Tuesday, March 2, 2010

We are in GERMANY!

Seizing opportunities is what it's all about here . . . so we all piled into the car Sunday morning to join my husband on a week's business trip to Stuttgart.  Yesterday was a fine afternoon at Hohenzollern Castle in Baden-Wurttemberg.  It is a romantic castle construction along the lines of Neuschwanstein Castle.  Interestingly, both 19th century royals with romantic ideas never got to see their dreams realized.  Though, at least Prince Friedrich was able to see Hohenzollern castle almost completed.  Mad King Ludwig was another matter entirely. In fine German tradition, you must hoof it up the mountain; I'm guesstimating about 3/4 mile uphill to reach the castle.  It is completely worth it! (Of course, there are shuttles during the tourist season -- but then you don't get the private English tour with Dieter that we enjoyed!)
We were not allowed to take photos inside the castle, but I took many outside and also in the chapels.  Here's a selection, including kid shots:

Here is a view up at the castle from the road of hairpin turns we trekked. Clearly, no skimping was allowed on castle architectural features when this was built!

Indeed, no skimping was allowed with any feature -- including door hardware.  This was the handle to the Lutheran church.  I specify that because there was also a Catholic church across the courtyard.  I didn't receive a satisfactory answer on how that happened.

Saint George killing a dragon -- a favorite icon -- stands in a small, entryway chapel of the Catholic church.  But compared to the Lutheran church, the Catholic church was very plain.  Not what I expected. 
Check out the ceiling, for instance, in the Lutheran Church. I could have stretched out on the floor and spent the afternoon staring at it.  For a small family chapel, the stained glass windows could have stood their own against Paris' St. Chapelle.  It was an exquisite jewel-box of a place. 

Another question . . . why were the impressive knockers on the inside of the doors of the Lutheran church?

What "stands" for family photos for this crowd! Interestingly, the more recent the King/Kaiser, the older he looked.  The one at the far end is Friedrich the Great (ruled 1740-1786) . . . and he looks about 30 and very dashing.  Down at this end was a Kaiser Willhelm I  (ruled 1861-86), and he looks more timeworn than the robust dude in the middle. Who was he again?

And here's how we do family portraits. This was after a trip to the gift shop . . . a wooden sword for Quinn. (What was I thinking?) Lily chose her own protection -- a magic wand.  Emily selected two bottles of gold ink for an art project.  Moi? Postcards and a Christmas ornament -- my usual. 

Stopping at the stone sentinels to take in the impressive view before we started back down the hill.

If you feel a hankering for more things Hohenzollern, they have some great panoramas of the interiors, including the ancestral room with all four walls painted with the entire family tree from the 1100s until now. Now = a 33-year-old prince who threw a three-day hoedown at the castle for his 30th b'day party -- why do we miss all the fun?  There was a 24-hour disco in the des Grafensaales or the Grand Salon. Have a gander and imagine it with several spinning disco balls added.  Are you smiling, too?  I'm also very partial to the Queen's hangout: des Blauen Salons.  
More German destinations to follow.


Reva said...

wow - how fun. i love the shot with the three kids, including sword-wielding quinn. and emily looking so COOL! and your little impish fairy sprite. looks like you're off to a great start.
ciao bella,

Catherine said...

Your kids look like very distinct personalities! Emily is looking very cool indeed. I look at all these photos and think how lucky those kids are to have adventurous parents and the opportunity to see the world from a young age.