Friday, July 15, 2011


Saturday, March 23,1996 Oberammergau...home of the Passion Play

Barbara complained about the bed and they gave her the room free and only charged for her breakfast which is normally included in the cost of the room. 20 Marks…rather high but still much cheaper that the whole fee, especially since we did use the room all night. The breakfast has been great at all the hotels and has always been included in the room fee. Rolls, fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, cereals, and a choice of beverage: coffee for me, decaf for Barbara and hot chocolate for Jim. All buffet style.

We left Auzsburg after breakfast and I sat in the front seat finally. Barbara had a headache and took something for it which caused her to sleep most of the way. Which, since it was raining most of the day worked out fine.

We pulled into Oberammergau about 11 am. We drove around looking for hotels in the city; we stopped at one hotel and checked out the beds, didn’t get a good feel so decided to look some more. Barbara wanted to stop at the Wolf Hotel....Jim didn't want to because there was a bus just letting off a lot of tour people. But Barbara insisted and so we stopped. Jim got out of the car mumbling to himself but Barbara said maybe they were just stopping for lunch. They were gone for a long time. Jim returned with a big smile on his face….they’d found a great hotel and Jim admitted that Barbara was right about her hunch. The tour was only staying for lunch.

Also, they were very excited about finding a young man in his late 20’s who is now living in Europe and is from California. His name is Doug Minder. He is living in Vienna, but has been in Germany on business for a few weeks staying in Munich. He’s on a two year exchange program with his company Deloitte, Touche an accounting firm. He has been in Europe for about a year and a half so he has a working knowledge of the language. He had come to town on the train and was excited about joining us in the car to tour some of the sights.

After we’d put things in our rooms…Barbara was excited, because she has a larger room with two beds in it. Doug joined us and we drove to the Monastery Ettal. Located just out of town; it has a miraculous statue of the Virgin Mary with child from the twelve hundreds and because of that this became a famous Monastery for pilgrimages. It also had a painting of St. Barbara being beheaded. This whole area is known for religious woodcarvings.

The town of Oberammergau is where they hold the Passion Play every ten years since 1634 because of the Black Plague. They promised to put on a play every ten years if God cured them from the plague. All the houses are painted on the outside, many with religious statues and paintings. Many homes and businesses have large crucifixes on the outside of the homes. Most of the paintings are done in Fresco technique which is painting on wet plaster. Then we went to lunch at a hotel across from the Ettal Monastery and learned about dark and light beer. Jim and Barbara had mushroom soup, I had onion soup and Doug had goulashsuepe.

Back on the road we then went to see one of the Lugwig II castles.: Linderhof. A small, but very ornate castle with lots of gold leaf. This castle was one of the few that he completed and because of this he spent most of his time here. The tour was in German but we had a manual with an English translation. Then we went to see the Church in the Meadow. Out in the middle of the countryside was this beautiful large church called the Weis Kirche. The interior was mostly in light blue. There was a miraculous picture of Christ with tears down his checks. Another of the pilgrimage churches. This took most of the afternoon.

We then returned to our hotel and went walking to find something for dinner. Ended up at one of the hotels we’d been looking for earlier in the day. It was called the Alte Post Hotel. The restaurant was very smoky but we’re finding that it’s hard to find one that isn’t. We were seated towards the back of the room which was better. I had Wien Rostbraten (roast beef), Barbara had Wiener Schnitzel ,Jim had a combination plate called Bayer Platte and Doug ate Paprikaschnitzel. A slow walk back to the hotel made a delightful end to a wonderful day of touring. Barbara found that she did not have any English channels on her TV. And they would not change the TV set for her! Jim ended up with digestive problems, but Barbara had medicine for him that worked wonders!

In response to a Reader's Comment: It's been so many years but maybe Jim was a bit grumpy after the frustrating night of bed switching! Good call. As to McDonald's...with a little research I discovered that they opened their first McDonald's Franchise in 1954 in the USA and the first in France in 1972...and I understand that the International McDonald's accounts for a large percentage of their profits; maybe it's because the American tourists enjoy finding a touch of home where ever they go in the world. There are many other American fast food companies in Europe now, but McDonald's remains our favorite especially now that they offer free wi-fi service. Thanks for asking....

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