Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Hohenzollern Castle

Today we took a short trip from Tübingen to Hohenzollern Castle in Baden-Württemberg, the ancestral seat of the Prussian monarchy. It has about 300,000 visitors a year, about a fifth of what Neuschwanstein gets but still ranking as one of the most popular castles in Germany. The tourist income goes towards castle upkeep and restoration.

We arranged to get there early, so were the first tour. There was no good place to get a picture of the whole castle; here’s one from the bus as we left.

Given how high the castle is, once again I took a bus from the parking lot; most of our party walked.
Here are several pictures of the stonework.


To the left in the following is one of two chapels, looking to hold about a hundred people. There were individual chairs, rather than pews, and two much fancier ones front and centre just back from the pulpit.
I was surprised to hear the guide refer to “our prince” and to discover that part of the castle is still in use occasionally by the current Hohenzollern. There is a painted family tree just inside the main entrance to the tourist part, with the current prince listed just beside the last open spot for his heir.
The guide explained that the beds were small in part because the people were short, but in part because they slept sitting up for fear of suffocating. When she showed us the portraits on the wall, our guide pointed out that they all had their mouths closed because they had bad teeth; the upper classes could afford sweets, which rotted their teeth, while the peasants had healthy teeth. She also pointed out that they all wore wigs. At night they would set them out for birds to consume the parasites that infested the wigs.
One of the kings imported potatoes from Spain but met considerable resistance from the people. So he set guards over his potato fields to pretend he was protecting them from theft, which of coursed caused people to steal, plant, and eat them.
We ate lunch in the castle restaurant, having prearranged what meals each of us would order so they could be prepared in advance for our 28-member party. I had the “wedding sausage” with cold potato salad. Then we drove for three hours to Heidelberg, where we will visit the local castle tomorrow.