The Red Cap and the Fairy Castle
In a desperate bid to absorb another miniscule part of European history, we dash excitedly towards one of the most beautiful, albeit unfinished castles of Germany, Schloss Neuswschanstein, the fairy tale construct in the foothills of the magnificent Alps. We are tourists, we must see, we must take pictures. We must, like heroes, partake in the glory and agony of dead people.
We are blessed with another beautiful day filled with vibrant sunshine. The gods have been very generous towards us with exquisite days of sunshine during our little tour of Europe so far. We are humbled for we are unworthy. In the meantime, like mad King Ludwig II who built this place, we keep an eye on the dark clouds gathering on the horizon.
The country we travel through is heavenly gorgeous, and greener than the greenest envy of the most envious man or woman on earth. You can almost hear the fairies giggle in the tall grass and shrubs along the way.
We travel through the sleepy town of Hohenschwangau, consisting mainly of upper class guesthouses, rundown pubs and posh restaurants. A quiet heaven for weary tourists and popular hunting grounds for bloodthirsty preachers and witch hunters of years gone by, all of them, thank God, eventually hunted down themselves by the relentless hunter in black with the unwavering scythe. Were they glorified on arrival up there, or were they mortified like they should have been the bastards, one wonders.
At the foot of the Alpine foothills we stop to admire the Romanesque Schloss Neuschwanstein high up in the Alpine mountains (or then Alpine foothills, if you like). And it is here that I, the world renowned Red Cap come to my glorious right with an admiring crowd of photographers going on their knees around me to immortalise me against the backdrop of the preposterous dream that King Ludwig II of Bavaria dared to dream. I just loved it and revelled in the attention showered onto me. I felt like a king.
Then it was all excitement as we move on to buy tickets for a tour of the castle while a light drizzle of rain started coming down to try, without success, to dampen our high spirits a bit, but then our spirits were really dampen when no tickets were available for any immediate tour. After much deliberation it was decided that, due to time constraints and concerns that my moronic old man with his bad leg, bad heart (and if you ask me, his serious lack of precocity) would not be able to climb the couple of hundred meters uphill to the castle, the project be abandoned and to return to München.
What a waste. I so wanted to visit that way-out mad castle, built by that mad King. People regarded by the high and mighty as mad (especially mad kings), are my favourite historical figures. Kings, by definition, are a mad lot and this King Ludwig sounds to me like the most sane king in the history of Bavaria. Thus, to my mind, to be regarded as mad by people even madder than himself, he must have been an exceptionally, insanely sane man. He loved art, he loved peasants, and most of all he loved Wagner. Think Tannhäuser, think glorious Lohengrin, think Tristan and Isolde. How mad must you be not to love this music!
But of course he was a fool, an incurable optimistic one. He did not want to make war, he hated it, and when he did succumb to pressure, he lost the war and virtually his kingship. The next time he did, he won the war but finally lost his kingdom and his sanity. Serves him right the retard, believing like a fool in the goodness of all people, and trusting politicians to be honourable servants of the King, the Country and the people. He lost everything, even his optimism and started to concentrate on the building of his exorbitantly lavish castles, his dream world where all was good and noble and beautiful. Of course he was mad. In a world filled with brutal men who loved bloody wars and plundering, Ludwig II’s world was a vulgar intrusion.
So we went home and drank some wine, and pondered the madness of the word, and drank some more wine to be able to sleep through the darkness of being. Tomorrow will be our last day in Munich. We will be going home late in the afternoon, back to an equally dark future in our beloved, blood drenched Africa.
Me, I am sitting pretty on a badly balding head, looking, listening, judging. I exist on this planet to teach wrong-headed optimists the error of their obtuse convictions.