Friday, December 2, 2016

Castleholics Anonymous with Stefan of Royal Travel and Events

Happy Friday everyone! Let's start the weekend with a new edition of Castleholics Anonymous, shall we? We shall. This time I talked to Stefan of Royal Travel and Events about royal-guided tours, castles in the south of Germany and much more...

Fürst Alois-Konstantin z
Wertheim-Löwenstein-Rosenberg
(All photos: Royal Travel) 
You recently visited Bronnbach Abbey and got a very special tour by no other than the Fürst zu Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg himself. How did that tour come about and what little known facts did the Fürst reveal about his childhood home?
A friend told me about this tour, it takes place once a year. The Fürst told many anecdotes from his childhood. For example one time the children were fishing in the Tauber river close to the monastery. They then the brought the fishes home with them and put them in a bathtub in their parents' bathroom which was connected to their bedroom. They even put sand and plants into the bathtub with the fishes. So when the parents came home late in the night from an evening reception they found a special surprise in their bathroom. And many similar stories.

You also visited Hungary recently. Which royal sights did you get to see there and which ones did you like the most?
In Budapest I paid a visit to Gödöllö Castle which is just outside of the Hungarian capital. I also visited the Matthias Church which was very impressive. I had also wanted to visit the Palatin Crypt which is located in Buda Castle (which now houses the National Gallery of Hungary). But it turned out that you have to make prior arrangements and that only then you can tour the interior. Because of this I only saw the castle from the outside.

Gödöllo Castle
While I live in the north of Germany, you live in the south-west and admittedly I haven't seen many castles there yet. Which ones would you recommend to see first?
There are many castles around here. I would recommend to anyone to visit Schloss Ludwigsburg which is outside of Stuttgart. It is the biggest baroque palace north of the Alps and it was not destroyed during the Second World War. There is also a big baroque garden and if one walks a few miles there is Schloss Monrepos which is located very beautifully on a lake. Then there is of course Schloss Hohenzollern, the ancestral home of the Hohenzollern Family, and Schloss Sigmaringen, which still is the official residence of the Fürst of Hohenzollern.

Speaking of favourites... Can you say how many castles and palaces you have visited in your life? And which are your top three?
No idea how many castles I have visited, probably between 50 and 100 but most likely more close to 100. As for favourite castles it is difficult to name just one... Generally I tend to like the castle which are still used by the families and thus in private possession more than an empty museum. One I like very much is Schloss Zeil near Leutkirch which is the residence of the Dowager Princess of Waldburg zu Zeil and Trauchburg. As she lives there, the castle can not be seen from the inside but one can walk through the beautiful gardens and the different courts.

And which ones are left on your list of places to see? Have you any Royal travel trips lined up?
There is a long list of castles and places I want to visit. Among others I would like to visit the Imperial Palaces in and around St. Petersburg. But as that can only be done with a guided travel tour, it has to wait. I would also like to visit Lisbon and Versailles - and there are also lots of castles closeby which I still have not visited.

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