Edmundo and I are attempting to re-live (or at least understand) those things that drove a misunderstood King to create and live the fantasies that endeared him to his subjects. On the other hand, he was “suspected” by the elite of the time and was driven into a tragic finale.
King Ludwig was extravagant and loved the finer things of life as much as his love of nature. There were religious and operatic overtones in everything he did. We can see his exquisite taste in the castles and palaces that he created, and by simply travelling around the beautiful settings in the mountains and lakes where he spent his short life of 40 years.
|The swan was an emblem of nobility in Ludwig”s time. Allegorically, Ludwig named his castle Neuschwanstein (which translates literally as “new stone swan”|
|Plansee, a peaceful part of nature along the “Romantic Route” that we travelled crossing back and forth between Germany and Austria and not far from Ludwig”s Linderhof Palace|
|A panoramic view of Linderhof Palace with Bavarian Alps in the background|
|Part of the formal gardens at Linderhof Palace|
|Fountain Sculpture in the Gazebo Garden|
|The fountain spouts every 30 minutes. We imagine Ludwig being asked by his architect about the height of the fountain and his saying, “make it taller than the house”.|
A little further into the mountains, we stop at the famous Passion Play town of Oberammergau. We”re not sure if it is a saintly town or if Jesus should come through and expel all the merchants selling all manner of souvenirs in the myriad of small souvenir shops that fill streets of decorated houses.
|Most of the buildings in town have painted exteriors. Many also feature window boxes of bright flowers|
|Colourful flower window boxes adorn so many of the homes in Oberammergau – there almost seems to be a competition|
Continuing on our “Romantic Route” deep in the green Bavarian countryside, we visit the little village of Wies with its mid-18th century Wieskirche. Thousands of people still come on pilgrimage to venerate the “Scourged Saviour”, an inage of Christ that is said to weep real tears. Others come to see its frescos, sculptures and gilt in what is said to be the most beautiful example of rococo-style religious art in the world.
|The vaulted ceiling in the nave is NOT a vault in the true sense. Rather, it is almost completely a flat ceiling that rises only at the side “about 2.5 metres” and then it is flat across the top. The frescoes give us an illusion of a highly vaulted ceiling.|
|Wieskirche in the village of Wies was built in mid-18th century to venerate a miraculous image of the “Scourged Saviour”. It is still a major pilgrimage site.|
And finally, we make it back to our Bavarian-style Hotel Rubezahl in Schwangau-Horn in time for the sun setting on Neuschwanstein and for the dinner that”s served from 5.30 to 8pm only!
|Ludwig”s Neuschwanstein Castle at the foot of the mountains across the green pastures from our hotel|
On another day, we visited Innsbruck, the once quaint city high in the Austrian Alps. The quaint trams that used to add character to Maria Theresa Strasse have gone and the whiole area is one “pedestrianised cafeteria”.
|Michael on the famous Maria Therea Strasse|
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