Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nymphenburg Palace Munich, Germany

One of the highlights of the Go Ahead Tour of Munich was going to see Nymphenburg Palace. I was very interested in seeing this Palace due to the connection between it and Neuschwanstein Castle. The connection is King Ludwig I, the grandfather of the King who built Neuschwanstein. More on that later. But, apparently this Palace was more for the Queen than the King and it has a varied history for it's construction and design. It began that construction 200 years before Ludwig II as a summer residence for elector Max Emmanuel. 
The bus trips on these tours are always filled with wonderful sites as you travel from point A to point B. We made our way through downtown Munich to get to the Palace and I was happily surprised to find that the government buildings had such elaborate details on every rooftop.
Of course I was thrilled to find "my" lion as well. I have no clue what that is behind the lion that, for all the world resembles a snail, but I'd love it if someone out there knows!
Our first view of the Palace is from the small bridge that crosses the small man made waterway in front of it. I was fairly surprised that it was so plain in it's outside appearance.
Up close it resembles little more than an office complex from the front. I was soon to find that it was the inside and back that hid the beautiful details. These lamps are just a hint of what we would find inside.
This swan had us all laughing. He wasn't walking around the fountain so much as he was posing for photos. Seriously, he would walk around, stare at us, preen for a second and then stop really still for a few seconds before starting his walk again.
More "fat babies" and the Royal Crest. As you can see, the buildings behind hardly look like a Palace.
And then we entered the first hallway and each of us caught our breath in unison. It was audible. Unfortunately the hall was being restored so I couldn't get a grand photo of the whole room and had to be happy with the little bits I could capture and still miss all the plastic, such as the plastic wrapping this chandelier, or the scaffolding. But what we could see was magnificent. 
Each wall was of a similar design. We were told that the French designer they brought in was responsible for this room. It was sheer opulence.
The gold embellishments are real gold, there is pink marble framed panels and then, of course, the wonderful frescos. Lots of fat baby cherubs in these paintings!
But it was this little room off of the grand one pictured above that just fascinated me. With it's blue ceiling, black and white frescos and grey and white embellishments it just "felt" more beautiful to me. It is really hard to put the feeling into words. 
But what I remember the most about Nymphenburg is the chandeliers. Each and every room we entered had a different chandelier design and each was elaborate and ornate and stunning.
While we were there we had the pleasure of seeing a fine art restorer at work. It was rather amusing how quietly a group of 40 people can tiptoe past someone when they put their minds to it!
This is one of the really ornate bedrooms in the Palace. Each one had an amazing fresco hanging over the bed, hand carved  inlaid wood furniture and fine fabrics on the walls.
The chandelier styles just took my breath away.
This was my favorite. Someday I will pattern a wedding cake after this chandelier. I love not just the drop crystals but the little crystal "shades" on the upper parts as well as the gold filigree panels in the lower section. So beautiful.
Fitted for electric light I can still imagine how amazingly beautiful this chandelier must have been by candlelight.
King Ludwig I was known for his bevy of beauties. He was quite the ladies man, much to the chagrin of the Queen. As with most arranged Royal marriages, it wasn't really expected that the King be a faithful husband. King Ludwig didn't even try to hide his affections for other women. So much so that he had 35 of them painted for Nymphenburg, the primary residence for his Queen. 
It was after we were moving on in our tour that we were told about "Lola". As in "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets" fame? Lola Montez was a young beauty who captured Ludwig's heart, started a revolution that ended with Ludwig abdicating his throne in favor of being with his love. This led to his son, Maximillian II, becoming King for 16 years before his son, King Ludwig II  was to begin his reign. Her painting is the last one on the right of this photo.
 The back of the Palace is also embellished with gold. Unlike the front of the Palace, you get the feel of Royalty in the grand statues holding the family crest as well as the large golden lanterns on each landing.
The back gardens are made for strolling. With marble statues every few feet, the gardens invite you to stroll a bit, take in the artwork and then stroll a bit more. 

As you can see, the grounds were extensive. I really wish we could have stayed all afternoon to enjoy the promenade as well as all the outer buildings and pathways.

Wednesday we will head to Salzburg, one of my most favorite places from this tour.


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