Sunday, June 1, 2014

Stopping to Smell the Roses at Ludwigsburg Palace

We were delighted to have Sarah and Winston, Kristin's friends from high school, visit us this weekend.  They were in the middle of a two week whirlwind tour of Europe, and were nice enough to stop by Stuttgart as part of their vacation.

Although a lot of the time was spend gabbing about high school and their classmates, we did take a break to explore Schloss Ludwigsburg (Ludwigsburg Palace), a baroque palace and garden about 20 minutes from our apartment.  It originally began as a hunting lodge, but was expanded into a palace once Duke Ludwig realized how much he enjoyed the area.  We didn't know what to expect, but were surprised how amazing the grounds and palace were.  Ludwig was definitely right.

Who needs Versailles?

We were excited about the palace, but even more thrilled when we approached the gates and found the most fantastic gardens ahead of us.  Sarah is a dedicated gardener and lover of all things baroque, so it was the perfect place to bring her!  The rose garden was one of the best we'd ever seen -- it was in full bloom and the roses were super fragrant.  And the weather couldn't be more gorgeous.  (Be prepared--lots of flower pictures to follow.)  

Full bloom.

Roses ... and bugs .... and bees.
 Sarah and Winston took lots of notes about roses that they'd like to add to the garden at their new home when they are done with their vacation.

So many roses they looked like bouquets.

Stopping to smell the roses.

Love the tie dye one.

We spent a ton of time just wandering around the rose garden.  But since you can only tour the palace on a guided tour--and the English tours are only twice a day--we unfortunately had to hurry through the rest of the grounds, which were no less amazing.  We can't wait to go back to see more and share these fabulous gardens with other visitors.  June is definitely a great time to visit.

The tree rose garden.  (Obviously Sarah told me that.)

Nice pig. Or dog? Or wolf?

There was even a special exhibition featuring bonzi, including this amazing 40 year old Azalea bonzi, which we happened to catch in bloom.

We approached a large netted area to find that it was an aviary with some amazing birds that were hanging out just a few feet away.  There were lots of storks, baby ducks and other things that only Matt could identify.  And flamingos!

Where do the flamingos go in the winter?  I'm concerned.
When you left the aviary, there was a tunnel that was probably used a storage a long time ago.  The gardeners had converted it into a cave with a stream and lots of orchids.  It was mysterious and beautiful.  

I can't grow flowers with the aid of sun ... they are growing flowers in a cave.  I need to work on my skills.
We walked through other parts of the gardens, which were lush and green.  Good thing is rains a lot in Germany!  It makes it a lot easier to have gardens that look this fabulous.

The inside of the palace was amazing as well, but unfortunately pictures aren't permitted.  So you'll just have to come visit to see it for yourself!  Or just imagine what it looks like.  We enjoyed seeing the theater, where Sarah had to be a good kid and not break into song to test the acoustics.  It was also interesting to be taken into the not-as-fabulous servants areas where you could see how the other half lived and worked.

Thanks to Winston and Sarah for visiting us!  We had a fantastic time.

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