most definitely wise. I definitely understand why people make it in a day trip. There really isn't much to see beyond the pottery. I may be spoiled by the charm of Germany.

Oh, and I should also mentioned that we woke up the next morning to snow! Snow in October! What am I getting myself into? I do not belong in the snow, but nonetheless we thankfully had a snow scraper in the car and battled through 4+ hours of snow and ice to make it safe and sound back home.

31 October, 2012

Mom's Visit: Bamberg, Germany

Day three of Mom's visit was spent in Bamberg. Another town within an hour radius of "home". This was my first time to Bamberg and I so enjoyed it! The weather had dropped a bit and I must admit I preferred keeping my hands in my pockets rather than taking pictures. So unfortunately there are only a couple Instragram shots of the town. 

These day trips with my mom have made me realize how much more I prefer exploring the city on a weekday. Less weekend hustle and bustle.  We walked aimlessly for the most part, but used the awesome 'blue dot' on the Google maps iPhone app to hit a few key sights. All in all a great trip exploring another picturesque German town. 

30 October, 2012

Mom's Visit: A Day Trip to Rothenburg

I seriously can not get enough of this city. I think this is the 3rd time I've visited and it still has not gotten old! While Mom was still adjusting to the new time zone we decided to stay close and just make day trips the first few days of her visit. The first of which was Rothenburg. We leisurely strolled the town, did a little shopping, and had a delicious lunch.

15 October, 2012

Moving Mondays @ My Traveling Troop

Today I'm being featured over at My Traveling Troop for 'Moving Mondays'.

Kristina has a fabulous blog where she shares about her life as a Navy wife. 
Her family recently made the trek from Monterey, California to SINGAPORE.

Kristina is creating an incredible collection of tips and stories of military families living all over the world.
Getting the news that you're PCSing to another duty station can bring on all sorts of emotions.
 Excitement, but also fear of the unknown. There are so many questions running through your mind!
That's why having a database where you can go to read other spouses experiences is so beneficial.

So if you get a chance today stop by My Traveling Troop and read my Q&A session with Kristina.
We cover everything from the pros & cons of living in Germany to travel tips and my newest obsession: Crossfit.

If you're a military spouse be sure to bookmark her blog or add her to your Google reader because let's be honest...
none of us know when or where we'll be living next!

13 October, 2012

Pumpkin Festival at Ludwigsburg Castle

Only in Germany are pumpkin festivals located in the backyard of a freakin' castle. 

So we started at the upper grounds of the Ludwigsburg Castle and made our way down to where the winners of Germany's biggest pumpkin competition were being shown off. And boy were they huge! Then we ended up wandering for oh, I don't know, about half an hour trying to find where all the delicious pumpkin flavored food & beverages were located. We ended up completely encircling the entire castle grounds and realized after that if we had taken a right instead of a left at the front of the castle we would have been there in about 2 minutes flat. Fail.

Once we made it to the "backyard" of the castle we were welcome by the aroma of cinnamon-sugar roasted pumpkin seeds. We made sure to pick up some pumpkin wine and ate a delicious variety of pumpkin dishes. I chose a large portion of pumpkin ravioli placed in pumpkin soup. There were pumpkins literally everywhere & even statues made out of pumpkins.

Our quick little day trip was abosolutely perfect! Everything I love about fall rolled into one day. Perfect fall weather. Beautiful blue skies. A crispness in the air. The leaves changing. Pumpkins everywhere. And boots and scarves as the dress code. 

06 October, 2012

Thank you, Chipper!

This pretty much sums it up for me. Every word is true--

"It will seem quite odd to watch a Braves game next year.
A constant will be gone.
The last man from Atlanta's historic run of division championships will retire.
Every time one of them left it was painful--
first Maddux, then Smoltz, and now Chipper Jones."
-Morgan Carter, Bleacher Report

It's sad to see that era officially come to a close.

no Skip Caray on the radio...
no Bobby at the helm...
no Chipper at 3B...
so odd. 

Atlanta Braves, NL East Champs for 2013... 
I don't even want to mess around with the bogus wild card spots! 

30 September, 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 14

It's been a MONTH since I last updated this blog. So what's happened since then? 
Well, we are 1/3 of the way through this deployment! Fall has officially arrived in Germany. The temperature has dropped, the leaves are changing, the pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg has opened, and Oktoberfest is in full force. Fall is probably my favorite time of the year and I must say I love it all-- The crispness in the air, pumpkin flavored everything, and appropriate weather for boots & scarves!

Honestly, the month of September flew by. Nothing terribly exciting happened. I didn't travel anywhere. I don't have any pictures to share and no real exciting news. Instead I thought I'd share what I've been trying to accomplish during this deployment... being healthy in all aspects of my life. 

Emotionally, Spiritually, and Physically

Emotionally: There are a number of things that have helped me keep sane during this deployment. I talk to my family. A LOT. They have been my greatest support system and talking to my parents on Skype for sometimes hours a day makes this deployment life feel a little more normal. I have a schedule. Consistency helps me feel a little more in control and makes the days go by faster. Trying to stay involved. I tend to be a little more reserved and a homebody, but I try to connect with the other wives here. They understand this crazy, awful process and are an amazing soundboard & make me feel a little less crazy.

Mostly I try to remember that such an extreme separation like this is emotional. Sadness, bitterness, anger, jealousy, loneliness, fear, calmness, excitement, or happiness. Whatever it is. It's all normal. And God-willing it won't last forever. I try to remember that and let myself have bad days. I don't have to be happy all the time. It's okay to be mad. It's okay to feel lonely. Ultimately I don't ever want to feel guilty about anything that I'm feeling and I think embracing that is a healthy outlook. 

Spiritually: I'm not going to lie. This element of living a healthy lifestyle has been on the back burner for quite a while. I think it's easier to see the visual side effects of poor physical and poor emotional health, but poor spiritual health can be much more detrimental. Since we've been in Germany (and some time before if I'm being completely honest) I've been pretty fat and lazy regarding my spiritual health. It's been a me, me, me kind of relationship. Always taking and never giving. So I've really been trying to turn that around. I've been consistent in our tithing. Earlier this month I started journaling again and began watching/listening to messages from the church we attended in GA: Crosspointe Church. I'm still looking for a consistent daily devotional and I'm definitely a work in progress.

I've been trying to let go and let God. A healthy spiritual life dips into a healthy emotional life and I know this. I just need to work on it. Knowing that God has a bigger plan has helped me have a better outlook on this deployment. If we are in the center of His will then this is the path He has chosen for us and we will be blessed. Although it may be hard and often overwhelming He is my greatest source of strength.  

Physically: This journey has been an exciting one for me.  I've been participating in a CrossFit style class at our gym on post since the middle of July and I am hooked. I think this video gives you the best description of what CrossFit is. Every day I go in it is a challenge. Every day it's something new. And if it's not a "new" workout I've done before it's still a challenge because I am competing against my previous time. Every day I'm surprised by what my body is able to do. I never thought I would be so into weightlifting, but after doing this style workouts I don't know if I'll ever go back. I grew up playing sports and once I got into college I missed it. I knew I still needed to be active, but running on a treadmill and using some machines DID NOT motivate me to go to the gym. CrossFit is motivating. I wish I had found CrossFit a long time ago. 

CrossFit has also changed the way I think about my body A LOT. Woman are way too obsessed with how much they weigh. Have you ever seen a picture comparing 5 lbs of fat and 5 lbs of muscleWant another example of how body weight is not a true example of being in-shape and healthy? I'm embracing the phrase "strong is the new skinny". Now I only weigh myself once a month. I've learned that how I look (is there more muscle tone? are my legs/arms more defined?) is more important that what numbers come up on a scale. My ultimate goal does not have a number involved -- it has a physical appearance.  Again I'm a work in progress but I'm loving this journey. 

31 August, 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 10

LIFE LATELY... So things have been feeling a little monotonous around here. I guess this is actually a good thing; If you want to look at the glass half full! I've gotten in a nice routine between work and Crossfit classes. On days where I have both --I'm only working part time-- the time flies by! On days I have off I spend time on Pinterest. So THIS is my life lately... doing what I think most military wives who move every couple years do- dream of their dream home.

For me right now it's not even dreaming of my dream home.
It's dreaming of not having the restrictions of living overseas in Europe.

CASE IN POINT: repurposed furniture. LOVE IT.
I'd rather have a house full of garage sale/thrift store/Craigslist finds than brand new furniture from IKEA. But I've had a really hard time finding thrift stores/etc. around here. Not to mention that we live in stairwell apartments which make it difficult to navigate any piece of furniture up to our second floor. Oh yah, and the fact that I am husbandless.
ONE thick legged kitchen table: repurposed into a desk
ONE old rustic armoire: repurposed into a storage cabinet for office

Source: thenester.com via Emma on Pinterest

ONE old dresser: repurposed into more storage for an office

Source: thenester.com via Emma on Pinterest

ONE MORE old dresser: repurposed into entry way table with storage

23 August, 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 9

I've been really slacking on these weekly updates, but here we are at week 9! We have made it two months which makes us about a 1/4 of the way through this deployment! I don't have many pictures or updates from this week so I thought I'd leave you with some Instagram pictures from Luxembourg...

20 August, 2012

Girls Weekend in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is a tiny little country sandwiched between Belgium, France, and Germany. Their people are called Luxembourgers and they even made up their own language "Luxembourgish", a mix of French and German. Due to its geography and large number of immigrants, Luxembourg is a very culturally diverse nation. I heard it's common for its citizens to know up to 4 languages. Crazy! Lucky for us, English was sort of a common ground for language and widely understood/spoken.

The food was very similar to German so I kind of steered away from the traditional dishes. The city was much more modern than I was expecting. I think this was due to the large banking sector and heavy EU influence. I went into this trip having very little knowledge of the county and didn't research at all- which was new and kind of fun for me. The girls and I did the touristy things like a sightseeing bus, but also made sure to shop and wine & dine. Overall, I enjoyed our girls weekend, but Luxembourg probably won't place very high on my list. 

The most interesting part of the trip was definitely the casemates. For only 3 Euro were able to walk through about 1 km of the underground tunnels. The casemates were built as underground defenses connecting numerous fortresses. Construction started in the 17th century by the French, but was completed by the Austrians. Since then the casemates have been occupied by numerous nations (Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Prussia...) and were makeshift bomb shelters during WWII. The casemates spanned 23 km, but only about 14 km remain today. It was definitely a neat experience getting to walk through these tunnels!

1. German translation for the picture below: "don't forget the sand". Since the casemates were bomb shelters during WWII and became home to the thousands of individuals, makeshift toilets had to be made and they used sand to mask the odor. How neat that the writing is still on the wall. 
2. Not all of the casemates are connected. At the end of the Bock casemates we exited into a park and across the river was an iron door for another casemate. I was hoping we'd get to go into the next one, but this casemate was not open to the public because it was used as a vault for one of the banks. How cool is that!? 

13 August, 2012

Live with Intention

Even when I'm in a strange place. Even when family is far away.
Even when friends seem even further. Even when my husband is deployed.
Even when my job isn't ideal. Even when I feel like my life is on hold.
I must remember...

11 August, 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 7

This week was definitely out of the norm. I spent the entire week in Wiesbaden/Mainz for work training. No Crossfit, absolutely no gym time, but lots of shopping & wining and dining!  I was lucky to have some amazing girls in our class and we spent pretty much ever waking minute together. We were a nice mesh of Army and Air Force  and we even had some lovely girls from the UK. I learned that my English accent was actually pretty good and thanks to them I'm going to start trying to integrate the words "wag" and "posh" into my vocabulary. :)

03 August, 2012

Friday's Letters

DEAR CHICK-FIL-A HATERS & SUPPORTS, to each his own. You're entitled to free speech, I get it. But please stop blowing up my news feed with pictures of Chick-fil-a. This girl can't have Chick-fil-A until DECEMBER and you're just making me crave it even more- and that I do not appreciate. DEAR NBC, we are not friends right now. Your whole "delayed taping so you can show events during primetime & get major ratings" is really screwing me over. There is a ONE HOUR time difference between Germany and London. I shouldn't have to wait until 3 am to watch something that occurred at 3 pm. DEAR RANT, the END. DEAR BLOCK LEAVE, I can't wait until you get here! But in the mean time I'm having fun trying to find the best way to travel between Scotland, Ireland, and England. If anyone has any MUST SEE places in those countries let me know! DEAR HUSBAND, I am so glad you finally decided to be on board with having a Golden Retriever. (Yes, I know it's hard to even believe that he was actually opposed to the idea.) DEAR BRANDON & LEAH, I could listen to "LIFE HAPPENS" on repeat for days on days. Thanks Keeping Up with Kardashians for giving them some air time. Watch their super cute video >>>> HERE <<<<.
DEAR CHRISTMAS, December cannot come quick enough! I recently booked my flight home for TWO WEEKS and I am ecstatic! I get to see my family, meet my new nephew, and spend one more Christmas morning at Grandma & Pop's house. :) DEAR POLAND, girls weekend, shopping, pottery, good food & wine... BRING IT ON!
DEAR HUSBAND, 6 weeks down! Thanks for always putting a smile on my face even from 6,000 miles away.

28 July, 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 5

This week started out a little rough. RC and I have had pretty constant communication since he left, but that stopped all of a sudden. Completely out of the blue. For 2 days I didn't hear from him and I was a little freaked out. I knew something was wrong. I soon found out that all soldiers in his region were put on a media blackout because two men, a specialist and a private, were killed. A number of other individuals were injured. With the way technology and Facebook is they are mandating blackouts so that families can be properly notified before someone senselessly posts something on Facebook.  

My heart aches for their families and instantly I was reminded how real this war is. 

The rest of my week was spent at work and continuing the CrossFit/functional fitness classes in the evening. I've developed some nice calluses, determined my baseline for weightlifting, and hopefully gained/toned some muscles! I also conquered round two against these gawd-awful walls and hung some curtains in our living room. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, a retelling of Cinderalla from one of the "ugly stepsisters", is my current read.

Also, here's a picture of one of the Daddy or Hero Dolls. You can place a picture under the plastic piece in front of his face. I'm not gonna lie, it's kind of creepy looking and the dudes got crazy hair. But these are a great tool to help kids deal with separation from their solider.. or errrr wives when there are extra Daddy Dolls left over. :)

25 July, 2012

How to Get Your Fix of 'Murica in Germany

You probably don't think about this until you move to a foreign country, but what works when you're overseas?
Music videos on YouTube? Pandora? Netflix? Watching How I Met Your Mother on CBS.com?
No. No. No and No. Or should I say NEIN!!

American channels and shows on German television? Of course not.

So how do I get my fix of American media?

As I mentioned earlier there are many websites that you cannot access if you are not within the continental US. By using a VPN my IP address (how they know I am in Germany) is hidden and my data is protected as well. I've been using HotSpot Shield and now I can watch all the shows I want on CBS and FOX's websites and listen to all the music I want on Pandora and YouTube.

Most importantly I was able to watch THIS video. Pssssh, Biebers got nothin' on NSYNC!

2. USTVnow.com
For those shows that aren't on the TV channel's website I've been using USTVnow.com. It's a service based out of Philadelphia that allows American citizens living abroad access to their huge DVR database system. For a monthly fee you are able to record as many shows as you want to a  remote DVR and watch whenever you'd like via their website! Hello, Real Housewives and all my Bravo shows!

For when I want to go back and watch episodes from previous seasons I use Project Free TV. 

4. SONGZA & iHeart RADIO iPhone APP
iHeart radio is my favorite. I'm able to listen to my Charleston stations like WEZL. I'm not going to lie. Sometimes when I'm driving down the road listening to country music and hearing commercials about Red's Icehouse I forget that I'm in Germany. Songza is a great alternative to Pandora. They create unique playlists for a number of different scenarios; singing in the shower, waking up, friday night dance party, unwinding after a long day.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Now more important than getting my fix of American TV and music is getting my daily dose of my favorite American PEOPLE! Even though we're separated by an ocean these gadgets help me feel much closer!

Duh. But really, Skype is amazing. It allows me to talk to my parents, grandparents, brothers, and husband! We are spread out in three different countries and most of the time it's a very clear connection. Having a phone conversation is nice, but seeing a loved one's face is even sweeter!

Who loves free texting? This girl! Especially since if I tried to text and call from my German cellphone handy number the rates would be ridiculous!  With Pinger, they assign you an American number that you can give to your family & friends. Simple and easy.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Now if I could just figure out a way to get some Chickfila over here I'd be a happy girl! :)

20 July, 2012

Friday's Letters

DEAR GERMANY, this rainy weather needs to stop. I would like to get at least a tiny bit of a tan. I am already pale and don't need to be translucent by the time winter rolls around. DEAR HUSBAND, I got a "hero doll" so now your cute face is going to go everywhere with me. Travels to European countries, Thanksgiving dinner, and most definitely Christmas morning. DEAR NINJA MOSQUITO, must you be so allusive and always attack at night? I've never even seen you yet I wake up with bites on my arm every morning. Also, there are about 5 million of your brothers and sisters in South Carolina. You are one of like 5 in Germany. Why did you have to pick my home to live in? DEAR CONCRETE WALLS,  I may have bent the first nail I used, but eventually I  succeeded in hanging pictures! Emma for the win! DEAR CROSSFIT CLASS ON POST, I'm looking forward to you kicking my butt tonight.
DEAR HUSBAND, We made it one month! And I miss your face. A lot.

19 July, 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 4

Wahoo! We made it a month! I can't begin to tell you how happy it makes my heart. I know it's a small milestone, but know it feels like we're actually making progress! One month down. :)

Since I've been busier with work I didn't exactly take a picture for everyday. But this week we had two girls nights. One was comprised of pina coladas, homemade pizza, and an app-sharing session. The other was spent eating Mexican food and planning our trip to Poland next month. Sunday I had to pull over to the side of the road and take pictures of the sunflower fields by the gate to get on post. It's so beautiful when there are bright blue skies behind the sunflowers! Downloaded iHeartRadio and have been listening to that and Songza nonstop. Luckily our car has an adaptor so I can plug in my iPhone and listen to country music in the car and not hear German commercials! Hallelujah! Got special nails from Self Help so I could hang pictures on our concrete walls. Our diplomas were the first thing I hung.  Last night I got to catch up with my bestie from Clemson. We gushed about our shows, caught up on each others lives, and she shared a yummy recipe with me. :) All in all a pretty good week. Of course it would have been better if my love was here!

13 July, 2012

Friday's Letters

DEAR FRIDAY, today you bring a girls night. And for that, I am thankful! DEAR BAVARIA, You are beautiful. Sunflower fields right by the back gate on post? Yes, please. I don't think I've ever enjoyed drives home as much as I do in your lovely state. DEAR HUSBAND, when all of your packages finally start arriving you are going to have a TON of goodies! I hope you enjoy them all! :) DEAR NEW GIRL, as in the TV show. I love you. Zoey Deschannel, you are perfect. Also, Jess and Nick please starting dating. Pronto! DEAR SLEEP SCHEDULE, we need to get back on a good routine.  Without the husband around, I'm naturally a night owl. No bueno. DEAR WORK, you seem to be filled with good people. You take up most of my day and that paycheck at the end of the month is going to be oh so sweet. DEAR HUSBAND, I love you tremendously.


12 July, 2012

Deployment Diary: Week 3

This week actually went by very quickly! Here's to many more weeks like it. RC started a new work schedule this week. Luckily he has the ability to sleep anytime & anywhere when given the opportunity; whether it's AM or PM. I'm hoping that he adjusts well and that our schedules continue to allow us to talk regularly. Our daily conversations have made this so much easier!

// Day 15 // H&M and German restaurant day was a success!! I actually really liked the schnitzel.
// Day 16 // Celebrated two sweet girls' birthdays over the weekend.
// Day 17 // Laid out on my balcony and tried to get a little sun.
// Day 18 // I've been using the Nike Training Club app and absolutely love it!
// Day 19 // Went and saw RIO for FREE on post with Sarah. Yes, we were the only ones w/out kids.
// Day 20&21 // Been busy being a working woman. Thankful for this job! The days go by much quicker.

10 July, 2012

I Carry Your Heart With Me...

I've always liked this poem by E.E. Cummings and now it has an even sweeter meaning...

08 July, 2012

Neuschwanstein Castle

I was recently looking through my pictures and realized I never did a post on the Neuschwanstein Castle. 
So here it is! During RC's last weekend here we decided to make the drive down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a nice & relaxing weekend. The Neuschwanstein Castle was only an hour away from where we were staying. So after seeing the Zugspitze we decided to drive over to the town of Schwangua where the castle was located.

Neuschwanstein Castle was built by Ludwig II, the King of Bavaria as a place where he could retreat. Construction began in 1869 and the architecture was based off of medieval castles and the operas of Richard Wagner. However Ludwig II died in 1886 before the castle could be completed. Only 15 of the 200 rooms were completed prior to his death. Since the castle was so far from being finished it was opened up to paying customers for viewing. Those revenues were used to balance construction debts, and later became a large source of income for the Bavarian family. Ludwig II was a popular king after his death because of the amount of money he brought into the state of Bavaria.

I think the most interesting part revolves around King Ludwig II's death. The construction fees of the Neuschwanstein castle ended up almost doubling the estimate and Ludwig began to run into serious financial problems as he was also building two other castles. Along with his financial problems there were also claims of mental insanity. In June of 1886 Ludwig was deposed of his power by reason of mental illness and removed from the castle. Just a few days later he was mysteriously found dead in the shallow waters of Lake Starnberg. 

Okay. So here's the thing about the Neuschanstein Castle. Before we actually visited I kept hearing about hearing how it inspired Walt Disney. TRUE! And about how the Cinderella castle was modeled after it. WRONG! Apparently it inspired Sleeping Beauty's castle. Being an east coast girl I've been to Disney World numerous times. I'm not going to lie. I didn't even know Sleeping Beauty had her own castle in Disneyland. 

Now, the tour. You cannot go inside the castle without taking a tour. That was kind of strike one for me. I'm more of a fan of going at our pace on our own time. But it was not too expensive and while we're in Germany why not!? Y'all, I'm not going to lie the tour was gawd-awful. The tour guide spoke "English" which was more like Germish... maybe. So I had no clue what he was saying the entire time. His accent was very thick, echoed in the large rooms, and our group was so large I couldn't try and read his lips. So that was kind of strike 2. It was also unclear on whether or not you could take pictures which was strike 3. So I have no pictures of the inside, but I think I'd rather be safe than sorry. So while the tour wasn't very good I would still recommend going! I found King Ludwig II's story interesting and I loved the ties back to Walt Disney.

All images, designs, and words are intellectual property of Emma Leigh unless otherwise stated.