I absolutely love castles and all the fairy-tale romance they stand for. When booking the tour, one of the highlights for me was checking out Hohenzollern Castle on Christmas Day – Merry Christmas Sharen! Again, as life (yes, I’m absolutely referring to the demands of work yet again) was hectic, I didn’t actually Google Hohenzollern Castle prior to the trip to find out what I could before making my way out there. The location of this castle is absolutely stunning as its built on top of a mountain 855m high and provides spectacular views. As we drove up as close as the tour bus could get to the castle, my heart was all a flutter. It looked magnificent and I couldn’t wait to find out the story behind why it was perched on a mountain.
Since we decided (aka were told by our tour leader to not take the shuttle bus reserved for seniors) to walk up to the top, I started to feel my legs turn to jelly as we made it from one staircase to the next and I started to feel like I was back in Australia trying to conquer heart attack hill once again. It dawned on me that they perched this castle in this location to ensure that nobody would invade it. Sadly, once we reached the gates and entered, the winding uphill walk just continued on. I’m a trooper so slightly out of breath, I soldiered on and started thinking maybe the castle belonged to a recluse weirdo who thought of pouring his money into a stunning castle instead of a remote cabin hidden in the woods as that was the thing to do at the time. Ahh, that would have been a fabulous story if it wasn’t all just make-believe in my head.
Turns out that my instincts have led me astray on this trip once again as none of my conclusions were remotely close to the truth. As the tour commenced and I had my slippers and cape in place listening to a pony-tailed and rather odd man drown on and on about the family who owned the castle. I soon realized that this was the 3rd version of the castle and it was built as a family memorial and no one had actually ever lived in it. The closest it ever came to being occupied was the current owner threw his 30th birthday party in the castle which lasted for days. There were people in designer shoes, dancing all night, and all that jazz but it was the furthest thing from the Downton Abbey scandal that I was hoping for – boo! There were no stories of love and heartbreak as the castle was passed from one generation to the next. There was only rooms that were never lived in and staged for suckers like me to come and visit.
One of the things that I remember the pony-tailed man saying before I tuned him out completed was that you should buy a castle when you have money to burn. He then droned on and on about the maintenance costs and keeping the staff in place and such. Sadly, I feel the same why about visiting a castle without any great history behind it as well. You win some, you lose some and at the end of the day, I walked away with some great photos but not as excited and dying to know more as I usually am when I visit a castle.