Stewart Goes Walkies is pleased to present the third part in Allen Lai’s excellent Adventures in Europe.
One Day Four Countries
Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm and Linderhof Palace
The weather seems to be improving the temperature is still around 10 degrees in the morning. Today is all about the King of Bavaria, Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm (1845 – 1886).
From the hotel, a three hours drive took us to Linderhof Palace. Ludwig II became king of Bavaria at the age of 18. Two years later, Bavaria lost the war to Prussia and following that Ludwig increasingly withdrew from the day-to-day affairs of the state in favour of extravagant artistic and architectural projects. He commissioned the construction of lavish palaces: Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof Palace, and Herrenchiemsee. Behind the Baroque façade of Linderhof palace is a Rococo world with motifs from the age of Louis XV of France.
The rich and abundant ornamentation, with its many sculptural elements, is thus not merely an attempt at imitation, but far surpasses everything that inspired them, as well as showing workmanship of incomparable artistic quality. He spent most of his time in isolation, slept during the day, and played at night. His bedroom’s huge chandelier has 108 candles. I can’t help feeling sorry for the servant who had to climb up to light it and replace them. To avoid contact, even with his servants, he dined alone, and his dining table elevated from the kitchen below. His study was full of wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor mirrors. He did not have many self-portraits done, but he loved to check his mirrors.
Ludwig spent all his own private royal revenues on these projects, borrowed extensively, and defied all attempts by his ministers to restrain him. This extravagance was used against him to declare him insane, an accusation that has since come under scrutiny. Ludwig was taken into custody and effectively deposed on 12 June 1886, and he and his doctor were found dead the following day. He was 40 years old. Their deaths were ruled to be suicide but this too has been disputed. In comparison, it’s a tiny palace, but the inside is so packed. He was a hoarder. On the contrary, the surrounding gardens are beautiful, especially the water fountain.
An hour’s drive away is his Neuschwanstein Castle. Few places on Earth look more like storybook illustrations than Neuschwanstein Castle. With its towers, turrets, frescoes, and throne hall, Neuschwanstein looks like it was plucked straight from your favorite fairy tale. Ludwig II died before the castle was completed. Neuschwanstein is rumored to be the real-life inspiration for the castle in the Disney classic, “Cinderella,” released in 1950. The resemblance, after all, is striking.
The area is kind of quiet when compared with my last visit. Many shops were not open. And tourists were far fewer. This time I ventured beyond the Queen Mary’s Bridge (Marienbrucke) and climbed up the cliff to a nice view of the castle and no tourists.
Making friends in Kempton
At night, we drove to Kempton and stayed at the bigBOX Hotel, a very nice boutique hotel. Before dinner, I walked across the road to the Forum Allgau Shopping mall to get some necessary supplies. There, I had a chance to play street piano together with some locals and made friends with a nine-year-old. We had a great time.
The next day, we crossed the border to Austria, and visited one of the smallest countries in the world, Liechtenstein, before reaching Switzerland. Liechtenstein is a western European principality located between Switzerland and Austria. Despite it being one of the smallest countries in Europe; it’s also one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The United States is Liechtenstein’s second-largest bilateral trading partner after Germany. Vaduz is the capital, with a population of just 5000, with two main streets lined with luxury brand shops.
The police force consists of 50 officers. We stopped for lunch and some shopping. Vaduz castle is high up on the hill. Interestingly though, for reasons unknown, regular Rolex watches were sold out!
We look forward to more reports on his travels.
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