Local Heart, Global Soul

January 23, 2015

Two Buildings Determine How A Town Makes It’s Living…

Filed under: GERMANY,Neuschwanstein Castle,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

At the base of the hill upon which Slot Neuschwanstein (Neuschwanstein castle) stands, is the small town of Hohenschwangau.

Clearly the town earns almost all of it’s living catering to the hordes of tourists who come to visit Slot Hohenschwangau (Hohenschwangau castle) and Slot Neuschwanstein because there are cafes, restaurants and accommodations of all varieties galore.

The large parking area for commercial tour buses, rows of shuttle buses, kitsch horse and carriage rides up the hill and the multitude of walking and hiking trails cater to tourists from one extreme of the spectrum to the other.

This out of the way town of Hohenschwangau has two stunningly picturesque castles in town and of course they would be remiss to not make the very most of them.

On our long walk down the hill we passed a building that had gigantic sized postcard pictures of Neuschwanstein castle on one wall, had we been there earlier in the day there probably would have been row upon row of post card stands, so that visitors could get a memento of their trip or post off one to someone far away.

First I was taken aback by the size of the images on the wall and then what struck me was the fact that some depicted the castle in winter, snow covered trees and landscape, so the tourist industry here must be year round and not just for the summer months as I first assumed.

Both castles are visible from various points in the village and are an imposing sight. I suppose people have to make their living somehow… and living in the shadow of these majestic buildings, well I suppose you could do worse.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 22, 2015

Looking Is Less Painful If You Wait A While… Like Over A Year…

Filed under: GERMANY,Neuschwanstein Castle,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In yesterday’s archive post I described the longest and most difficult walk I’ve undertaken  in the last four years and mentioned that multiple rest stops were necessary during the journey.

Today’s post depicts some of the amazing detail of the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany that I photographed during these many rest stops.

It’s a great pity that due to the painful circumstances I didn’t at all enjoy looking at the view as well as I might have at the time, but now, with more than a year’s hindsight I can at least open these from my archives and fully enjoy them now.

As usual the detail is the star of the show, there are so many literary and story book “images” that can be called to mind when you look at Neuschwanstein Castle, for instance:  the  “Juliet” style balconies where you wouldn’t be totally surprised to find a Romeo waling around a corner somewhere, or the long round towers that call to mind the story book character of Rapunzel and her seriously long braids.

The decorated towers and turrets are full of detail, and all over the castle are tiny additional snippets like gargoyles and stone statues. As the saying goes: “A picture speaks a thousand words” and for that reason maybe I should just let the photographs speak for themselves…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Note the statue on the gable end of the roof…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A “Juliet” style balcony …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Statue and turrets…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Is that a (brown) door I see at lower right ?  It’s two or three stories high up so if it is that might be interesting mistake if you stepped out in a hurry…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A Rapunzel style tower…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Spot the gargoyles…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 21, 2015

Seriously: Taking A Walk Can Take A Hike…

Filed under: GERMANY,Neuschwanstein Castle,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 2:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As I mentioned a few posts previously, we arrived at Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany late in the afternoon.

We paid for a ride up the hill on one of the  shuttle buses and made sure to ask when the last bus back would be leaving from the top of the hill, so that we could be certain of getting a ride back down again.

The answer we were given was “16:45”  and there was an information sign at the top that also confirmed that the last bus down would be leaving at 16: 45.

With this in mind we know that we would never manage a tour inside the castle, but at least would have time to look at it from the bridge, and then again from below in the town itself.

We agreed that the castle was stunning and that if we were passing this way again we would make time for an inside tour. That would hopefully mean I would also be recovered from my foot injury and things like stairs would be more physically manageable as well, so a future tour would be more enjoyable.

We double checked that our watches tallied with that of the driver who took us up the hill and didn’t think anything further about it until we arrived back at the bus collection site at the top of the hill just in time to see the back end of a bus disappearing out of sight around the corner some twenty or thirty meters away.

We didn’t panic, after all we had been sensible and arrived back here at 16:35 so settled down to wait for the last bus to arrive. Ten minutes came and went, then another ten, and another five and suddenly it dawned on us that the bus we had seen was the last bus and that apparently no other buses would be coming up before morning.

We knew that there were also horse and carriage rides to the castle entrance,  but that was some distance away and the tourist day was drawing to a lose so Himself left me and the kids and sprinted down the hill to see if he could hail one and ask them if there was any chance they could help a lady on crutches get down the hill again.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I found a convenient rock to sit on and watched the other tourists who had also missed the 16:45 bus  wait looking at their watches every minute or so and then slowly give up and start walking down the path.

By the time Himself returned we were alone at the top of the hill, and his news wasn’t good: the horse and carriage station packs up earlier than the bus shuttle service does and was deserted already.

My heart sank. On the minus side I haven’t walked so far in all the time since my accident. On the plus side, it was all down hill.

Since the choice was to either walk or spend an unequipped night in the forest on top of the hill, I opted for walking. The fact that the afternoon sun was rapidly falling below the mountain behind us and the shadows were getting longer also made the decision easier.

The drill was that I would take some pain relief, walk as far as I could manage, then take a break. Taking photographs were a useful diversion during these enforced pauses and then I would steel myself for the next walking stint. Slowly but surely we descended,  more stop than start, but getting there piece by piece.

Eventually the base of the castle came into view. Time for a longer stop which was most welcome. We passed by a small handful of other people walking down, and noticed that they all did a sneaky double take at me,  none of them spoke to us but I assumed that they just thought that the lady on crutches was a fitness freak (how wrong they were).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I think that a normal able bodied person could do the walk down the hill at a slow pace in half an hour.

It took me almost two hours and by the time we got to the bottom I had the beginnings of large angry blisters on both palms of my hands. My hands were red and sore everywhere, so when a low wall came into view at the bottom I parked myself onto it and said “no further”.

Himself  jogged to the pay car park about a kilometre or so away and retrieved the car. I can say that I have no clue how I managed the walk, and I’m certain that I’m in no hurry to repeat the experience. Still, I suppose it was better than a long dark, cool, night in a forest wearing only the clothes we stood up in.

Later (the next day kind of later) it occurred to us that Himself could have run down and raised the alarm at the local police station and they could have organised to help me down, but with two kids scared of the onset of darkness and us being totally alone up there, and me with a delusional idea of how short the walk probably was, we simply never thought of that option earlier. I might say that I can laugh about it in hindsight but truth is I can’t. It was not an experience I want to repeat.

One hindsight positive is that the photographs turned out ok despite the weakening light. We got good views of the second castle in the area:  Slot (a.k.a. Schloss) Hohenschwangau (circled in one of the photographs) that dates form 19th century. The castle was the summer home of Maximilian, King of Prussia.

The castle avoided damage during either world War I or II, probably due to its remote location.   It is presently maintained by the grandson of Maximilian, Franz, the Duke of Bavaria and receives more than 300,000 visitors per year.

Let’s take a walk…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

January 20, 2015

Neuschwanstein Castle: Fell Out Of The Pages Of A Children’s Storybook Illustration?

Filed under: CASTLES,GERMANY,Neuschwanstein Castle,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s archive post we have been standing on the Marienbrücke admiring the stunning views up a steep gorge, how the river first tumbles over the edge of rocks into a deep pool and then tumbles again out the other end of the pool, into another pool that empties into a river again and where the water takes the more usual journey  that rivers take down mountains.

Turing around to face the way we have come however produces a completely different view because perched on the very top of a rocky outcrop is a massive castle, looking every inch like it just fell out of the pages of a children’s storybook illustration.

It’s stunning, in fact the only word I hear escaping people’s lips (and my own) at first is “Wow!”.

Wow doesn’t even begin to cover it though, thoughts race though your mind, not least of all “How on earth did they manage to build this, here???

There is an information board close by that starts to give some of the castle’s history:

“Neuschwanstein”: In 1363 a round tower, belonging to the Lords of Schwanau, is mentioned. More than a hundred years later this tower became the Castle of Schwanstein which again changed it’s name in 1891 when it became the “Castle of Hohenschwangau”. 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

To increase the confusion the ancient Castle of Hohenschwangau then received it’s present name of  “Neuschwanstein”!

In 1868 King Ludwig II of Bavaria wrote to Richard Wagner that he intended to erect a genuine castle of the German Middle Ages.

This in fact is a remarkable statement as far as it reveals how far the 19 century had moved away from the authentic Middle ages, and how profoundly it misunderstood the medieval castle.

For we must know that Ludwig,  in order to realise his powerful vision of the castle of the grail, completely demolished one of the most important castles of Bavaria. Quite obviously the bulky ruin of the old castle of Schwangau didn’t meet his idea of a “genuine” medieval castle…

The old castle of Shwangau occupied adjacent rock with an outer castle sitting on the western rock and the main castle on the smaller eastern rock.

The later consisted of a might square  tower house which might well date back to the  early 12th century when the high nobility did erect much impressive tower houses elsewhere in Centural Europe.

The castle is mentioned indirectly for the first time in   1146/47 with a certain “Hiltipolt de Swanegowe”. His family served the actual Lords of the castle, the mighty house of the Welfs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 19, 2015

Marienbrücke, The Views In Front Are Amazing: Then You Turn Around…

Filed under: GERMANY,Neuschwanstein Castle,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We’ve entered a small  town at the base of a hill, left the car in a parking lot and walked a short distance to where rows of busses advertise a shuttle service for a small fee.

We know we have arrived later in the afternoon and will have limited time here but have worked out that everything is “do-able” if we keep a firm eye on the clock.

Once we reach the top and disembark we are faced with two paths leading in two different directions: one slightly up hill and one down hill.

Checking out the information board I see that the uphill walk is actually quite short so I opt to get the hard work out of the way as soon as possible and start up the marked path. It’s short but hard work (I am sooo resting up after this) but we are rewarded for our efforts with views beyond our wildest dreams in all directions.

We have reached the Marienbrücke, a bridge that stands seriously high above a river that winds down the valley and then drops via a steep waterfall into a deep pool below, before the water spills via another waterfall back into a river that makes it’s way down to the valley floor.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

A local information board tells me:

“As a child Crown Prince Ludwig had already grown to love the beautiful scenery of the Scwangau area, including the dramatic waterfall in the Pöllatschlucht above Neuschwanstein.

This gorge with it’s steep rocky walls has already been “discovered” by Maximilian II’s generation as a beauty spot.

The wooden railings of the bridge that spans it, the Marienbrücke, where replaced by Ludwig II during the building of Neuschwanstein by the present elegant, cantilever construction made of iron.

“The  view from up above the view from the Marienbrücke of the castle, which will far outshine the Wartburg for all is acknowledges merits of lócation, architectural splendour and magnificent paintings,” wrote King Lugwig II in a letter in 1881.”

With the zoom lens of my camera I spy some hardy  souls taking a rest on one of the walking paths that leads up from the very bottom of the hill, it’s steep and winding and I’m delighted to have done 98% of the journey in the bus.

The best part of the bridge however is that when you step on to it, you are immediately captivated by the deep gorge, the waterfalls and the sheer drop, but the real surprise comes when you are on the bridge and turn back the way you came. It’s at this moment that you let out an involuntary gasp because the sight that greets you is a wonder to behold…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Looking downstream…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

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