Sunday, December 28, 2008

Linderhof, Oberammergau and Neuchwanstein

On the 27th, we continued on our worldwind tour of all the winter wonderland tourist spots. from Munich (yes, we travelled back late on the 26th), we took a bus to a number of beautiful spots in Southern Germany. The first stop was Linderhof, the residence of Ling Ludwig II of Bavaria during the last 4 years of his life. Built in the late 1800s, it is tiny, but over the top. It seems Ludwig was idolized Louis XIV and hence, you find paintings of Louis and his mistresses throughout the palace... and a mini version of the Hall of Mirrors (since I am in Paris now, perhaps I should check out the real one in Versailles).

Next stop was Oberammergau, a town famous for the Passion Play which is conducted every 10 years, purportedly in thanks for the cessation of deaths due to the plague. 2010 will be the 14th play. We didn't see the play obviously, but were able to appreciate the murals on the sides of the buildings and the woodcarvings the town is also famous for. Truly art!

And finally, the main event. We arrived at the bottom of a 40 minute trail up to Neuschwanstein, Ludwig's famous fairy tale castle... the one that Disney fashioned the magic kingdom after. And like Disney, Luidwig created a different theme in each castle and even each room. Neuschwantein was designed as a tribute to Wagner, with each room dedicated to a different opera... but as it Wagner die, he wasn't able to visit... and later Ludwig died, leaving the castle unfinished. His family, unable to repay all his building debts (he apparently didn't use German taxes, but his own funds to create these over the top luxuries), stopped the building and turned them into museums.

And on the way down, it is possible to have an excellent view of Hohenschwangau Castle... a castle built by Ludwig's father Maximillian II of Bavaria. Ludwig lived there as a child. Interestingly, "schwan" means swan. Note that it appeats in the names of both of these castles. In Neuschwanstein, there were plenty of swans, painted, embroidered, etched, gilded and those made of Nymphenburg porceline. Ludwig loved this stuff... someday I will buy mom a souvenir, but at the moment, I can't afford such a swan!

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