Wednesday, July 7, 2010

GERMANY TRIP BLOG - DAY 10 – 6-1-10 – Castle Hellbrunn – Trick Fountains – Herrenchimemsee Castle - Munich

Got up at 7:30. Wanted so badly to keep sleeping, but it's not an option unless I want to screw everything up for everyone else. After an an amazing breakfast, we loaded up the car. Still raining and cold. Even the natives are complaining.

CASTLE HELLBRUNN (in Austria, near Salzburg)
Built by the Prince-Archbishop Markus Sittikus in 1612-1619. We took pictures of the Sound of Music gazebo where "16 Going On 17" was performed and filmed for the movie. The gazebo was built for the film, and left up for tourists. On a building outside, there's a sundial high on the wall. Never seen a vertical sundial before.
Inside the palace there's a lot of paintings of things that came from far away and/or looked weird (which the Archbishop used to show the extent of his money and power). Even more impressive to visitors than his large painting of a parrot, was the live bird he kept in the palace.

There's a painting of a horse with 8 hoofs. Each leg ends with a normal hoof, plus one behind it that is smaller. The painting looks like a portrait, so I suspect the horse was real.
Inside the house is an animated fountain shaped like a metal head. It's mechanized so as a section fills with water, the weight forces the trough to drop and swing forward, which makes the tongue stick out and eyes roll up. It's in a glass case so you can see the mechanism that runs it behind it.
THE FISH ROOM – Filled with various paintings of fish. There's a mural of a life-size fish that's over 6 feet long hanging on the wall. The archbishop, as ruler, had the biggest fish. The longer the fish you owned the more power you had. The room includes a table with a white painting using the "cagliola technique" on top. The picture is of Diana goddess o the Hunt with Hound.
BANQUETING HALL – all the walls and ceiling were painted (by Arsenio Mascagn who lived from 1570-1637) so the room looks much larger than it is. The room was amazing.

FESTIVAL HALL – next to it and also painted on all sides.

ROYAL GARDEN OF HELLBRUNN (with trick fountains)
The Archbishop wanted something that wasn't morose and formal, like everyone else, so he created an amusement park of water fountains in his back yard. Husbands loved to see their wives get soaked.
ROMAN THEATRE – Took a few photos from inside the palace, but most were outside.
THE ROYAL TABLE has slits on the seats. The Archbishop sat at the head of the table. Once everyone else was seated, he would nod to a servant, who slyly opened a hidden in the wall and turned levers. Water erupted from the ground as well as the slits in the middle of the seats. Only the Archbishop’s seat remained dry.

To the left of the Roman Theatre is a stone building…..
GROTTO OF ORPHEUS – Looks like a cave inside and represents the Entrance to the Underworld from which Orpheus used music to free his wife Eurydice. In the foreground, an Ibex spews water. (The Archbishop was fond of Ibex’s and scattered his collection throughout his property - statues, paintings, and even a few live ones.)

GROUP OF FOOLS – Outside 3 foolish statues are shot at by a ballista marksman statue. (A ballista is a weapon that uses small stones to shoot birds.) The original statue was shattered by 1792. The replica was carved in 1950.

STAG HEAD – One of the two bronze stag heads shoots streams of water out of it (and onto victims admiring it). The heads are on doorway walls of….
THE GROTTOS ENTRANCE – Beside each stag heads there’s a 10 foot tall pillar, with feet at the bottom. One side is topped by a male head, the other with a female head. The Grotto Doorway faces the…

ATTEMPTS FOUNTAIN (also called ZODIAC FOUNTAIN) – Shows Peruses and the personifications of the Four Seasons. Behind the 4 seasons there used to be orange trees, which were grown as decoration, because the orange fruit looked so pretty.
One of the fountains in it had a green ball that bobbles on the water that is shooting up.
Across from the Attempts Fountain, walking through the Grottos Entrance is the….

NEPTUNE GROTTO – Super fancy design. The lower part of the fountain is another mechanical face – using water to move the tongue and eyes. It contains 2 trick waterfalls. Water squirts out the lower walls and up through holes below the entryway to the next room…..

MIRROR GROTTO – Fancy decorations cover the walls and ceiling, along with a lot of small round mirrors all over the walls. Two entrances lead into the…
BIRDSOUND GROTTO – It sounds like real birds are singing, but the sound is purely mechanical - created by water. 4 figures "float" on a ring in the water and go around and around. They set up a video showing how all the mechanical devices work.

THE ROYAL WAY contains:
5 SMALL GROTTOS – with moving figures 4-6 inches high.
VENUS GROTTO – Matt pointed out the two turtles that shoot water into each other's mouths. A statue of Venus stands in a grotto. Water falls at her feet, and over (but not on) a flower. MECHANICAL THEATRE – Newer than most of the other fountains, it was created in 1748-1752. Nearly 200 figures move to organ music – and everything is mechanized by rater.
CROWN GROTTO – Originally called "Grotto of the Idol" and used to be one room. The hillside moved, so now it's got a wall in it, with a window in the middle.

Water symbolizes power. Power changes everything. Just inside the grotto room there’s a large boulder with animals carved all over it. On top sits a pointed hat (the "crown"). A mechanism allows water to squirt under the hat so it shoots up in the air. The further the lever is turned, the higher the crown is pushed up. It'll go all the way to the ceiling, which is circle of glass that lifts a little when the hat strikes it. Other handles will turn on water so it forms an arch over the path leading just outside the door.
GROTTO OF MERCURY – A small statue of a stag surrounded by 4-6 inch high dogs – all of which squirt water a surprising distance.

We toured with a group of young teens who loved getting wet. The guide kept us dry by quietly warning us where to stand. I chatted with him at the end of the tour. Gave him candy and my card. He was a tour guide here over the summer, but came back because he hadn’t had his fill of the atmosphere. It’s a unique amusement park.
I took lots of photos of the vast grounds and pools and statues that make up the immediate "back yard" of the castle.
After lunch, we drove a little ways, which put us back in Germany.

We took a passenger ferry over the lake to the island where the castle sits. The castle is in the middle of the island. Took us a while to figure out where to go. Long walk – 20 minutes, in the rain and wind. Must have been 40 degrees F. I used the umbrella we bought in Italy. Everyone else had hoods or hats.
Took lots of pictures of the fountains, and then more once the water turned on.- CLICK! We wandered the gift shop while we waited for our tour of the castle.
Luwig II started building it in 1878 to be a replica of Versailles. Work stopped when he died in 1886. 70 rooms. 20 are finished. No pictures of Ludwig. Many are of Louis XIV & XIV (his idols). 50 chandeliers in the palace.
No photos inside, so Mom and I each bought different books after the tour. SO FRUSTRATING.

Notes I Took During the Tour
Louis XIV loved peacocks, so there are a lot of them throughout the building.
ENTRANCE – Floor, stairs, and fancy statue on the landing are made from real marble. Fake marble, created from paint and plaster, then sanded until smooth, covers the walls (and is currently worth more than real marble).
ROYAL BODYGUEARD ROOM – dedicated to war, so all the paintings are of battles.
FIRST ANTICHAMBER – The state cabinet inside opens.
SECOND ATNICHAMBER – Contains the 2 largest mirrors in the palace at either end, so they endlessly reflect the chandeliers in the room.
GREAT HALL OF MIRRORS – 17 door panels, 33 crystal chandeliers, 44 gilded candelabras, 25 paintings of Louis XIV on the ceiling.

GOLDEN STATE BEDROOM – Every inch is gilded. Purple drapes around the bed weigh 300 pounds – the most expensive thing in the room. Ludwig fashioned his bed after Louis XIV’s, who had an impressive bed primarily because he held his first and last audience in his bedroom. Ludwig’s bed hasn't ever been slept in.
The highest windows are covered in red material, so when the sun shines through them just right, it bathes the room in red. (No photos of this exist. Such a shame.) The wooden floor is super fancy.

COUNSEL CHAMBER – Contains Ludwig's Clock – mechanized so that every hour, King Louis appeared and got crowned. Tour guide said the clock has never been wound.
HALL OF MIRRORS – 90 meters long. HALL OF WAR is on one side; HALL OF PEACE is on the other side.

All dedicated to King Louis XV. King Ludwig only spent 10 days in them.
KING'S PRIVATE BEDROOM – HUGE blue glass globe - 8-10 inches in diameter. Hollow inside and contains 3 candles. When lit, they'd bathe the room in blue light. No photo exists of this. Contains the door to the only bathroom in the castle, which only the king could use. On the other end of the room is a door leading to a spiral staircase that goes into the King's dressing room.

PRIVATE OFFICE – The desk is a copy of the one owned by Louis XV. Contains 16 different types of wood (for different colors that make up the pictures in the front of it). There's an astronomical clock. The heaviest chandelier in the palace weighs 500 kg. and is held by an angel hanging from the ceiling.
DINING ROOM – "Set Yourself" table (based on a fairy tale) that went into the floor where the servants set the meals. Contains the largest Meissen porcelain chandelier in the world (Ludwig had the drawings for the design destroyed after it was made, so he'd have the only one in the world). Vase on table and the flowers in it are also made of porcelain, even though they look 100% real. You can't tell the difference.
PORCELAIN CABINET ROOM – Everything in it is made out of porcelain.
UNIFINISHED STAIRCASE – Exact duplicate of front hall staircase and was to be the king's private entrance. The glass and steel roof is the original – very modern for it's time.
MECHANISM FOR THE MAGIC TABLE – took 20 minutes and 2 men to raise and lower it. The kitchen was supposed to be next door, but wasn't ever built, so the king had his meals prepared in another building, far from the castle, and trotted over to his staff so he could be fed.
KING'S BATHROOM – The bathtub held 1600 liters of water. Took 4 hours to fill and 4 hours to heat.

KING'S DRESSING ROOM – We could see the spiral staircase through a door that led up to his bedroom. Loads of mirrors. Easy to see himself from every angle.

No photos. Saw a photo, painting, and death mask of King Ludwig II. Lots of furniture from his private rooms. Matt showed me a painting of the golden cutlery bowl. Can see inside it, and how the knife and fork would be laid inside. By Franz Brochier – Munchen 1884.

We took more pictures outside and I got a few from the boat. Spent most of the boat ride sitting (Matt walked around since there weren't enough seats and he didn't want to use the empty chair where 2 elderly women sat.) He did point out when the castle would be visible from the boat so I could get in a picture.
We were all starving when we got to the car. Munched on snacks (thank you Marlies!) as we drove. I looked through Mom's book on the Hellbrunn Fountains – so I could figure out which grottos or fountains I'd taken pictures of. The photos in the book mostly matched the order of my pictures, but sometimes I had to really look around. Didn't quite finish by the time we got to our hotel.

Finally, a hotel where we'll stay more than one night! Tiny elevator, and we're on the fourth floor, so it took several trips to get our stuff up. I swapped candy with the lady at the front desk.
Matt and I got settled. I finished adding notes. Hungry, we ate at a nearby restaurant.
Matt's co-worker lived in Munich for a short time, and suggested something we had to try eating. It's a soft cheese, made up of a variety of cheeses – totally delicious (and not on the menu).
Took a picture of Mom next to a 3 foot high, wooden, fancy carved beer stein.
At the table next to us, there was a sign that said, “Stammtisch fur Fischer Jaga und sonstige Lugner.” I later asked Marlies what it meant. She said it was a joke. “Stammtisch” is a “members only club” but “fur Fischer Jaga” means anyone is welcome to come. “Und sonstige Lugner” means something like tall tales. Like when guys talk about the fish they caught that was SO BIG (and complete baloney). Interesting. I saw what looked like a 14 year old boy, drinking beer, telling a story to an older man, so this makes sense.
Back in our rooms, I finished putting a few things away. Got ready for bed first this time. Also stretched. Watched some news and a movie, dubbed in German, about giant, colorful spiders that were attacking and eating people. Matt, Mom, and Dad tasted another of the monk samples. (It was minty smelling, so I declined.)
Finally got to work on my Diary and typing in notes from our tours.
It's already past 11:00, so time to get to sleep. Wish the hotel didn't smell smoky.

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