Wednesday, September 24th, 1997 Oberammergau, Germany
Breakfast at 8:00 AM. Then in the car and off to Neuschwanstein Castle before 9 AM. Trying to get there early due to possible long lines. Arrived just after it opened; Jim & Dave decided to walk up and Shari & I elected to pay the fee of 8 DM to ride the horse pulled wagon up the hill. Still had to walk a piece but was much easier. Didn’t have to stand in line very long before we were inside on our twenty minute tour through the twenty some rooms that were actually finished. The English tour was lead by a young English gentleman who had quite an accent so we sometimes had trouble understanding the king’s English; but, he did seem knowledgeable when asked questions. Shari was very impressed with the quality of the castle; especially the king’s bedroom and the Singers’ Hall where they still hold Wagner Concerts. This being my second time through the castle, it's amazing how many little things you miss on your first time!
We all walked down the hill and then up the shorter hill to Hohenschwangau; Ludwig’s childhood home. We were all very impressed with the quality and condition of this castle which was really used as a home by the royal family and is still owned by the Bavarian Royal family although it is now only a museum. On the walk down we stopped at a bench and had our sandwiches from breakfast as we enjoyed the quiet forest quality of our surroundings.
Back in the car we headed for the church in the meadow known as Weiskirche. It is located out in the country and there are cows in the meadows right up against the church. Amazing to see the Baroque Style; lots of gold; wonderful paintings, etc. in a church located out in the middle of the countryside. It is a pilgrimage church and is visited by thousands of people every day.
On to Schloss Linderhof on the other side of the mountain from Oberammergau. It was the only one of Ludwig II’s castles that he actually finished building. He lived here for about two weeks of every month for about eight years. Picked up ice cream bars for the walk to the palace from the parking area. Had to wait for a short time and again we had an English tour which was very good.
Shari’s favorite rooms were the King’s bedroom and the Hall of Mirrors. The home is patterned after the French palaces; especially Versailles and is therefore very elaborate with lots of gold leaf on walls and statutes. After leaving the palace we proceeded to walk up the hill by way of the arbors to the Grotto. An artificially made grotto complete with stalactite and stalagmites. There is a pond with a boat and all kinds of special effects that were very unusual for the 19th Century in the central part of the Grotto.
Three castles in one day was a full agenda for all of us. But we really enjoyed all of them and the grounds that went with them. Saw some people para-sailing in the sky. Wonderful area for that sport with the high cliffs and the wide green areas for landing. Back to Oberammergau for a brief bit of shopping and a short rest in the room before dinner.
We talked to five different American couples after dinner at the Wolf Restaurant. Two from Downey area were seated next to us; one of the ladies had shopped in Shari’s store! The husbands were police office in LA and they knew Jim's friend Mel, a policeman from bicycling days, and also some good friends of Dave & Shari. They told us a great story about the police in Stuttgart helping them find a room for the night when they found that they couldn’t find a room. One of the men was born in Germany and had lived here for 13 years before he left. Probably about 45 years of age. Hadn’t been back since. He’d never seen his father during all those years and they’d spent two days with him at the beginning of the trip and were going back before leaving again. He still spoke excellent German and also had taken them to visit other relatives in the area.
The other people were three couples from Utah traveling together. We shared some stories…they are also staying at the Wolf and after talking to us were going to try for reservations at the Elefant Hotel in Salzburg…their next stop. Shari & I had meet Peggy at the store while shopping prior to dinner. Made it an early evening as we were all very tired from all the walking today!