Somewhat Batty in Bavaria

Schloss Herren Chiemsee

Schloss Herren Chiemsee

When it comes to deranged despots, it’s hard to beat Germany’s history.  One of my personal faves is Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria (he of Castle Neuschwanstein fame).  He wasn’t actually much of a despot, but blowing a country’s entire treasury to build a collection of fantasy homes surely qualifies as some kind of derangement.  (Those of you who are pointing a finger at me right now should just stop it!)  So, when our friends, Kevin & Jill Cooper of Henley-on-Thames, suggested we see one of Ludwig’s less-visited, still unfinished palaces, we dialed up the GPS and headed to Chiemsee for the boat ride to Herreninsel – the island home of Ludwig’s last stand.


Sailing to Herreninsel

Now, everyone is allowed to have their crushes.  Some of us adore Julia Child (hi Raisin & Fig!), others (well, me) can’t get enough Barbra.  Ludwig was all about King Louis XIV of France.  If Louis hadn’t been long dead, Ludwig would surely have tossed his crown in the ring to be Louis’ queen; instead he had to content himself by recreating Versailles, down to every last detail and his last penny, on his Bavarian fantasy island.

Crazy complicated fountain - enough to make one mad!

Crazy complicated fountain – enough to make one mad!

If the twenty finished rooms (out of 70 planned) are any indication, his obsession was spectacular.  This place was his ‘gilty’ (sic) pleasure.  Since photos are banned (because we’re going to try to recreate this monstrosity ourselves?), you’re going to have to trust me on this.

I think we can agree that just because someone copies another’s coveted possession, they aren’t necessarily mad, right?  But, Ludwig had another preoccupation:  he hated to be seen eating.  So, his palace, unlike Versailles, had a nifty invention:  an elevator table.   His dining table would be lowered to the kitchen (through a big hole in the floor of his dining room) where his staff would lavishly dress it, fill it with food and send it back up to the waiting king.  Does this seem like the stuff of crazy?  (Maybe he was just a messy eater?)


All this talk of food made us hungry, so we retired to the palace cafe for a bite of lunch.  The food wasn’t historically accurate, but the menu listed a kartoffel (potato) soup with sausage and it sounded delicious on a chilly afternoon.  When the waiter delivered it, King Ludwig’s aversion to eating in front of others became understandable.  I couldn’t eat for laughing….


7 Responses to Somewhat Batty in Bavaria

  1. Morgan Wood May 1, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    Laughing out loud as usual! Thanks for taking us along on this adventure (and for the R&F shoutout!).

    • Elaine Haydock May 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

      It’s just a quick ‘back atcha’ for always making me laugh out loud!

  2. Yvonne Flowers May 1, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    That is just hilarious!! Same thing happened to John Kirkland in Germany and he had not one but two white floaters in his enormous bowl of clear soup! I also couldn’t eat for laughing! Yours at least has some colour, OMG!! I am laughing again as I write this, always brings a smile to my face hehehe!!!

  3. Terri May 1, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    Laughing, not just a giggle!

  4. Chris Cunnington May 1, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    That’s priceless! Hahahaha!

  5. john17588 May 2, 2015 at 3:38 am #

    Is that a sausage in ludwigs soup or is he just happy to be earring alone?

  6. Hallee Patterson May 3, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

    You are adorable. Thank you for including Russ and I on your travels. I am already looking for the next installment.

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