Rose Island, Starnberg

We look at the list of Konig Ludwig II’s castles. Which one should we visit today? We only have the car for one more day and so need to make the most of it. Even though we visited Neuschwanstein castle last year, we didn’t do it properly. By the time we got our act together and got there, the queues to get tickets for the guided tour were too long and we ended up just seeing it from the outside. It was still a magnificent sight. We will need to do it again, but maybe another time.

It is another beautiful day today and Esther, the hotel receptionist, suggests Rose Island in Lake Starnberg. On a hot day it is nice to swim in the lake she says. Swimming in Europe is something I am not very keen on. The water is too cold for my liking.

We enter the directions from the leaflet on to the satnav. The drive is through Munich. When we get there we have difficulty finding a parking space. As we drive around the direction of the lake we find a space by the roadside. We now need to find the pier to get the boat to Rose Island. It is a long walk. The guy selling tickets tells us that we need to get off at Possenhofen and then walk further along the lake to catch the boat to Rose island. We still have plenty of spare time and so decide to have lunch before we start our boat trips.

After we disembark, we walk in the direction somebody points out to us. It is not well signposted and in the afternoon heat it is not a pleasant walk. At some point I lose the rest of the gang and walk ahead. After awhile I wonder where the pier is. I have walked a good half an hour and can’t see it. The island is a small one which I can see and is within a short distance from the shore. I have had enough and walk back. The others have already found the pier and are waiting for me and I had walked past it without realising.

Luckily the guy was just about to leave and we hop on the small boat. He gives us a short run down of the island which has a 10,000 year history with Roman and Celtic settlements. A short ride and we reach the island. Ludwig II’s father, Maximilian II planned a summer residence in the island. The rose garden and the island villa “Casino” were finished, but the palace was never built. Ludwig II seemed to like the isolation and romantic settings provided by this summer residence and it was one of his favourite places. Wagner was one of his guests here.

There is also remains of prehistoric pile dwellings (stilt houses) on the bottom of the Starnberg lake near Rose island dating from 4000 to 400 B.C. and this is added to the UNESCO world heritage site list. The houses were originally erected over marsh land, but as the lakes grew in size, the original piles ended up being under water.

We make our way back. We need to wait to catch the boat back to Starnberg and then walk back to the car. We realise that we could have avoided all this by parking the car at Possenhofen, but have no idea why the information leaflet gave us the wrong details. There must be an explanation but we don’t have time to find out.

The day ends with lightning and thunderstorms, and it is a much welcome relief after the hot day we’ve just had.

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