Thursday, August 14, 2014

Could this be (could this be) the most beautiful place in the world?

I like to think I've been a lot of places in my life. A lot of beautiful ones, even. But as far as edifice + setting goes, the most beautiful place I've ever been is Hohenschwangau (and Neuschwanstein). You probably know Neuschwanstein as the Sleeping Beauty castle. Of all days, my camera was running out of batteries on that day (last Wednesday), so I don't have many pictures. Just Google it if you want an image unsullied by the faces of my children.

This is at Hohenschwangau Castle. Behind the girls, you can see Neuschwanstein in the distance. We went inside Hohenschwangau but not Neuschwanstein, which I've heard is prettier from the outside, anyway. (Can you imagine an interior more beautiful than that exterior?)

This is the lake near the castles, with actual swans swimming in it (a few are in the background).

We hiked uphill for 40 minutes and then waited 10 minutes in a heaving, sweating line of tourists to see this view from a narrow bridge over a gorge. Totally worth it.

The actual most beautiful sights, I wasn't allowed to take pictures of since they were viewed from inside Hohenschwangau Castle (you can't use your camera there). It was breathtaking.

I know that my cultural background and upbringing have conditioned me to view this place as my most beautiful, but I was still caught off guard by how amazing it was to be standing in an honest-to-goodness castle (Hohenschwangau), in the original, untouched, unrestored writing room of a king, looking out a window onto a swan pond surrounded by green grass and the dramatic inclines of forested mountains.

What is your most beautiful place?


Liz Johnson said...

I realize that this is going to sound weird, but for me, it's either rural Indiana or rural Pennsylvania. There is something about rolling, green farmland with loads of green trees that gives me so many goosebumps. Add a proper red barn and a white fence and I get all dizzy with enchantment. I love it so much.

But there are also places that I think are so beautiful for nothing more than nostalgic reasons. Like I almost burst into tears at the sight of my favorite Mexican sushi restaurant, thinking it was so beautiful. But I was also really hungry.

Jen said...

Neuschwanstein Castle is part of my sister's mission. She's heard from several people that her mission (the Alpine German-speaking Mission) is the most beautiful in the world.

There are times when I go home to Maine and my breath catches a little bit as I think, "Gosh. I got to grow up here."

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I could never decide on only one place. Just about every landscape has its beauty to me. For sure though, driving through a tunnel of trees is not it. I like drama in my scenery. If I had to pick one place it would be Santa Clarita Valley the way it looked back in the day. It was full of ranches and farms, dotted with oak trees, hills covered with tall waving grass, all surrounded by craggy mountain peaks because earthquake country.

Señora H-B said...

As far as buildings go, I'd have to say the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. It was completely breathtaking and I don't think I'll ever see something so fantastic again in my life.

For other beautiful places, I'd say the High Desert of Northern Nevada, where I grew up. A lot of people think it's ugly (and parts of it certainly are), but there is something so peaceful about that austere landscape. I also love the campground in Sharon, Vermont. I was there in the very early fall about 10 years ago. The day was perfect and the setting exquisitely beautiful. The farm where my husband grew up in Indiana has its moments, as does my favorite little cove off of Cape Cod. Like I said, it's hard to decide!

Señora H-B said...

Oh, I totally agree with you about rural Indiana. I never knew I could come to love such a place. I definitely have and I miss now that I no longer live there.

Hannah said...

That really does look like something out of a fairly tale. I'll have to put that on my list of places to see!

I'm not sure what my most beautiful place would be. I've been fortunate to see so many places that are beautiful in their own ways. A few possible contenders are the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus (at least what it looks like in my memory of when I was there), Palenque in Mexico (amazing Mayan ruins with tropical plants all around), many parts of Alaska, and many parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Crys said...

We took the kids to Buckingham palace and when they saw it they were disappointed because they expected something like this ;-). Beautiful castle.

Aimee said...

I do love Neuschhwanstein! And we trekked up that hill in pouring rain, while I was 14 weeks pregnant and horribly morning sick with grumpy, wet college students! It's such an incredible place! The inside is alright, but a lot of it was unfinished. Fun place for one of your last treks around Germany!

Ariana said...

BWCA in northern Minnesota.


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