Three Wise (groups of) Women and the Advice they Share

 

‘Tis the Season . . . folks feel the rush of the holiday season; it’s the time of giving and receiving gifts.

I have received sage advice throughout my life from incredible women. It’s a difficult task to classify them; they don’t necessarily fit exclusively to one group.

Their gifts of wise words continue to influence and guide me.

Three Wise Groups of Women:

Family

Our first contacts and relationships were built within this group. The women in this circle provided us with guidance and safety, helped to develop our sense of self, ignited and nurtured our talents, picked us up when we fell.

To think this group only includes older-than-you blood-relatives would be doing a great disservice to the ones who joined our families later, maybe even our own children, nieces and cousins. These later in life and younger joiners continue to provide fresh new perspectives; they also call us into their network, to be some of their Wise Women.

Friends

Girlfriends are literally the best. All along our life they are our cheerleaders, voices of reason, and support system. The best of them never feel absent when our lives change, we meet up, chat, and don’t miss a beat. Girlfriends know who we truly are; we don’t need to explain ourselves. They also only want the best for us; they are proud and happy for us. In turn, we provide them with the same great support.

Mentors & Role Models

There is no formula for a mentor or role model… we have benefitted from numerous female mentors and role models. Mentors see something within us, something that maybe we can’t see yet and they are wise and generous enough to nurture that something. They share in our successes and find the “teachable moments” in our failures. They share their experiences with us for our benefit – they are priceless. Role Models can literally be anyone you can admire. Our role models are often times our mentors, friends, and family. I, personally also admire world-renowned women, they inspire me (Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Sophia Amoruso, Malala Yousafzai, Marissa Mayer, etc…)

Now for some of the advice they have gifted…

LIFT OTHERS UP WITH YOU; DON’T PUSH THEM DOWN 

This resonates with me; I have experienced both sides of this, lifting others up and being lifted up by others and being pushed down and pushing others down. Lifting others up with you is such a powerfully positive experience. It is like “pay it forward.” When compliments come your way for your work for example, there is more electricity in thanking the compliment-giver and mentioning the others who contributed to your work, and complimenting them too. Because, let’s be honest with ourselves, rarely do we get anywhere alone, it is a collective task and those folks should be applauded too.

“WE” IS ALWAYS STRONGER THAN “ME”

I distinctly remember a mentor talking about “we” – the power of a team, of a place, it’s not necessary and sometimes harmful to think of only yourself. This isn’t to say your individual contributions are lost, in fact, quite the opposite.

See the examples below:

Sample One: You: “Look at what I did.” Response: “I see.”

Sample Two:  Ron:“Look at what we accomplished.”Harry we couldn’t have completed it without you XYZ.”  Harry: “Thanks, but I have to say, Hermione, you were awesome when you suggested XYZ.” Hermione: “Happy to be part of it, hey Ron, we really depended on you for XYZ.”

The conversation about “We” will always be richer and more dynamic than the flat conversation you’ll have about “Me.”

Notice how these two bits of advice go so nicely together?

DON’T CRY FOR THINGS THAT CAN’T CRY FOR YOU

The simplicity and directness of this advise is exquisite. If something cannot cry for you, don’t cry for it. Meaning: Material things are never worth crying about.

So, if for example, you back into a car on your way to work because you were too far out in an intersection and absent-mindedly you don’t look in your rearview mirror to see said car (and totally bust up your bumper). Naturally, this makes you late for work and you call in crying… as if it was the end of the world or someone died.  And someone says, “Don’t cry for things that can’t cry for you,” take the advice.

REGARDLESS OF TITLE, SOCIAL POSITION, OR POWER, TREAT EVERYONE WITH AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF RESPECT

One extends to race, gender, creed, or identity… bottom line, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what you do. I will treat you will the same level of respect as anyone else.

I have one expectation: you do the same.

BE YOU, YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE QUALIFIED

I gave up on trying to be cool a long time ago, I do me – I like to think I do a pretty damn good job of doing me. I wouldn’t have it any other way, and you shouldn’t either. Grow? Yes. Live and Learn? Of course. Evolve? I hope so. Try not being who you are? Nope.

Do you have any pieces of advise you have received from the wise people in your life? I would love to hear from you! Please share in the comments below.

Also, share this post with the Wise Women in your life!

The focus on the Women in this post however doesn’t mean I don’t cherish the Men in my life, of course I do another blog post, for that topic is in the works.

Advertisements

Why Storytelling is the Greatest Thing Ever!!!!

Almost everything can be transformed into a brilliant story.

Yes, anything. Don’t believe me?

Think about it:

Embarrassing childhood memory – ‘told it!

Epic dining experience – ‘re-lived it!

When you fell in love – ‘annoyed your friends with it!

Travel experiences – ‘Trip Advisor-ed it!

Telling your parents it was your sibling not you, who broke the whatchyamacallit – ‘lied it!

Stuff we collect on shelves, in albums, and on refrigerators – ‘remind us of it!

Making up sins to tell your priest when getting reconciliation, because let’s be honest, how bad can a 4th grader be? – ‘straight lifted from an after-school special it!

I can say without embellishment, I am guilty of all of the above.

Some of my favorite childhood memories now only exist as stories. While some folks mourn the loss of the actual memories, I find infectious-fulfillment in the joy and humor others receive from them.

I am convinced that my parents sent me to Catholic school to fill my adulthood with a fascinating array of stories to be told at dinner parties and shared with friends to ease their embarrassment (the picture below, taken from the illustrated dictionary for the word “embarrassing”).

Youth

My favorite storytelling genre (or writing) is non-fiction (or loosely inspired by non-fiction) comedy/humor (huge fan of Tina Fey, Chelsea Handler, Amy Poehler, Allie Brosh, and the list goes on…). I love what happens when people laugh together. I especially love it when people can laugh together about life. The brilliance in storytelling is anything is up for grabs and everyone can participate – it is about finding the right entry point and delivery.

One of the stories I have told, currently tell, and will continue to tell until I am ancient – is a story about one of my German neighbors. I have told this story in German to Germans and in English to Americans. They both laughed, but interestingly these groups had different humor. I will briefly tell the story and then we can chat about who thought what was funny.

*Disclaimer: I share this because of the fondest I have for my German neighbor. She is truly an Angel, she acts like the German Oma my kiddos never had. As a light-hearted American, I was not in anyway offended by this situation. But the situation, itself, has layers of humor to it.

It was late spring, a Saturday evening; I was in my garden staining the privacy screen adjacent to our house. I was beginning to wrap up for the night, when from around my bushes, my neighbor appears. In one hand she has a plastic bag and in the other hand, a small gardening shovel.

Full disclosure: I don’t have a green thumb. If plants are not so dry and dead you can snap them in half, I think I’m doing pretty well. Also, Nick thinks planting and subsequently watering anything that doesn’t “provide food” isn’t worth it.

I am bewildered, she didn’t ring the gate’s bell, she has let herself in, and she has walked clear around my house. I instinctively think to myself, “Oh, Shit… I have done something wrong.” Considering the paragraph above, the list could be long.

Fuller-disclosure: My neighbor is an amazing gardener, as are most Germans. Her garden is always beautiful and she has amazing flowers well into fall.

 She calmly and plainly states that we will now plant these plants together (that is what is in her bag, PLANTS!). I said, “OK…” (Did I have a choice?!) We go from flowerbed to flower bed. It was seriously a moment out of  The Karate Kid, she (Mr. Miyagi) would watch my (Ralph Macchio) attempt to plant something, and then in disgust, she would pull out the plant and show me the correct way… this went on for almost an hour. At the conclusion of our talk she said, she would be watching me to see if I would keep these plants alive for the year. Gulp!

Funny right?! I have found Americans think it is funny that she came and taught me how to plant the flowers (without invitation). On the flip side, Germans think it is funny because a grown woman in her 30s doesn’t know how to properly care for plants.

Essentially the same story, tweaked for the audience, can be funny from different cultural perspectives.

This is one of the many reasons I find humor in storytelling to be such a powerful, communicative tool.

Maybe I will share some other funny stories in the future. If the picture above is any indication, the larder is FULL!

Hitting my Stride

I have never possessed natural athletic ability; effortless running didn’t grace my gene pool. I didn’t pass my presidential fitness test with ease (I believe it took more than 3 years to get it) and I was never the star player, first string, or letter-jacket material.

But, just because sports didn’t come easy to me, didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy them, I gave up on them, or decided “sport wasn’t for me.” I took on sports as a challenge, to prove the others wrong – to prove my self-doubt wrong, to believe in myself a little more.

My inner-drive, scrappiness, and passionate push-through are qualities I pride myself in today.

Maybe I took this position because when I was an impressionable pre-teen, the movie “Rudy,” came out. The underdog was admirable, desirable, and attainable. I think we all see a little of “Rudy” in ourselves. I digress. . . I am pretty certain, I can pin-point where this drive came from, or at least where it was ignited…

It was the 90s, a humid, sunny day in July, in Middle America (Wisconsin, to be exact)… I had joined cross-country at the suggestion of my high school biology teacher and driver’s ED instructor (and needless to say, cross-country coach).

I lived in a town that straddled suburban sprawl and farm land. The cross-country team was on one of our most-difficult training runs of the season (says the one with little natural athletic ability). I had fallen behind the pack, but kept trucking along…the oppressive sun caused my SPF 50+ sunscreen to melt down my face and into my eyes. I was feeling hollow, borderline exhausted, and semi-deflated. I was running on a street with no sidewalks, lined on one side with long asphalt driveways and 1950s styled Ranch homes and the other side of the street, tall rows of corn. I was alone on the road and looking up to what seemed like an endless wavy road refracting in the heat.

Up ahead, I saw a grey-haired man start to walk down the long driveway. Assuming he was headed to the mailbox, I thought nothing of it. As I approached (my feet had transformed into lead weights), I could hear him clapping. Instinctively, I looked around, nothing or no one to clap at or for. Lightbulb moment: He was clapping for me. As I passed him, he called out, “Who’s winning?” I responded without a second thought and between labored breaths, “I am!”

That moment, ignited something within me. It gave me goosebumps; it still gives me goosebumps almost 20 years later. Somewhere within me, strength was discovered and energy unlocked, self-imposed barriers broke down, and anything was possible.

I doubt that man thought anything of it at the time, but he gave a voice to my biggest fan, my biggest competition – myself. While I don’t run as often anymore, I still hear that voice when I am faced with challenges or when I am in need perspective. It provides focus and clarity; it connects me to my past, my present, and my future… a mantra of sorts. It reminds me that anything is possible when I believe in myself.

Do you have a distinctive sports-related memory that you carry? A mantra that you repeat? Please share your memory/mantra in the comments below.

Premium Grade A Integration

In the US, we largely speak of assimilation, the melting pot, right? In Germany the focus is integration. What’s the difference, maybe semantics? But for me, as person with an immigration background (if I can even call it that), integration feels less threatening. I am not giving up my American-ness, my language, or customs – I’m learning the lay of the land in a new country, its language, and customs (oh, and hello! It’s school system!).

As many of you know, over the last 11 or so months, I’ve been attending evening classes. Four nights a week, I’d trek into the city center to learn German, about Germany’s history and political system and what not. During this time, I’d pass Nick in the doorway as he came home from work and I left for class, arriving home after 10 pm.

I’ve said and I continue to stand by this… learning German is the hardest thing I’ve undertaken. Why? I think mostly it’s because I had no scaffolding to build on. I didn’t have any previous experience with the German language, besides some bizarre inside jokes from early high school.

When we arrived in Germany, my brain defaulted to its last known foreign language… Spanish. “Gracias” doesn’t bode well at Grocery store check out. I laugh about it now, because… it’s funny, but at the time I felt fearful of most everything. I constantly questioned myself, my actions, my children… did we do something wrong, what did that person say?! This is not a healthy way to live, but I think it is a common experience for many immigrants.

Now, I can get my point across in casual conversation, make appointments on the telephone, and speak with other parents. I think my best conversational partner is a 5 year old, because our vocabulary is about the same! I keep joking about the scene from “Mrs. Doubtfire” when Robin Williams says, “I am job.” I think in a way I might sound a little like this, but that’s OK, I haven’t given up and I don’t feel scared anymore.


About a month and a half ago I sat for my final exam for this course. If successful, it provides you with a B-1 certification, Leben in Deutschland Certificate, and Certificate of Integration. I was so nervous for this all day test, stressed out during the test and even after…

Over a month later, I had fallen asleep early on a weeknight (by early I mean 7 pm). At about 9 pm, Nick woke me up, showing me my envelope from the Immigration Office had come. In the heavy state of REM sleep, I rose from my bed as gracefully as a middle-aged sleep walking man and took the envelope. I opened it. I started reading the back of the stack of papers and exclaimed, “Jesus Christ (he had nothing to do with this, sorry), what the hell does this say?!” It seems that I still REM sleep in English and asking my brain to read German was more than it could handle. After confusion came composure and the results…

“I passed. Really?!” I thought to myself.
“Yep.”
“Really?!”
“Yep, and you did pretty darn good too!” 10 year old me, with pink glasses and a perm gives almost 33 year old me a high-five.

Then I was awake.

B-1 Prüfung on the Horizon

Saturday, August 23, 2014: Mark your calendars! I’ll finally sit for my German B-1 examination. This is a daylong test, covering: German history and social system, listening and comprehension test, writing, and speaking. I. Can. Not. Wait. I hope to receive a certification and half of the tuition we’ve invested in the course (A nice incentive gift from Germany, if you pass the examination on your first try, then they give you half the tuition you’ve paid as a gift!).

I began the class in September, since then, I’ve gone four nights a week for over 3 hours of instruction with another hour and a half spent in transit. Monday through Thursday, I head out the door at 5:00 pm, passing Nick in the doorway, alerting him to where dinner is located, and giving him a quick peck. I roll in around 10:00 pm, with enough time to hear about the evening adventures of our little-but-growing-fast munchkins, manage any necessary planning for the next day before passing out. During the day, I have anywhere from 1- 3 hours of homework.

Nick half jokes that this course has been more challenging than Graduate School. Emphasis: he only half-jokes. Taking this course has been challenging, it is hard, and I had no scaffold to put this knowledge on. It was totally new for me. Like a good American (or maybe an average one), I only truly know English. Sure, I took Spanish for seven years and at one time could speak a little Italian. Safe to say, all other foreign languages have exited my brain – all which remains: English and German.

America is a language graveyard, we’ve listened to the NPR stories about how after 2-3 generations, immigrants largely lose their previous mother tongues. I am SO UNLIKE my fellow students, on average they are bilingual, if not trilingual or downright polyglots. They live close to and frequently cross boarders – so to live you must speak more than one language.

I am not complaining about this course, I think this was, is, and will continue to be, an incredible opportunity. This experience continues to teach me to: don’t doubt my ability to learn, think critically about the different experiences and realities of others throughout the world (largely seem unbelievable in 2014 – especially for WOMEN!), be compassionate to immigrants, humor IS an international language (Even if your references are most successful in a group of 30-50 year olds from the Midwest. Turns out people outside of the US are largely unaware of who Harry Caray is – their loss.), take Life’s opportunities seriously and don’t squander them, and continue to dream big (This to me is at the core of what it is to be an American, I will continue to be optimistic and I’ll never see a limit on my potential)!

T-minus two months. What will I do with all my extra time?! Hold tight on that note, I’m pretty sure I’ll find something (wink).

I have to dedicate this post to Nick Narloch; my supportive husband, parenting partner, and best friend. He’s always stood by my big ideas, even if his “realist” outlook has caused him concern. He’s always said, “We’ll find a way,” and we always have. He’s an active, hands-on Papa, and during this course he’s been the evening “Mr. Mom.” Thank you, Nick. I love you. 

A Year Later

Before we moved to Germany, during our visit in January 2013.

Before we moved to Germany, during our visit in January 2013.

Truth be told, I have about 4-5 unfinished blogs floating around my desktop.  Some of them explore what the holidays were like in Germany (awesome, by the way) and others begin to articulate what life has been like for the last year (our year anniversary in Germany was March 1st).  I never published any because I felt the main ideas were lost. In this post I will try to give an honest, personal reflection about what life has been like for me and for my family (at least how I see it).

Some might have called me crazy (OK, well most people do, but usually for other reasons). I was in my early thirties, mom to two young ones, loving husband, two cars, and a job as a museum curator and director of a young institution. But, when given the chance, I gave up the cars, the job, and all the stuff to start anew in a country, where, I didn’t know the language, or where we would live long term, or even where my kids would go to school. It was an exciting and calming decision all at the same time.

From my life experiences, I can tell you – it’s not about the stuff you have, it’s about the experiences you share with the people you love. This realization came early for me, when I was 17, we sold our family home and I moved with my mom into a modest apartment. That summer, I went to Italy and my mind was broadened. Later, living through the illness of my closest companion, reinforced the brevity of life and the need to be immersed in its beauty and be fluid with time.

Sometimes I feel like, well if I stayed in XYZ then I’d be like “Jane.” But, I didn’t and I didn’t for a reason, I had different life aspirations. While sometimes unconventional, success for me will ultimately look very different than success for others, I’m fine with that. I just need to remember not to compare myself to others (high school continues to screw this one up for me).

Finding happiness, like I said before, I was never about the stuff. Home is people, not a place. I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by the people I love, Nick and the kids, when I Skype and call my family and friends, and when I spend time with my friends. I don’t take a moment of this life for granted, I’m incredibly thankful, I still feel like pinching myself – “Am I really here? Did I just walk next to a castle (a little different than the K-Mart in New Berlin)?”

My little sunshine thing!

My little sunshine thing!

I never desire to be static. I suppose, in the most extreme way, moving to Germany pushes me to continue to learn (Hallo, German!), be open-minded, and more compassionate and empathetic to others. Sure, we have silent hours where static-ness is desired, I must learn to live again – therefor, I’m NEVER static for long.

Museum Selfie - feeling the power of art.

Museum Selfie – feeling the power of art.

I was thinking today, has my year as a Hausfrau been more of a sabbatical? In many ways, it has. I’ve spent so much time with my children, I feel like I know them more and feel more connected to them than ever before. I’ve visited more Museums for pleasure than ever before; this provides me with a renewed lust for what I’m so passionate about. When I was in Amsterdam, numerous times, while in Museums I was both on the verge of tears and had Goosebumps – the power of art, objects, and Museums – found me, again! I’ve also had the time to forge important friendships, anyone will tell you after college finding adult friends can be difficult, I however, feel fortunate to have landed some rad friends in Germany.

Time with the kids.

Time with the kids.

Now just because I’ve had this sabbatical year doesn’t mean I desire to hang out in Hausfrau land forever, anyone who knows me, can agree, I’d drive myself and others crazy. This time has been extremely important and necessary. The year leaves me recharged, refocused, and reinforced.

CV Photo by Blanca Melendez Photography, 2014.

CV Photo by Blanca Melendez Photography, 2014.

Behind the Candelabra . . . I Mean Castle

Our first Christmas/New Years Holiday in Germany – I can’t get over how much time we’ve had off, the American in me doesn’t know what to do with all this time?!  How do we do nothing? Now, when you have two small children (5 years old and 21 months old) and an elderly allergy-prone dog at home, you search out the daytrips and easy visits that can be accomplished with enough caffeine and sleep under your belt.

I think our exact words to each other were, “Let’s be tourists in our own country!” The first location that came to our mind was, Neuschwanstein Castle. Located just over 300 km south of Nuremberg (about three hours driving one way; if six hours of driving seems to be a little more than a day trip for you, the surrounding villages offer a variety of B&Bs and other seemingly quaint hotels), outside of Füssen and a “stones throw away” from the Austrian boarder.

You can reserve tickets, for a small fee, up until the day before you’d like to visit (cut off at 3 pm).  Tickets to enter are 12 Euro for adults and free for children (under 18). Tours with guides are offered in German and English. Audio Tours are available in Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, Czech, Slovenian, Russian, Polish, Chinese (Mandarin), Portuguese, Hungarian, Greek, Dutch, Korean, Thai and Arabic. Please be advised if you or someone you’re visiting with has mobility issues, you must call the Ticket Center to make special arrangements. In addition to Neuschwanstein Castle, you can bundle your ticket to visit other castles and a museum, but considering we were coming with small children, we opted for the one castle visit.

We chose a Saturday to visit and lucky for us we had wonderful, clear weather for the drive down. We left our house at 7 am and arrived in Hohenschwangau at 10 am. The small (microscopic) village offers ample parking lots, it’s best to park there first then walk the block to the ticket office. All the parking lots seemed to share similar pricing at Five Euro for the day. As we approached the Ticket Office, hoards of people seemed to appear out of nowhere. I was thankful we had reserved our tickets, because the queue for tickets soon snaked through to the sidewalk. I can only imagine how long others might have waited. We had our reserved tickets within five minutes, but we were both surprised that we didn’t get out requested time but rather one an hour later. Meaning we had two and a half hours to kill with our runts before we could enter the Castle (queue the horror movie music!).

We both took a deep breath, we’ll do this and we’ll have fun! We decided to pack my daughter in baby-backpack and we wore another backpack with a variety to snacks, drinks, and kiddo supplies packed.

You have two options for your trip up the 1.5 km trek to the Castle: 1. Wait in line for a horse drawn carriage – the price seemed to be 6 Euro for the way up and 3 Euro for the way down (I also saw signs for a bus, but I didn’t see one the day of our visit). 2. Walk up the paved incline. We chose the second option and, seriously, it wasn’t bad. However, if you or someone you’re traveling with has mobility or balance issues you might just opt for the easy-breezy horse ride. I have to admit, the droppings left by the horses mixed with the rain and melting snow covered the road and therefor covered shoes and some pants – so dress accordingly!

The trek up is mostly through the woods; you pass a few (three in total) eating options, restaurants, cafes, and take-aways. Then when you’re almost to the Castle, they have a covered meeting area with benches and interpretive panels in both German and English. We spent close to an hour here, having a picnic lunch and snapping photos. Twenty minutes before our tour, we talked up to the Castle. I checked our second backpack in a locker (2 Euro deposit) and asked if the backpack carrying our toddler would be allowed in, and they said yes. This is also the time to use the WC as it is free with no wait, and very clean. After our bathroom break, we ducked into the information area to pick up a few brochures, and then we headed back outside into the courtyard to wait.

Your tickets have a tour number printed on them, a screen announces the next three or four tours and their entry times. A new tour starts every 5 minutes. I have to admit, visiting other attractions/museums throughout Europe; I found this part of the tour to be very orderly. When it was time to enter, a small rush of people went through the turnstiles and into the Castle, maybe a total of 20 in our group. I’m a museum professional, and even for me, it’s disappointing when you’re not allowed to take photos inside, and Neuschwanstein, unfortunately is one of those destinations – no photos.

The tour begins by walking up a staircase and into a hall. Here, your tour guide greets you; ours provided us with a general overview of the tour, Castle, and King Ludwig II. Construction on Neuschwanstein Castle began in 1869 and was never completed (your tour guide should mention this – in the unfinished areas you can enjoy a café and various gift shops!). This is Modern-Era Castle; it isn’t that old and the exterior of the Castle looks pretty new.

To put it into perspective – the world in 1869:

  • Dmitri Mendeleev’s gives the formal presentation of his periodic table of elements
  • Friedrich Miescher discovers deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)
  • Mahatma Gandhi is born
  • Commercial telegraphs are about 30 years old

The central figures of the castle have to be King Ludwig II of Bavaria and Richard Wagner. The musical works of Wagner provided the King with the inspiration for many of the interior frescos (completed by art students from Munich). Much is written about the mystery of King Ludwig, most of it alludes to how he was reclusive, slept during the day and was awake all night, spent tons of money on frivolous things (including this castle).

The tour highlights include (tour last about 45 minutes, many stairs are taken):

  • A walk past the servants’ quarters (I wish we spent more time in this area, I found it to be fascinating.)
  • Throne Hall, with Lapis Lazuli covered columns, a massive chandelier, and Byzantine-inspired architecture.
  • The apartments of Ludwig II including, the dining room, bedroom, oratory, dressing room, salon, grotto and conservatory, and study.
  • The Singers’ Hall, an incredibly ornate room filled with arches, murals, and various decorations.
  • Historic Kitchen, on the ground floor, this is also a very interesting space.

Reflections on the visit to Neuschwanstein

It offers a lovely experience, a hike with the family, and some breathtaking vistas. It isn’t the most tastefully decorated castle; it’s a little kitschy and tries to be something it’s not (maybe this speaks more about the King who lived there).

I jokingly said Liberace must be a relative of Ludwig II, meaning it’s over-the-top and bedazzled.  It’s fitting that Disney chose the castle to the inspiration for Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom.

I think a visit to this castle would be enjoyable for many first-time European travelers, children interested in fairytales, or even for an easy family outing. I think those interested in the history of King Ludwig II will be interested in this castle. Those who’ve visited other European Castles or are very knowledgeable about history could be disappointed in this experience, but if they go into it open minded they could have good time.

For More Information:

Schlossverwaltung Neuschwanstein

Neuschwansteinstrasse 20

87645 Schwangau

Infoline: +49(0)83629398877

http://www.neuschwanstein.de/englisch/palace/index.htm

For more information on Life in Franconia (including reviews on cultural attractions like this one), Check out this website: Welcome to Franconia