I feel like I should make a disclaimer here that I think sometimes I am writing -berg for -burg or vice versa and so it may indicate the wrong city occasionally. However, in this case I have checked my spellings and Ludwigsburg is correct. It's a city on the outskirts of Stuttgart, about 2.5 hours from us and I had heard about this pumpkin festival through a travel Facebook page. Since we're missing the Dallas Arboretum this year, we decided to make a day of it and see if the hype was worth it. It turned out to be an awesome day trip!
This sweet girl loves to have her picture taken!
I love that even in a hedge there are umlauts over the "u"! This palace has not been occupied in a long time of course but the grounds are amazing and open to the public. We didn't take the castle tour -- just touring the grounds was a long day for us and the kids. The pumpkin festival is in the back yard (which I'm sure they don't call it that!) and so we wandered through the front gardens for a bit.
We're trying to prove that we're actually there!
I tried to get Megan to get in the picture by asking for a funny one but she said no.
Selfie skills lacking
Abby wanted to see the ducks and their bridge into the water.
This statue cracks me up -- to me it's proof that kids in all generations of time have fought with their siblings. I mean can't you just see the stonemason channeling his frustrations into his work? Darn kids just can't get along!
Part of the inner courtyard.
Another interesting statue
When you came around the back, then there are the pumpkin sculptures and they were pretty amazing. We actually think that the Dallas Arboretum might do the actual pumpkin part better but they certainly can't compete with a castle!
The back of the palace -- I think!
I could not get high enough to get good pictures of this garden! It's called the embroidery garden and if you get on a satellite map and put in Bluhendes Barock then you can see the design really well -- it is gorgeous!
Ok I actually don't know what this was but it was behind the palace and across the street. Either it's the neighbor's house or maybe it's the guest house. We did have a brochure in English but it didn't have a ton of historical information.
Clowns are always creepy
There was a giant pile of hay that the kids enjoyed and then we found a playground. This was a great place to go with kids -- lots of fun stuff for them to enjoy!
The face I get when I try to sneak a picture.
After leaving the area of the pumpkin festival, the grounds are still extensive and include a whole path called the fairytale forest. They have lots of houses that are set up with automated scenes telling the stories of a variety of fairy tales. The automatons reminded me of the old Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland -- slight creepy but fun to watch! The whole thing was pretty cool and there were enough fairy tales that we were familiar with to find things to interest us.
There's a boat ride to tell the tale of Pinocchio.
One of the houses with the scene inside.
About to be swallowed by the fish!
I got a picture of it later with another boat party going through and wondering why I'm taking their picture!
Hansel and Gretel -- the gingerbread house. With the creepiest witch I've ever seen.
Can you see her?
Yeah that's awful.
Part of the 1001 Arabian Nights
Aladdin and the lamp -- the lights made a pretty cool genii on the wall.
Statue of Strauss
There is an old carousel on the grounds that was just beautiful and the horses looked real! They also had a chariot pulled by a naked lady with 2 fish tails. William didn't want to ride in that one. I don't blame him!
The carousel from the outside.
They also had an aviary with flamingoes (what?) and other birds including pheasants. Being the Jane Austen addict that I am, I'm familiar with pheasant hunting but I had no idea they were so colorful!!
After the aviary was a walk through this amazing area with different displays on birds where you could push the buttons and hear their calls. Megan is really into birds right now and she particularly loved this part.
I thought I had a picture of the tower with Rapunzel's braid hanging off the side but I guess it's on Facebook. We didn't go up the tower although I'm sure the view was fantastic. It came at the end of our day and the kids were tired and hungry and wouldn't have handled it well.
Everyone has raved about the pumpkin soup but the lines for food were pretty long so I ended up just getting everyone pumpkin bratwurst that was fantastic! I don't know how much actual pumpkin was in them but they WERE full of pumpkin seeds which was kind've weird but tasted really good!! We didn't explore Stuttgart at all and will probably go back. We're going to make a list of things we want to see while we're living here but also have to be content with what we do get to. Not that I'm complaining! It's going to be an amazing five years because there's so much to see and do!!
On a side note, I'm really loving small town life. I love seeing the same people over and over and look forward to the day when I will actually be able to talk to them! I have access to a pharmacy, grocery store, bakery, and post office in a 5 minute walk radius and we love the farms and their equipment that are always rolling through -- William particularly loves it!! Every morning we walk to the bus stop and admire the beautiful mornings -- the fog is amazing (especially since I don't have to drive in it!) and on Friday there were swans on the Vils River! I didn't have my camera or phone of course. When we get into bigger cities it is very nerve-wracking to me to drive and communicate and figure things out so I honestly don't do it much but I'm really ok with that. We are coming along pretty well I think and looking forward to the holiday season. We're all decorated for Halloween and Ive got materials ordered for costumes. Then Thanksgiving and Christmas are just a hop skip and a jump away!! And although I'm not looking forward to the cold, everyone says that Christmas is truly magical in Germany so we're very excited for that!