I spent my second and final day (see I told you it was a quick jaunt) at Burg Hohenzollern just a few miles south of Stuttgart. It was a magnificent castle situated on the top of a mountain, overlooking the village in the valley below. It was extremely foggy, but that did not take away from the experience. I would even argue that it brought a new ambiance to this spooky castle looming over the villages of Hechingen and nearby Bisingen.
The castle was first referred to in 1267, but like many castles in Germany, it was eventually destroyed and a second castle was put in its place. Construction of the second castle began in 1454 and for several hundred years was captured by a variety of hooligans including Württemberg troops, Habsburgs, the French and then a crazy Austrian guy who partied so hard that when he left the joint in 1798 it was in complete ruins. By the 19th century, the only part of the castle that was still left was the Chapel of St. Micheal.
The final castle that we know of today was rebuilt by Frederick William IV of Prussia who rolled into town during a trip to Italy. Like a badass, he climbed the mountain in search of his family heritage and discovered the ruined castle. He then employed the famous Berlin architect, Friedrich August Stüler, who constructed the castle in the Gothic Revival style that was popular at the time (it was very similar to Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein). It quickly became a testament to the German Romanticism movement, which incorporated the idea of medieval knights and a lot of what you see in Disney films (which are almost all ripoffs of Grimm’s fairy tales).
Needless to say, Jan and I were in nerd heaven, exploring the grounds of this awesome castle. Now on a normal day, this is what the castle should look like…
But this is what we saw when we got there… Complete white-out!
But we still had fun! Perhaps I’ll go back again and see it on a sunnier day.
We took the last train out of town headed back to Stuttgart. That gave us enough time to sit at the train station and have a beer… or two… or three.
Eventually a gaggle of drunken southerners started dancing to Gangnam Style and I just had to get a picture with one of them…