Onto a train again, this time heading for Munich. The train ended up having to take a big detour due to an accident on the track (sadly it was likely to be a suicide). We then had an unexpected train change due to the long delay caused and the toilets not coping. There goes my theory about Germans being super organised!
I finally arrived at my accommodation around 9pm. I made a quick trip to the local beer hall to bring me down after the long day on the train. It was a lovely old hall with dark rectangular timber tables and chairs and chandeliers. I could imagine it in full swing for Octoberfest!
Up early for my castles tour!
First stop Oberammergau – a cute little town which has a 5 000 seat open air theatre. The theatre was created in 1633 after the community made a promise to god to forevermore hold a play depicting the last years of the life of Jesus if the bubonic plague, which had taken 82 of the 300 population, stopped – therein begins The Passion Play.
The buildings in Oberammergau were quite cute – painted with murals depicting fables or biblical stories.
We then arrived at Linderhof (farm house near the Linder tree) Castle. The baroque style castle was built by King Ludwig the second, the King of Bavaria, in a style mimicking Versailles – apparently King Ludwig adored the 16th century French kings.
It was a cute castle, which you could actually imagine being lived in (it only had 10 rooms), which Ludwig did for eight years after it’s completion in 1867. Ludwig’s architect had a friend who was a stage director who was alluded to have influenced the design of the castle.
The castle was full of beautiful vases, one being a gift from Napolean. Ludwig didn’t dig the general custom of royalty to hoist a flag while in residence, preferring instead to have his servants place two decorated porcelain peacocks at the entry to indicate his presence.
Ludwig was a lover of music, Wagner being his favourite composer. He obtained an unusual instrument, a combination piano and harmonium, which was intended for Wagner’s use had he ever visited the king.
The three dimensional fresco ceilings were quite unique.
Ludwig had become a King at the young age of 18 in 1864, but given his castles he obviously dreamed big! He was known to be a night owl, breakfasting at night and riding on his sleigh through the surrounding forests.
The grounds held a Moroccan pavilion, which had been purchased at the Paris fair in 1878.
The next stop along the a Romantic Road was the Neuschwanstein castle, the lovely castle that had inspired Walt Disney’s castle for Sleeping Beauty. Further construction of the castle stopped on Ludwig’s death on 13th August 1886 – plans were for it to be much bigger.
It was a bit of a walk up to the castle and then onto Marien’s bridge. I found it a little daunting on the bridge suspended over the valley – there were lots of people on it so it was swaying quite a bit.
The interior of Neuschwanstein was very elaborate and a display of Ludwig’s interest in technology – he had batteries to run the lights in his artificial grotto and a telegrapher. His throne room was another example of his worldliness with Byzantine decoration and a lovely floor illustrating the Buddhist circle of life.
Poor old Ludwig was finally arrested in June 1886 on the basis of being paranoid but he was likely just depressed – a gay fat man living a very solitary life who wasn’t able to obtain the compliance from his people that he expected. He also had rotting teeth to the extent he held a handkerchief over his mouth to disguise the smell – can’t have been too pleasant!
He was found drowned in the lake the day after his arrest – he was only 40.
Before exploring the town of Munich Manuela, my Airbnb host, invited me to breakfast with her. It was lovely to chat about life in Bavaria – turned out I was staying in the ‘west end’ – another bohemian area of a city!
I found my way to the main square, which was surrounded by shops. Had a chuckle seeing a dog in the Dior cosmetics section while it’s owner made her purchase!
I wandered into St Michael’s in Marienplatz, where King Ludwig is buried – the omnipresent sun symbol indicating his presence.
The glockenspiel in the tower of the town hall was very cute.
This town, founded in 1158 by Henry the Lion of Saxony, was ruled by the monarch until 1918. Munich (and the other parts of Bavaria) had been a nice surprise – the towns so clean, the air so fresh.
The holiday was about to go on hold as I made my way to Frankfurt to attend the WHS World Congress.