December 31, 2013
Palace Gardens Schwetzingen
Today the weather was so beautiful - and also pretty warm for the season - that I decided to head for the Palace Gardens in Schwetzingen. They are one of my favorite places no matter which season it is.
Quote from the website of the palace gardens:
"Schwetzingen Palace Gardens are a cultural heritage site of European significance: more than 100 sculptures are scattered throughout this wonderful, and at times surprising, landscape. An assortment of whimsical buildings lend an exotic touch. The Apollotempel (temple of Apollo), a small, round building, houses a statue of the ancient Greek god of light and the arts, playing the lyre. The Badehaus (bath house) is a summerhouse with its own garden, modelled on an Italian villa. And, most spectacularly, in the Türkischer Garten (Turkish gardens), there is a mosque designed by Nicolas de Pigage – the largest structure of its kind in a German garden. Ornamented with oriental details, the late-Baroque building was purely decorative and served no religious purpose."
In one of the bushes I heard something - and found a squirrel busily working on a nut. It ran off to the safety of a tree when it saw me.
Near the path a goose was raising a ruckus high up in a tree.
The Orangerie is used to keep the plants safe during the cold months.
Passing the Orangerie the temple of Apollo comes into view. It used to be a place where members of the court listened to concerts.
On the orb on top of the temple sat a duck that obviously suffered from delusions of grandeur.
There is - in addition to several waterways - a big lake that is populated by all kinds of water birds. The area is - despite the bird noises - rather peaceful and invites people to stay a while.
Ducks and geese share the water.
Near the shore on the side of the lake I found two ducks who were having a ball with the water. Splashing and diving seemed to be big fun to them.
One of the ducks seemed to perform a dance when it flapped its wings.
I moved on and went for the temple of Mercury. After it was not possible to visit it for a long time due to restauration work it is now open again.
Right across a smaller lake lies the mosque. It is actually still in use.
There is also a garden attached to the mosque that is surrounded by collonades that are apparently meant for contemplation.
In a small courtyard there is a fountain that is surrounded by bird sculptures - here a few of them.
In a tree right next to that place it seemed that a murder of crows took offense. Maybe they were rehearsing a remake of "The Birds" though.
Here a few of the plants that can be found in the garden.
A smaller bird that visited a birdhouse.
Through a beautiful gate made from wrought iron I made my way towards the exit.
This building is usually covered by a hedge in the summertime.
On the roof of the main palace is a weather vane that is gleaming in the sun. There is a huge clock, too.
Here some of the pictures in black and white. I always find it amazing how the mood of a picture can be changed by that.
I had to stop again at the moat where someone was feeding the two swans and the ducks.