Our day to venture into the Bavarian Alps to tour King Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle had arrived. The morning started off very chilly with a forecast of 30 degrees and snow!
We had a bit of a drive and it did start to snow on our way, fortunately the snow stopped prior to our arrival. There were a lot of low hanging clouds which gave our first glimpse of the castle a rather mystical view. This castle is known as The Fairytale Castle and that it is.
It is easy to see how when Walt Disney visited Neuschwanstein in the 1930’s he got his inspiration for what we know as Disney’s Magic Kingdom. We had the option to take a shuttle up to the castle or do the walk up, we did the walk up. It was quite a hike to reach the castle but even with the overcast day there were some beautiful vistas of the Hohenschwangau valley and as we climbed the view continued to get better as the trees surrounding the valley were starting to show off their fall colors. Upon arriving at the castle and doing a walk around to see various views of the exterior we entered the castle for our tour.
The interior of the castle wasn’t complete at the untimely death of King Ludwig but the completed area of the castle was opened as a museum 6 weeks after his death. We did see several rooms that were complete and found out there was even running water complete with flushing toilets...pretty modern considering it was 1886! The decor was very lavish and included several fresco paintings, crystal chandeliers and quite a grand kitchen full of copper pots. Once the tour was complete we were on our way back down the hill. After some time to warm up and have lunch we were on our way to Oberammergau.
Oberammergau is a small village that is well know for it’s production of the Passion Play which is performed every 10 years and began in1634. It is believed that during this time the Black Plague was sweeping across Europe wiping out many villages.
The residents of Oberammergau prayed to be spared and promised God that if they were spared the Passion of Christ would be reenacted every 10 years. The town was spared and this pledge has been kept for over 350 years. In order to be part of the production you have to be resident of the village.
It takes over 2,000 people from a village of 5,300 to make this happen……now you can understand why it is only performed every 10 years. The village is also known for it’s wood carving and is home to the state of Bavaria’s wood carving school. Along with the school there are many shops selling wood carvings and cuckoo clocks. Oberammergau also has a bit of a storybook look to it. Many of the building exteriors having painted frescoes of Bavarian themes, fairytales, and religious scenes.....I spotted Little Red Riding Hood on one.
It is very pretty just driving through the village taking in all the frescoes and the window boxes full of vibrant flowers on nearly every building. Time to head back to Munich and a trip to the Hofbrau Haus for dinner. One more day………is our trip really almost over??