Day 8 (part 1) – Castles, Oberammergau and Salzburg

We woke up early the next morning as we wanted to get checked out, put our luggage in the car and eat breakfast – all by 9:00 am, so that I could hightail it over to the church.  Miraculously, we managed this although we were a bit delayed by breakfast.  Herr Raidel served the bread, meat and cheese selection at each table as they arrived, rather than having guests serve themselves at a buffet, which a lot of pensions do. This created something of a backup.  Luckily, we were one of the first ones down so didn’t have to wait too long.

Tilman Reimenschneider altar

At 9 am, we had everything accomplished and I quickly headed for the entrance of St. Jakob’s Church (Pat went shoe shopping, but made it to the church a little later). The church construction started in 1311 as a Catholic church, but in 1525, it was the scene for the reading of the Articles of the Reformation, and became Lutheran after Martin Luther’s reform. My main purpose in seeing the church, other than the history, was to see the works of Tilman Riemenschneider.  He was a master wood-carver of the 16th century and carved two wooden altars for this church in the early 1500’s.  They were every bit as breathtaking as I thought they would be. Plus I was happy that the church allowed photographs, as so many do not.  The chancel pews, which date back to 1514, were exquisite also, and were carved by a Rothenburg master craftsman.

Dragging myself away from the church, I hit the streets again and found a charming Christmas shop selling hundreds of ornaments. It was huge – I wandered through room after room of ornaments and creches, but finally settled on a few and made my purchases.  They had a wide variety of ornaments – everything from glass to metal to charming wooden figures.

Finally, Pat and I met up and headed out after stopping by a cafe on the way out to stock up on a few snacks. We were soon heading down the Autobahn (A7) towards Fussen, which is in the southern part of Germany.  We were going to Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for Disney’s castle.  Unfortunately, we were not going to have the time to go inside. The castle sits up in the mountains and involves a half hour walk uphill, plus additional time to wait in line to buy the ticket and then wait for your guided tour.  If we went inside, we would not be able to make it to Salzburg by that evening, since we had a few other stops on the way.  But we did want to at least see it.

Schloss Hohenschwangau

And see it we did.  Several hours later, we saw the signs for the castle and turned off the highway to head in that direction.  There are actually two castles next to each other – Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau – both of which were built by “Mad” King Ludwig II in the late 1800’s.  Ludwig never even had a chance to finish Neuschwanstein before he was kicked off the throne and died, so most of the palace is unfurnished.

Schloss Neuschwanstein

The surrounding area was beautiful and would have been worth a look even without the castles, but we did enjoy looking at the palaces.  It was a picturesque  view and I can imagine Walt Disney gaining inspiration from the castle.  The area below was crammed with tourists, which detracted from the setting, but we got many photos of the gorgeous castles nestled into the mountains.

We headed next to Schloss Linderhof, another of the royal palaces, which was about 50 minutes away near Oberammergau (site of the Passion Play).  As we drove towards our destination, we kept stopping to take photos of the incredible landscapes.  We were in the Bavarian Alps region and the area had an abundance of high mountains, huge green fir trees and pristine blue lakes that lay snugly at the bottom of the mountains.  I felt like I had stepped out of the pages of “Heidi.”

After spending as much time there as we dared, we got back on a B highway (2-3 lanes as opposed to the high-speed Autobahn) and drove through curvy mountain roads to our next destination, Schloss (Palace) Linderhof.  This castle was another of of the royal palaces and the gardens were supposed to be spectactular.  I would have liked to go into the palace but you could only enter by guided tour, and we would have had to wait another hour for the next one. So we contented ourselves with a free tour of the gardens, which were every bit as splendid as I had been led to believe.

Part of Linderhof gardens

The formal gardens were huge and fascinating and covered with floral displays and ornate statuary. It was a beautiful day and we took our time wandering through the various gardens, and snapping photos of each other and the outdoors.  There were several interesting outbuildings, including one that looked somewhat middle-eastern, and beautiful stone staircases leading up to other gardens.

Pat at Linderhof gardens

PART 2 TO COME!

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. widi
    Sep 14, 2010 @ 07:34:25

    The picture made me feel as though I was with you on the trip.

    Reply

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