Monday, November 12, 2007

Bavaria (part 4) (Update)

Next series of pictures. This time from and around Neuschwanstein Castle. An update with a little more backgroundinformation will follow later this week.

This time a little more backgroundinformation with the pictures that I took in and around Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the castles built for Ludwig II, the Bavarian fairytale king who lived from 1845 to 1886. The castle was meant as a retreat for Ludwig II and was also an hommage to Richard Wagner, Ludwig's inspiring muse. The castle is probably Germany's most photographed building and one of Germany's most popular tourist places. Every year it attracts more than a million visitors. We combined our visit to Neuschwanstein Castle with a visit to the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle.

Although it's a very commercialized and overorganized tourist place it certainly was worth a visit. Although it sure was bombastic the interior was not so over the top baroque or kitsch as Linderhof Palace and Herrenchiemsee Castle (pictures of these places you'll find in later postings).

Ludwig II never saw the castle completed. Actually the castle hasn't been completed until today. Many of the rooms remain undecorated. Short before Ludwig II died only 14 rooms were finished. Most of the decorated rooms contains wallpaintings with sceneries from the legends of the Swan Knight Lohengrin, which story was made into an opera by Richard Wagner under the same name. Besides Lohengrin you also find sceneries on the walls from Tristan and Isolde, Tannhäuser and Parzifal, which stories were all made into operas by Richard Wagner (for information about these operas check here, here and here).

The most impressive room for me was the Throne Room, a room with the resemblance of a Byzantine church. The weirdest room was the Grotto, an artificial dripstone cave and an allusion to the Venus Grotto
in the Hörselberg near Eisenach
. A larger sample of the Venus Grotto can be found at Linderhof Palace. I'll show pictures of that in later postings.

Despite it's medieval looks on the outside the castle, the castle was provided with a lot of new technologies of that day, like electricity, running water, heating pipes etc.. Ludwig II was the patron of modern inventions. His palaces were the first to use modern conveniences.

More information about the castle and the other rooms can be found here and here.

Below you see some of the pics that I took from the castle and the area around it. On the second picture you see the Marienbrücke, The Mariabridge, from where I took picture 6 and 7. It's an excellent view point. Picture 9 was taken from the window from our Bed & Breakfast place where we stayed the night after we visited the two castles. On the left you can see the illuminated Neuschwanstein Castle and on the right the illuminated Hohenschwangau Castle.

The last 6 pictures were taken near the area of the castles. The last three pictures were taken from/at a mountain (which name I forgot) close to the castles. On picture 12 you can see both castles as seen from the cablecar to the top of the nearby mountain. This mountain is also a popular para/hangglidingspot.

On the last picture you see our friend Frank with a local well known paraglider and a complete madman when it comes to paragliding.
My wife N. reading about Ludwig II

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