Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ludwigsburg Castle, Part 3: Rapunzel's Tower

Another notable part of the Ludwigsburg castle grounds is this tower.

Jörg explained that this is Rapunzel's tower. Every summer during the many festivals on the castle grounds, crowds of children stand at the base of the tower and shout for Rapunzel to let down her hair.
You can also go inside in the summer, up the 150 step spiral staicase to the top of the tower. The view is most likely excellent.

Both the castle and the tower are original. Neither was seriously damaged in WWII, unlike many of the cool historical buildings in Germany. The main castle was started in 1704, and was modified multiple time up to around the 1780s, and the tower was built around 1798.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ludwigsburg Castle, Part 2: the rooms

This post will be a little picture heavy, but that's what castles do to me. I wish I had found out the age of some of the art pieces, but the castle in general looks as it did in the early 1800s.

The king's bedroom. Most of the castle is a mirror along the N/S axis, so the duchess/queen has identical rooms where applicable. The chair to the right of the bed is the main reason I wouldn't want to live in this time period - no plumbing.
Speaking of mirrors - The mirror room in the castle has around 250 mirrors. They are some of the few things that are not completely accurate reproductions of the period. It would have been way too expensive to us 17th century mirrors in this room. Other rooms in the castle have original mirrors, though.

The dining room was surprisingly small to me. This room and a neighboring room had pull-cords to ring the same bell. I really liked the blue curtains on the china cabinet.

The castle contains two churches, and the one on the king's side had his personal viewing room. He would listen with the windows open, and if the bishop said anything the king disagreed with, the king would close the windows rather loudly. This would also cause the rest of the congregation to leave immediately.
Reportedly, one bishop was banished to an island somewhere for the rest of his life, which turned out to be rather long.

This seemed to be the main court area. Unfortunately most of the pictures of it failed to come out at all, so this is all I have.
Ludwigsburg castle also has a small theater, which is still used to this day. It's the oldest preserved theater in Europe, and all of the original equipment (from 1758) still works. We're down on the main floor of the theater, looking at the stage, with 5 rows of 'columns' visible.
When I was closer to the front, I could see that the columns were actually flat, and had the various curtains and backdrops hanging between them. From the main area, the perspective was very well done. Above are 3 levels of balcony seats.
except of course in the middle, which was the king's seat.
A cool thing I didn't get a picture of was the central chandelier in the theater. It appeared to be able to be completely removed through a large hole in the ceiling during performances (So as not to block the balcony view)

Another typical feature are murals on the ceilings. The last one of these is particularly interesting.

This room was under renovation during my visit, so I couldn't go to the middle of the floor where this perspective trick is most powerful.
Everything that couldn't be removed from the room was covered, but I think I saw a set of red steps up to a short platform that would indicate this as another court area. This was very different than the usual ceiling murals you'd see in the other rooms.

Next post: a tower from fairy tales.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ludwigsburg Castle, Part 1

Saturday I went with Jörg to Ludwigsburg Castle. He's a Ludwigsburg native, and he enjoyed showing me around the cute city. I didn't take many photos of the city, but the castle grounds were pretty interesting.
The lower section of the map is the fantasy gardens. Across the street is also Castle Favorite, which is where Herzog (Duke) Ludwig's girlfriend lived.
Here I'm about halfway between the two castles.

The local children were swarming the hillside a few weeks ago in the snow. There was a clear path from the castle wall to the bottom a a neighboring valley between the hills, with about three flat stretches in between. It looked like a 50-75 foot elevation change at something like a 30 degree angle, though that's just the average. The two steps up to the castle were more like 45 degrees. This view from inside shows the hill all the way down on the right.

Herzog Ludwig was a BIG GUY. In his middle years, he was 7'6" and 450lbs. He eventually couldn't sleep lying down, so had to sleep in chairs.

Other notables who owned and expanded on the castle were Herzog Wilhelm, and King Fredrich.

I didn't catch it in the tour, but perhaps these are urns in the hallway?

The castle has a bunch of original artwork and sculpture (of course), and some very interesting rooms, which will all be in the next post.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

World's lonliest bench

I've always felt that this bench is a little sad. It's behind a locked gate in the property next to the local train stop. It looked even more miserable in the snow.

It doesn't even have any cat tracks around it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Snowy weekend

We got quite a bit of snow (for this area), and I had a nice picture taking weekend. From Goelshausen to Kuepferhaelde, there's a little walking path along the forest behind the houses. This particular tree was fairly striking, I think.

The soccer field was completely deserted for a change. I felt weird taking pictures of all the sledding kids, so I didn't.
I really enjoyed some of the patterns on this retaining wall.
The shape of the snow made me think of bite marks, or inverted Santa beards.

A local kitty was here recently.
It's hard to capture the snow on the trees. Most of the shots just looked messy.
I only had the smaller lens with me. I think plant could have made some interesting macro shots.
It also reminds me of an xkcd stick figure, with his arms up like that.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vacation in Baden-Wuerttenberg

Happy new year!

Since Erica's moved back to the states, I get to take over the blog for a few weeks until my trip is finished too. I was lucky and got to arrange a trip to stay with her for Christmas and New Year's, so I'm just getting to things now.

I got back to Germany on January 6, which happens to be a state holiday in BW.

The streets were basically empty. I couldn't go grocery shopping, so I decided to walk around town instead. Not too many interesting shots, though. Here's the Hundler Restaurant, with just a dusting of snow.

And here's the main Marktplatz, which is deserted compared to the farmer's market on an average Wednesday.

More snow pictures to come in the next post. This dusting is just the tip of the iceberg, as it were.