Sunday, March 24, 1996 Oberammergau, Germany
Slept in till 8 AM. The German beds are different in that they have a bottom sheet and then a down quilt which is the size of the top of the bed (nothing hangs over the side) which is covered by a removable case (like a large pillow case) and used as a top sheet/blanket combination....called a duvet.
During the day it is folded in half and lays on top of the bed, or spread out like a quilt. They are quite warm, but since it’s not tucked in you can kick it about for air during the night. Barbara said that she had lots of different dreams during the night. I told her it was due to the second empty bed in her room!
Breakfast was held in a beautiful room with religious heads carved on the posts separating the seating, they were hand carved and appeared to be very old. Doug was in his room looking wistful. We asked when his train was leaving….they leave every hour until 11 PM. We asked where he was going as we knew that he’d already been to the castle that we were going to see today. He said he’d been everywhere already and was trying to decide where to go. We asked if he wanted to join us and he quickly took us up on our offer. So we told him we’d return after church to pick him up for the day’s tour.
Church was another large, and very cold, cathedral. Of course, it was all in German. There were nine altar boys and most of the children sat in the front pews with a priest setting with them. He left to read the Epistle and help at communion time. After church we drove around a bit and saw some of the buildings with their beautiful paintings. Barbara called her friends Manfred and André who live in Munich. We’re going to stay at their apartment when we get there for several days. They were concerned because Manfred thought that Barbara was going to call as soon as we arrived in Frankfurt. She got detailed directions and then Doug also gave us a city map and marked the route.
Off to the fairy tale castle that was never completed. It is called Neuschwanstein. It was designed by a Theater set designer, not an architect, for Lugwig II. They put seventeen years into building it and only completed the outside and less than twenty of the eighty-fvie planned rooms. Walt Disney designed his castle at Fantasyland after this castle. When we were nearly there we saw the castle on the mountain side and about fourteen sky divers who were going off the top of the mountain near the castle. This castle is situated on top of the ruins of another older castle and was built near his father’s castle which you can walk to also. We didn’t take the time to go see that one.
After we parked the car we found that it was a very long climb up the mountain…we didn’t know that there were wagons pulled by horses which we could have ridden up on. Barbara thought she was having an heart attack by the time that we arrived. At one point Barbara considered taking off her sweatshirt ….she said the German’s wouldn’t care as they have a very natural attitude towards nudity….but she survived without removing it.. Jim and Doug went on ahead and then Doug took Jim’s video and his camera and hiked a long way to take some fantastic pictures and videos. That was why he wanted to visit again…to take his pictures.
We were able to go on an English tour and even though it was short, it was worth the climb and wait. Did not have the gold leaf that the other ones did. But beautiful in its own way with unbelievable wood carvings. The canopy bed in the Kings bedroom took four woodcarvers nearly seven years to complete. There was one room done as a grotto with stalactite from the ceiling. There were swans all over and in the carvings because this was his favorite bird. The castle was built in the late 1800’s and had running water by using the natural pressure from the mountain water. There was a huge chandelier at least ten feet in diameter which took several men to lower to light the candles. It was in the room intended to be the throne room. In the dining room there was a table that was actually a dumbwaiter which could be lowered several floors to the kitchen so that the servants didn’t have to enter his room to serve his meals.
After the tour we picked up snacks…Barbara got a sausage sandwich with a beer, which she shared; Jim got a huge pretzel , and I bought an ice cream bar. We started down the trail. Barbara decided to take the horse wagon back. She also bought a drawing of the castle which is done by the same artist that did drawings she’d bought in Rothenburg. We started walking down the hill. About half way down a young gentleman taped Jim on the shoulder and asked if he could have a bite of his pretzel….Doug had just caught up with us! Barbara was late getting down the hill as they made her finish her food before she could get on the cart. A stop at the WC and then back to the hotel in Oberammergau .
We sat down in the restaurant in our hotel and had soup and beer for a light supper with Doug before Jim took him to the train station. It started to rain just as we returned to the hotel. Poor Doug just didn’t understand why Barbara kept trying to get him interested in her niece Mary Frances (our youngest daughter who is single). It finally stopped raining and the three of us went window shopping. The shops closed Friday evening and don’t open until Monday. Doug had found a beautifully painted wood carved chess set but couldn’t buy it because they were closed (while we were at church). We saw it in the window on our walk.
Back at the hotel we made hot chocolate in our room with Twinkies and some more of the cinnamon bagel chips. We then discovered that Jim could use one of Barbara’s plugs on his battery charger….but not with his electric razor due to the age of the razor. So we were able to charge the batteries for the video camera and Barbara also got her TV changed so that she had English (they gave her Doug’s TV from his room). Jim watched TV and I read until after midnight. Barbara must have gone to bed earlier because she was up, dressed and knocking on the door at 8:45 am and we were still asleep.