Saturday, July 12, 2008

South Germany: Fussen

Before the JeTZ embarked on their two year world adventure, TZ had a couple of requests.

Request one: Jeremy must promise to ensure she was always warm.
Request two: Jeremy must promise to take her to as many castles as possible.

Well TZ doesn't always get her own way...Patagonia and Switzerland weren't exactly hot spots. In this case however, instead of enjoying the beer halls of Munich as most people do when they find themselves in Bavaria, the JeTZ went to Fussen to see a castle. But not any old castle. Rather a palatial wonderland so fairytale in character that Walt Disney bore its love child - The Sleeping Beauty castle. And that, dear readers, was the primary reason for our visit. However, there is a lot more to this Romanesque fortress than meets the eye....

 Schloss Neuschwanstein, Fussen                             The Sleeping Beauty Castle, Disneyland

Schloss Neuschwanstein (New Swan Stone), was commissioned by a visionary, an eccentric, a music lover...a madman (or so they say). Ludwig II had this castle built not only as his personal retreat but also, would you believe, as a tribute to his favourite composer, Richard Wagner. So instead of employing an architect to help realise his dream, he hired a theatrical set designer! Unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos inside the most photographed castle in the world so you'll have to imagine what it was like.

Picture elaborately decorated rooms with legendary figures and stories, a hall used by performers and musicians AND of course for Wagner himself to compose his music. Imagine Ludwig's four-poster bed with a canopy carved from wood depicting every cathedral built in Bavaria. His room alone took 10 years to complete. He had one room that was made to look like a cavern and a very sophisticated kitchen with heated cupboards. Impressive considering the times! Although declared (without examination) insane, he really should be remembered for introducing electricity to the plebs. However, perhaps it's more fun to be remembered as the flamboyant crazy man whose impressive castle was still not finished 20 years later and having spent all that time (and money from his own pocket!) on it, only living in it for a few days.

But all that is yesterday's news...moving forward 1 and half centuries, our own Jewish princess had some unreasonable demands of her own...

After being denied the castle of her dreams, Jeremy promised he would at least take photos of her with it.
TZ agreed to this on the condition that her hair was perfect for the photo shoot....

You may be wondering what this yellowish building is behind TZ, it's actually another castle called Hohenschwanstein. Ludwig II grew up in this neo-Gothic style castle and garnered inspiration for his dream home here.

Nice for some! We had to settle for having breakfast outside it.

And for those that are not interested in castles, you might like to know
that Steve McQueen filmed many of his motorcycle stunts around the town of Fussen for The Great Escape...

Coming up, the JeTZ head further east to visit Hitler's 50th birthday present and make some ironic discoveries about the dictator's phobias...

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