The Fairy Tale King.
But I think this is the first time he’s been called the King of Bling.
I can’t take credit for it.
A member of my family called him this during a recent tour of one of his castles.
Ludwig II became king of Bavaria in 1864 at the ripe old age of eighteen. Two years later, his country was taken over by Prussia.
So what’s a king with no kingdom to do?
And when you have a lot of bling, you need a place to put it. So you build a few castles, bathe everything in goldleaf, drench it with lavish color, and bejewel the rest.
Crazy King Ludwig even built his own cavern, complete with stalactites, a boat, and creepy painting…
How Ludwig financed his projects is a matter of debate. Many say he bankrupted his country, others say he used his own wealth. What’s not up for debate is that because of his rising debts, the government declared him legally insane.
And the very next day he was dead.
He died in a boating accident. A few weeks later, his granddaddy of castles, Neuschwanstein, was opened to the public.
Was King Ludwig mad? Crazy? Insane?
One thing’s for sure: he’s had the last laugh.
Neuschwanstein is the top tourist destination in Germany. I think the Bavarian region has more than recouped any losses through the tourism that Ludwig’s castles bring in. Not to mention, Neuschwanstein has been immortalized by Disney through their theme parks and logo.
This begs the question… Why do we travel in droves to see Ludwig’s legacy?
Are we mad? Crazy? Insane?
Do we secretly admire the man’s incredible vision? Do we envy the way he made his dreamworld a reality?
Or do we just love a little bling?