[AUTHOR’S NOTE: Apologies to our readers who have been inquiring about our Germany trip. You may recall from our Who Where When post that we anticipated May would be a little busy. And it was. We’re breaking the trip into several posts – hope you enjoy!]
Spending time in nature is so restorative and what better way to start our first sleep-deprived day than to wander through the palace gardens of the Schwetzingen Castle. A couple of pictures and a couple of paragraphs will hardly do justice to this magnificent 180 acres of formal gardens. We were greeted by rabbits, geese, ducks, swans and a peacock. Even the birds sounded happy here!
Originally built in the 1300’s as a lowland fortress for defensive purposes, the fortress was converted into a fishing and hunting lodge in the 1500’s, and two hundred years later it was Prince Elector Carl Theodor, eminent patron of sciences and works of art, who had the castle extended into a summer residence.
The garden was enlarged and waterworks, fountains, the mosque, pavilions, and classical temples were built. The pleasure gardens and parterres, perfectly regular and symmetrical, followed clear mathematical principles. Creating a continuum with the palace architecture, the gardens were an outdoor extension of the living quarters, a fit setting for glittering courtly occasions and princely amusements. Events such as young Mozart’s concerts in 1763 or Voltaire’s visits only added to the palace’s ‘golden age’. For more about the summer residence of the 18th Century Palatine Electors click here.
We strolled around the gardens for a couple of hours and topped off the day with our first of many authentic German meals at Hotel Zagreb – tasty!