“Là où il y a une femme, il y a de la magie.”
– Ntozake Shange
Call it fate, destiny, coincidence, or whatever you please, but having literally just completed a chapter on sorcery in Malay polygamy not even fifteen minutes ago, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the prompt for this week was, incidentally, also Magic.
But today I shall write of beautiful Bavarian palaces and unforgettable Spring days on the road, and leave behind my scholarly baggages for now. Allow me to take you to the “Castle of the Nymphs”, also known as the Nymphenburg Palace — a 17th century Baroque masterpiece situated just outside of Munich which I visited in April earlier this year.
It was my last day in Munich. I had arrived early the previous morning from Innsbruck, and in 24 hours had accomplished much: I’d already seen the Residenz and the nearby garden, gone a little loca in the huge TK Maxx, had coffee, cake, and a massive tuna panini with a kind acquaintance who had offered to be my local guide for the afternoon, made friends with my Über driver from Hungary as well as my Airbnb hostess, with whom I had a three-hour conversation immediately after arriving and settling in.
As my train to Stuttgart was not leaving until mid-day, I decided to put my morning to good use and visit the Palace. This was, quite possibly, one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’d made on this trip. The Palace was truly phenomenal — gold, gold and more gold everywhere, on the furniture, wall panels, paintings, doors, windows, you name it. At one point I thought I might be going blind from all that bling. But this was undoubtedly a clear reflection of the wealth of the Bavarian kings, who, at the peak of their power, were clearly swimming in gold.
I spent the bulk of my time in the Palace in the Steinerner Saal (Stone Hall) in the Central Pavillion, which was truly a work of art. The ceiling frescoes, represented in the introductory photo above, came to life through the hands of Johann Baptist Zimmermann. They simply took my breath away, and I was absorbed immediately into this make-believe world of rainbows and cherubs and chariots and swans. I had to sit down for some time and commit my impressions in my Moleskine, which aroused the curiosity of the security guard, who was astounded by the minuscule size of my handwriting.
Before leaving the Palace to explore the gardens I took one last farewell glance at the hall. Just at that moment the sun, evasive since morning, shone through the windows, immediately lighting up this already lively space. It was a magical sight — immortalized in the photo below — and one I would gladly return to in the future.