We’d been hiking, we’d been to villages and we’d conquered the supermarket, so I asked Logan and Brady what they wanted to see next. Both agreed that it was time to add a castle to the mix (!) so we went big with a trip to the Ludwigsburg Residential Palace, aka “The Versailles of Swabia.”
Y’all know I’m not big into the details, but it’s worth mentioning that construction of the palace began in 1704, and it has 452 rooms. Kinda wild!
Truth be told, I really think the boys wanted to see castle ruins that they could potentially climb all over, but a real Baroque-style palace is pretty cool, too. 😉
Ludwigsburg is a quick 30+ minute drive north of Boeblingen, so off we went on a sunny Saturday. We arrived shortly after opening and there was not much of a line – which is great, because I detest lines. We bought our tickets (about €`10 per person) and set off to explore the grounds. I’ll go light on the prose and let the photos tell the story…because you know, a picture is worth a thousand words!
There was so much more to see than any of us anticipated, so it was a good thing I wore my comfy shoes. You know it’s impressive when the boys stop to take a photo! And if you can make out the map from the picture, there are acres of gardens behind the palace and to the side of it as well. Rose gardens, shade gardens, Japanese gardens with a collection of decades-old bonsais? You name it, they had it.
But before you can get to those, you have to walk all the way down to the pond in front of the palace. It was lined with huge planters filled with citrus trees – oranges, lemons, etc. The formal gardens surrounded the palace. Red and pink swirls poked through the green lawn, and the borders were bursting with gaudy shows of yellow, white, and purple. And orange and red and lime green…okay, pretty much EVERY color under the rainbow. Not really my vibe, but a sight to see nonetheless.
I was happier when we found the peaceful shade garden, where the plantings were much more natural and left to their own devices. Tucked away here was a greenhouse in the midst of a cottage garden filled with specimens I’d never encountered before. And inside, there was a collection of table settings fit for a royal wedding.
The cottage garden was the perfect place to bust out my PictureThis app, which instantly identifies plants – like the Greater Masterwort (astrantia major) on the left and the Common Foxglove (digitalis purpurea) on the right. I’m already starting to think about what to add to my future German garden!
This tree-lined path opened up to a massive park with a plant-lined pond, a carousel, and a beer garden at one end. Veering off to the right led to an aviary with a collection of parrots, flamingos, and other birds. And that is where we lost Logan and Brady.
Even though we told the boys to stick close by, they wandered off since we’re too slow and pokey for them. It would have been easy to link up except they don’t have cell service yet, so we had to go old school and keep an eye out for each other. Remember those days?
Finally, we spotted them at the far end of palace about an hour later. You could see the sheepish look of relief on Logan’s face and it was honestly pretty priceless!
Meandering along the farthest edge of the grounds we came across the Japanese garden. The bonsai collection was pretty legit, but the best part was the pond with stepping stones to guide you across the deep water.
Onward we walked, until we came to a dead end featuring this neat tower with a Rapunzel display. We heard some girls shrieking and turned around to find that “Rapunzel” had let down her hair – a thick golden braid tied with a red bow.
Then, it was time to check out the palace…or so we thought! One thing we didn’t realize is that there are separate tickets for the grounds and the interior of the palace. Having already spent 3 hours wandering around in the sun, we decided to save the inside for a rainy day – hopefully before the Lego exhibit ends.
Conveniently, there was a little Italian cafe serving coffee and ice cream – the perfect little break before heading back home. All in all, an enjoyable day taking in one of the most famous tourist attractions in the Stuttgart area!