Life in Germany
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Kings of the Castle

I work for a scientific institute.

And the institute, well, the society that my institute is a part of, they own a castle.

And I’m imagining that if you don’t work for a MPI, that’s going to sound like a kind of strange thing to say.



When we found out that we effectively had claim on/ could call squatters rights on a castle, we ran to our boss’ office and ordered him (asked him very nicely indeed), to book us in for a 5 star vacation.

He, being fairly nice about the whole thing (and having bosted about the castle to us for years), did just that. We registered our interest in 2013, hoping to get a spot for 2014, the 10th year anniversary of the group…

You know where this is going right?

The news came back: the only available position was two years in the future, just before Christmas, 2015.

So on Dec, 16, we loaded up a bus full of Princely (and some Kingly) scientists, and headed (and headed, and headed- seriously, it was 9 hours on a bus!) down past Munich.

Bavaria is a bit grey in winter, but the castle still managed to look fairly castle-y (and all the more ominous for the winter-time!).


(Although the van does kind of break the suspended belief eh?)



For some nicer pro shots, in happier weather, go here.



As you can, when we arrived, they were quick to send the less deserving amongst us to the tower.

Mercedes and I, a.k.a, King Tegan and her (slightly frigid) Queen Mercedes, shared a room.



But oh, what a room.

I didn’t take any good photos, but trust me, go here and check out room 106.

Here is a very small part of the 180 view from our room of the Tegernsee.


True story- they named that sea after me.


^Etienne and Mercedes are rolling their eyes… Gal is more ‘gallible’.

This is another view, which is still actually quite lovely.





view from the castle roof

If you’re wondering how a scientific society managed to get their hands on a castle, the story goes something like this.

Duke Luitpold met Freidrich Attenhuber while the Duke was studying philosophy and art history at the LMU. They, both ‘confirmed bachelors’ (which is what we say in the catholic south), travelled Europe together, and then spent the rest of their lives working together on their masterpiece, Schloss Ringberg.


(^’Confirmed bachelor’ art)

Attenhuber was an architect, decorator and artist- who, despite never really being paid for pretty much doing all the work, poured all his energy and life into the castle (read: he had some other motivations for staying close to the Duke). Attenhuber died in 1947 (he jumped from the tower after the relationship went bad), and the Duke continued work on the Schloss.

Note that I didn’t make a typo- it is 1947: kind of a strange era to be castle building.

Here they are roaming the lands:IMG_3454_2074x1382

And here’s Joram with an older, sader Attenhuber.


Being heirless, the Duke looked for people to take his castle when he died, but no-one wanted it, partially because it was unfinished, and partially because of the massive upkeep. Finally, he offered it to our society, but they said they would only ‘take it off his hands’ if he threw in some money as well.

Which, obviously, he did.

If you’re interested in the story, and want some more details, you can go here to the official site, or there’s a very nicely written, and much more interesting version here)




Although we didn’t have a great deal of time outside of science to frolic around outside, the inside of the castle itself was grand enough to impress even the grumpiest of souls.IMG_3355_2074x1382




(^Where we ate our buffet breakfast and were served our three course lunches and dinners)





At one point we had enough spare time to make a quick run down to the Tegernsee itself, but I, with my weak lonely lung, didn’t make it all the way to the shore.






So I had this idea that everyone should bring their finest dresses and suits, and really put on a party.

Turns out that scientists don’t own suits (or at least not tuxes), and we’re too old for dress-up.


Welcome to the Castle:IMG_3481_2074x1382


^Being Kingly in the Duke’s room


^This is ridiculous, I have to direct my own shoot?


Trying to figure our this ‘King’ buisness:       IMG_3508_2074x1382



What do you think? Impressed by ‘our’ Schloss?


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  1. Pingback: The 2016 Christmas Letter/At the end of the year – Fish with Whiskey

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