Start of 1,000-word article. Pictures available


Schwangau: We heard a lot about Ludwig 11, the so-called Mad King of Bavaria, while driving through that state, but only in Schwangau (some 60 kms south of Munich) was he spoken of kindly. For this is where he spent his childhood, often in the company of mountain farmers. Here his erratic behaviour was accepted. And here, as a youthful king, he built a most extraordinary home.

If, as we are led to believe, Ludwig was a loner and a dreamer, his fondness of the area is understandable because its alpine beauty is magical. With his mother and young brother, he lived at Castle Hohenschwangau, first built by the Knights of Schwangau in the twelfth century and reconstructed by his father, Maximillian 11. It was a childhood idyllic for some, but sadly inadequate for a boy destined to rule the kingdom.