Bavarian grandeur

Posted by Chris Wray on Nov 21, 2010 in architecture and urban spaces, photography

The Bavarian village of Füssen is full of charm and rich history. Following a week-long business trip in Munich, my colleagues and I took a day-excursion to picturesque Füssen and its nearby crown jewels: Schloss Hohenschwangau and Schloss Neuschwanstein— two 19th century castles of unimaginable architectural and artistic expression. Neuschwanstein

By train, Füssen is located just 2.5 hours south of Munich. Catch the S- or U-Bahn to München Hauptbahnhof (Munich’s central train station). Then board a regional train south to the rural town of Buchloe. From here, take a connecting train to Füssen. A short bus ride from the Füssen rail station takes you to the foot of the castles in Schwangau. Check into the DB Bahn (Germany’s national rail service) group discount. A group of 3 to 5 individuals can ride round trip on one ticket for only 30 Euros!

Allow plenty of time for taking in both castle tours. You’ll need time to photograph the expansive vistas, castle exteriors, and travel time for getting between the two sites. Hiking is permitted along the steep winding road that connects the two castles, but I recommend taking the bus or horse-drawn carriage to ensure you don’t miss your appointed tour.

Currently, 17 Euros buys a guided tour of both castles. I recommend visiting the older Schloss Hohenschwangau first, followed by the extravagant Schloss Neuschwanstein. Touring the castles in chronological order puts their history into proper perspective and saves the best for last! Photography is not permitted inside the castles—but not to worry—the exterior photo ops and sweeping Alpine landscapes will astound the most experienced outdoor photographer.

Hohes Schloss, Füssen

In the heart of Füssen, standing high above the River Lech, lies the often overlooked Hohes Schloss (High Castle). The former summer residence of the prince bishops of Augsburg, the Hohes Schloss is one of the best preserved late Gothic castle complexes.

Hohes Schloss currently serves as a branch gallery of the Bavarian State Collections of Paintings featuring works of art from the late Gothic and Renaissance periods. We arrived after the gallery closed—reason to visit again!

Füssen and its magnificent castles are a must see when traveling to southern Germany. Click on the links below to enjoy more of my photos taken during our Bavarian excursion. Please check back frequently, as I will be adding additional pictures to the Piscasa photo albums.


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Ascend The Climber

Posted by Chris Wray on Jun 23, 2010 in architecture and urban spaces, art, photography

The Climber

If you’re traveling in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, be sure to visit the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Housed in the historic Monroe School building (a great example of Classical Revival architecture), the Children’s Museum features three floors of incredible sensory and motor stimulation. Their latest installation, dubbed The Climber, is a 37-foot high, 50-ton conglomeration of structural steel, fiberglass, wood, stainless steel aircraft cable, and found objects. My kids loved this wholly whimsical and totally hands- (and feet-) on installation. “Now this is the ultimate treehouse,” enthusiastically commented my son before dashing up one of its numerous gangways.

Various perches are cantilevered throughout the structure that allow visitors to climb into or onto, including wacky themed objects:

• Flying Bathtub
• Dream Boat
• Roof Top
• Fish Walk
• Recycled Rocket

The structure is thoughtfully constructed with a third-floor observation deck that permits visitors with limited mobility (or just too pooped to continue climbing) to observe the multi-level terrain of The Climber.

Clamber, balance, maneuver and discover — The Climber will engage your mind and muscles! Don’t miss it.

— Photos were taken with iPhone 3GS camera and Pro HDR app.

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