Thursday, 22 October 2009
With King Ludwig of Bavaria
Here's a treasured Royal souvenir - a mousemat showing me and the King of Bavaria.
I went to a very good Bavarian workshop in the West End a few days ago. They'd hired two huge rooms in a Georgian mansion just off Hyde Park. One contained a large breakfast with authentic German bread from Backhaus and lots of sausages. The other room was full of Bavarians eager to tell us about their region. And King Ludwig was waiting at the top of the stairs. He really was extraordinarily regal, not just in appearance but in manner.
I was specially intrigued by the Saltzeitreise It's a salty theme park ride - no doubt with plenty of glitz, too, since it's now owned by Swarovski Crystal. Salt has been considered good for the health for many centuries, and the region also has lots of spas. I had been considering taking a winter trip - the Bavarian alps aren't for serious skiiers, which suits me just fine. But events got in the way and now I'm already booked up with things to do this winter. Another time, I hope.
The salt mine also happens to be near the Eagle's Nest, Hitler's hangout. Needless to say the tourist board don't make a deal about this. Nothing to do with Hitler is treated as a tourist attraction in Germany, including the famous bunker in Berlin. I was told that it's the No.1 thing that visitors to Berlin are keen to see, but they can't. It would be good if certain other countries followed the German line in not making a tourist attraction out of icons of barbarity, but unfortunately that's not always so.
When one of my kids told some German friends that her mum had met King Ludwig of Bavaria, they were very dismayed, and told her that Bavaria no longer has a king. Little do they know. My King Ludwig mousemat will join other items such as the Maltese Virgin Mary musical box, the Angela Merkel lemon squeezer etc. in my box of treasured souvenirs.