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Munich, Germany

GERMANY | Friday, 25 January 2008 | Views [995] | Comments [4]

When I arrived in Munich I found my hotel easily enough and settled in for the afternoon. My legs demanded I do a few miles so I hit the streets and stumbled across some grand old German buildings including the Feldherrnhalle in Odeonsplatz, some in Konigsplatz and the best in Mariensplatz which has the awesome Neues Rathaus building. I haven´t got any more tourist info on these places so I can´t give you the history lesson for the day, hehe, sorry ´bout that.

But I really came here for Ludwig II´s two castles - Linderhof and Neuschwanstein. I got the prime seat in the double-decker tourist coach, right up the front on the top level, and as we hit the autobahn, the Alps in the distance got closer, and I had recall flashes of Salzburg which I liked so much. But its on the smaller country roads that the Bavarian character really shows its charm :). It was a beautiful sunny day and even the -3C didn´t dissuade me from enjoying it. I´d forgotten about  the squeaky crunch of walking in snow and the postcard landscapes in every direction.

Linderhof was Ludwig´s little retreat and is one of the smallest castles around. But it is exquisite! He styled everything after the French Louis XIV and its resplendent in gilt gold leaf, porcelain from France and China, silk embroidery and gemstones adorning eveything. It was as though he had walked out of the room before we walked in as the place is completely original and in pristine condition - quite extraordinary!. He certainly had some good taste :). The rest of the grounds were off limits as most of it snowed over in the winter and covered up for its protection.

The next stop took us to Oberammergau, a delightful Bavarian village where I definitely knew I was in the land of the Grimm Brothers. Their houses are painted with various fairytale characters including Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and my favourite, Puss in Boots :). This town survived the black plague in the old times and they perfom the Passion of Christ every 10 years to honour their promise if they survived. There were a few elderly people skiing along the roadside getting their exercise (I´m sure they´d outlive most of us!).

Then we stopped for lunch at the base of Neuschwanstein which has been setup to cater just for the tourists. Some people talk the horse-drawn cart up to the top, but I walked the half a mile to the castle which sits about half way up the slopes of a precipitous alpine mountain. The views were awesome from up there :). Now I had heard about Ludwig´s eccentricity before but, yes, he was a strange bloke. Firstly he drained the Bavarian coffers dry with his elaborate castle building, and he was found dead under suspicious circumstances aged 40. So only 20 of the 60 rooms in the castle were ever finished being constructed. Then he dedicated the whole castle to Richard Wagner and his music, so every room has elaborate wall paintings of scenes from Wagner´s operas like Tannheuser. The paintings were done on canvas and made to look like tapestries by unknown but very good artisits.

The main throne room never had a throne in it, but the floor is an awseome mosaic of 2 million pieces of tile, and the guy was loopy about swans! He had aboot 140 swans adorning his bedroom in various designs, like the door handes and the water spouts. I didn´t know the castle had running water - warm and cold, and it even had a telephone system so he could communicate with the servants! I suppose it was 1868, however and these things had already been invented. Incidently, the first ´tourists´ came to the castle 6 months after the King´s death, and the´ve been coming ever since!. One other left-of-centre idea of the King was to have his own man-made cave built next to his bedroom, which was designed after the Venus Grotto in one of Wagner´s operas (I´m going to have to start listening to his music again - I always thought Wagner was like the heavy metal of classical which is pretty cool, hehe).

So after another exhilerating day of mountain air and snow, the tour finished up and most of us enjoyed a kip in the bus during the 100km trip back to Munich. I´m happy another little goal of mine has been achieved :).

I´ll be spending a day in Heidelburg, but probably won´t be posting any stories until I reach Mexico this weekend. Wow, now that´s gonna be a culture shock after this European vacation!

Until then, stay cool ;)

Tags: Sightseeing

Comments

1


Hey Matt, you will be getting used to that cold by now hey? Some wonderful views and you seem to be moving at some pace too.

Have a great time and catch up with ya later on m8~!
Cheers,
Andy :)

  Andy Snowden Jan 25, 2008 9:47 PM

2

hey matty...all sounds pretty cool...great u got to see what you desired...hope you have a safe journey to mexico...c u then..take care mon

  Chris Jan 26, 2008 9:47 PM

3

Did u see the Glockenspiel in Munchen?
Neuschwanstein must have been awesome in the snow, we were there in autumn and enjoyed the changing colours of the foliage.Were you game enough to go onto the swinging bridge? Trudi chickened out, she's scared of heights. Oberammergau was also a favorite. Hope you have enjoyed Heidelberg and the Schloss like we did.A beautiful city, and to think that we lived within 10 min. of it and only visited the place once in the years we lived in Hemsbach, is unforgivable!
How different from wonderful Europe will Mexico be! Enjoy the diversity, Matt. Take care and stay safe.
It's very hot in west Oz since quite some time,we could do with a bit of 'weather'! Australia day was celebrated with some speccy fire works in Freo as well this year, and today is our public holiday,once again 37 degrees!
keep entertaining us with your fantastic stories.
Love A/Barb xx

  barb grant Jan 28, 2008 1:05 PM

4

HI Matt, WE were equally impressed with Neuschwanstein, I had the impulse to touch all the swan door handles, imagining that in years gone by they had been touched by kings and queens, but Shane spoiled my fantasy, reminding me that the servants most likely opened the doors, LOL. just to recature Roma.....I just adore Rome, how fabulous is DAVID....and Castel-de-Angelo was one of by fav places. we visited Trevi, 3 times, once at night, soooo romantic, and yes we will return one day.
enjoy your hectic pace, stay safe. Anna

  Anna Jan 28, 2008 2:24 PM

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