Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Personal Touch

We arrived at the Ludwigsburg Schloss in plenty of time to visit the children's museum, fairytale gardens, and take a tour of the palace. The receptionist however, remarked that the children's museum and gardens were closed at the time. So we asked for a suggestion as to what we might do there until the 1:30pm English tour time. She paused a moment, spoke a bit in German to a man standing at the desk and then offered "Would you like a private tour in English right now? Just for the family?"

Hmmm, no need to hesitate on that one.

 It was by far, one of the most unique experiences we may ever have here. Until that moment, I might have even said that we were "castled out", now having visited more castles than I can count. Castle ruins, castles still inhabited, castles decorated, castles empty,...we'd been there done that. But this, wow. What a personal touch, and quite a gift.
On the way up the grand staircase, the guide quietly asked me "now is this more for you, or the kids?"
I told him that he could really do whatever he liked with us. Matt and I were certainly interested, but that the kids would appreciate info as well. He did more than give them a few bits of info- he got them involved, making the tour all the more fun.
The kiddos were asked to guard the doors, to authenticate the initial experience and emotion one had upon arriving at the top of the grand staircase. Addie was all giggles, but Emory took his job rather seriously.

At one point, the guide led the kids over the barrier ropes so they could "see better and have a nicer view".
Then he turned to us and said "don't tell anyone we did this".
(oops! cat's outta the bag now)

We were taken all around the schloss, through bedrooms, servant quarters, offices, reception areas, game rooms, and not one, but the 2 churches housed by the castle. (I'm not talkin' chapel either- full blown churches, one Catholic and one Protestant).
Addie had a chance to ring the servant bell for service, hanging at the edge of this massive doorway. We heard the bell ting-a-ling-a-linging several rooms away, where the servants must have been waiting.
At one point, he was showing the kids a very old organ. One that could be carried around and played anywhere. To them, it looked like a big wooden box, and it was obvious that they didn't understand exactly what it was that they were viewing. So, the guide reached over the barrier ropes and pulled out a long rope from the wooden box before us, then tapped out a few notes on the organ. "See" he said, looking at the kids shocked faces "it plays music, wherever you like!"
Somehow, I don't think the organ demo is part of the normal tour.

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