Eggensberger Organic Hotel – Ziegelwies Forest Adventure Centre – Electric Ice Carriage – Museum of the Bavarian Kings/Hohenschwangau Castle – Neuschwanstein Festival Theatre
After a restful night, I focused on meeting Andreas Eggenberger. Certification as an organic hotel is just one of the special features of his house. Electrosmog reduction in the hotel rooms, home-made power supply by solar energy and 16 charging points for charging the hotel’s own electric fleet and the supply of the “guest electricians” are further self-evident features of this exemplary destination for sustainable hospitality. I wanted to talk to him about the development since my last visit three years ago over breakfast. Shortly before the talk, I went through the tour plan for that day again. In it, another visit to the Ziegelwies Forest Experience Centre was on the agenda. The conversation with its managing director Carolin Klughammer and an exchange of ideas with Guiseppe Montuori, operator of an electrically motorised “ice carriage”. After a detour to the Roßhaupten storage power station and a tour around Lake Forggensee, the tour was to continue in the afternoon to the Museum of the Bavarian Kings and a visit to Hohenschwangau Castle. The anticipation of the last destination in the late afternoon, the musical “Zeppelin”, at the Neuschwanstein Festival Theatre, put me in a joyful mood for the course of Day 2 of my E-Tour German Alpine Road.
The innovator Andreas Eggensberger
We started with e-mobility and the development of a sustainable energy concept for the hotel. For the e-mobile pioneer, “plug-in vehicles” have long since become the norm, as have e-cars for the employees’ commute as an incentive tool.
In the field of energy, A. Eggensberger has networked with other hoteliers, the national ice hockey centre and three farms and created a digital platform on which individual electricity requirements and generation can be viewed. A platform for interactive electricity management was thus created. The aim of the pilot project is to show that it is worthwhile to generate electricity oneself and use it to charge e-cars, among other things, without jeopardising the electricity supply. The participants are also working closely with the university in Kempten in this area.
Due to the lively conversation, I set off a little late in the direction of the Ziegelwies Forest Experience Centre in Füssen. From a light blue, the sky had quickly changed to a grey-blue mottled stratocumulus canopy, typical of the Allgäu.
Forest Experience Centre, talk with Caroline Klughammer
In a light drizzle, the managing director Mrs Klughammer welcomed me directly at the entrance to the exhibition building. Her laughter immediately brightened up the current weather situation, and I was also glad to have already completed the walk along the forest path the day before. So I could concentrate on the exhibition “My Forest” under the guidance of Carolin Klughammer. For a better understanding, she herself operated the most diverse interactive modules, which were to reveal the forest in all its facets to the visitors.
Accompanying film sequences support the other senses such as eye and ear in addition to the haptic and olfactory experiences. In a confined space, artistically designed elements and local craftsmanship complement the exhibition and thus expand the nature theme of the forest to include cultural aspects. And those who get involved may find themselves contemplating and reflecting more deeply on the concept of sustainability, which originated in forestry, in the face of the forest as an oasis of tranquillity.
After the tour, we changed locations and continued our conversation in the wooden pavilion opposite the large exhibition building. Giuseppe “Beppo” Montuori was already waiting for us there with a freshly prepared vanilla ice cream from his ice cream factory and a wonderfully fragrant cappuccino.
The pavilion was filled with a comforting scent of natural woods, coffee and vanilla. A unique composition that was to inspire our conversations. Ms Klughammer mentioned in passing – sensationally, actually – that daytime tourism in the 2021 summer season reached record highs despite Corona. This speaks for the uniqueness of the Forest Adventure Centre.
Beppos’e-mobile ice cream cart
Beppo served us the cappuccino and it gave us the opportunity to talk to him, at least briefly, about his experiences with his particular application of e-mobility. Beppo’s ice cream cart is an e-mobile vehicle.
An eye-catcher on various occasions, but above all an emission-free means of transport for the culinary offerings of Beppo’s ice cream factory in summer. Every Füssener and Hopfener, as well as the concentrated collection of international tourists, know this vehicle driven by two electric motors.
Museum of the Bavarian Kings and Hohenschwangau Castle
With a glance at the clock and satisfied with the intensive exchange about the forest and the electric ice carriage, I said goodbye to both conversation partners and continued my tour. I turned onto Alpseestraße in Hohenschwangau right on time and parked my electric vehicle just a few metres from the museum.
Much admired by tourists and curious passers-by, I was first allowed to answer various questions about my tour vehicle: “Yes, this is the new electric car from Audi, the Q4 e-tron with all-wheel drive.” The question and answer game went on for a while until Mr Günther, the director of Neuschwanstein Hotels & Events, waved at me.
We had arranged 45 minutes for our visit, including a guided tour of the Museum of the Bavarian Kings and a visit to Hohenschwangau Castle. We decided to start with the visit to the castle and used the driving time to talk about King Ludwig as an innovator. Mr Günther still knew all the great-grandchildren of the last Bavarian king. That was good, because I wanted to find out whether and how the topic of sustainability and innovation is reflected in the environment of this social group. Few people also know that King Ludwig II had taken out health insurance for the construction workers building the palace to cover the families in the event of a serious accident or the death of a person. Already very progressive thinking and action at the time.
Ludwig II, a true visionary
Impressive how the castle in its bright yellow colour with its battlements and turrets rises into the sky. Continuing our dialogue, we pass through the main gate and move towards the palace garden. Ludwig II would certainly have been a fan of e-mobility, says Mr Günther. For example, he had arranged for the construction of the world’s first hydroelectric power station, built the world’s first electrically lit theatre, used the world’s first electrically lit vehicle – his ceremonial sleigh – with the battery housed in a box under the seat. Even the brightness of the light bulb could be controlled by a potentiometer. How much valuable time had to pass before we are now where a king from Bavaria who was considered crazy had long been in the implementation of sensible technologies. Some of today’s global players still profit from the visionary power of this monarch. Even the first telephone was in royal use in Neuschwanstein Castle. And the fact that Ludwig II was one of the first builders to use steel for construction, including in Neuschwanstein, is probably known to very few people.
And today, after the time of the fairytale king? I learned that Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, the great-great-grandson of the last Bavarian king, is particularly involved as a development aid worker in Kenya. His domain is IT and water projects. Silently, I think Elon Musk could do the same, as could other big names from the “principalities” of Silcon Valley.
The sister, Auguste of Bavaria, is exemplary in her commitment to species conservation and is an internationally recognised ornithologist, also very involved in the planned construction of the natural history museum “Biotopia” in Munich, which is to focus on the topic of species conservation. I almost forgot the wonderful views around me. Neuschwanstein Castle surrounded by the autumnal colour of deciduous trees, with rocky outcrops and dark green coniferous forest behind and blue sky above. Postcard motifs in a 360-degree panorama.
Once again, the time limit has been exceeded. So I quickly drive down the Fürstenstraße to the museum so that I can at least briefly get to know a future project in the museum. Unfortunately, I only get a brief glimpse of the 3-D animation about Ludwig’s dream of a cable car from the Alpsee up to the castle and then a quick tour of the museum’s newly designed exhibition rooms.
Mr Günther accompanied me to the car and wished me a great performance in the musical “Zeppelin” I “strode” off to take some more pictures around the Forggensee on the way back to the Eggensberger Hotel and then headed for the Festspielhaus in Füssen. Four hours of a musical about a zeppelin? Let’s be surprised.
Neuschwanstein Festival Theatre and the “Zeppelin” Musical Experience
During my last visit for the performance of the musical “Ludwig2 – Das Musical” two years ago, the current Festspielhaus Neuschwanstein was still called Festspielhaus Füssen. I remembered that at that time I had spoken extensively with the owner of the Festspielhaus, Manfred Rietzler, about the subject area of e-mobility before the performance and gave him his first ride in a top-of-the-line e-car. He was deeply impressed. I am sure that this unique theatre and festival theatre as a venue for world premieres of great musicals would also be predestined for the presentation of new e-car models.
This brings me to the equally “technical” title “Zeppelin – The Musical”. For interested readers, I recommend the various reviews and comments that can be found in abundance on the internet, also on the website of the Festpielhaus Neuschwanstein. Just a short, personal comment on the performance: world-class staging and excellent casting in all the roles.
After four hours and a full bath of different feelings, I enjoyed the ride in the quietly humming Stromer back to the hotel in Hopfen am See. In my thoughts, I let this eventful day of touring pass by. What a collection of very different visionaries: Andreas Eggensberger, the e-pioneer and jack-of-all-trades in the field of sustainable projects, the idea developers and implementers of the Füssen Forest Experience Centre, Beppo, a real one-off with his e-ice carriage, the “crazy fairytale king” and visionary Ludwig II and, last but not least, the inventor of airship travel Count Zeppelin in a musical production. A great potpourri, enough material for dreaming and serene anticipation of the next tour day.
Text and pictures: Elmar Thomassek
Picture Ice Carriage in front of the Festspielhaus: Giuseppe “Beppo” Montuori