you don"t need to save the crystal for a special day, even water tastes better in a "Fancy Glass"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

finding Christmas in Bavaria Pt.2

Well, I have been here 3 days, Mom arrived and we have been having a wonderful time. Yesterday was simply magical. It has been a long time since I really saw snow. (Tokyo gets an occasional flurry but not accumulation) But I got my wish for some snowy-christmas-adventures yesterday!

Our hotel provided a service to link up to a sight seeing tour out to the Bavarian alps and to Neuschwanstein. The gorgeous alpine area lies just about 2hrs from downtown Munich so a day trip was very easy. We had a hearty breakfast. The highlight of which for me, was a whole honey comb that you could slice a hunk of honey from and have on excellent homemade bread with rich creamy butter.

the bus set up was a bit hard to understand as we joined the tour, but after it sorted itself out things went very smoothly. Uta was our guide, and though a bit odd she was friendly and informative. On German tours, punctuality is everything! so things moved in a very quick and scheduled pace. The theme of the day was King Ludwig II. Fairytale castles.

We first visited the tiny palace of Linderhof. Very ornate, and quite gogeous. (and very cold!) and then we stopped in a lovely Alpine village of Oberammergau (famous for it's once a decade performance of the passion play of christ- which has been going on since the Plague times.) Oberammergau is filled with lovely Alpine houses and shops with frescos painted on the walls. It is really like walking through a postcard.

But the jewel of the day was finally seeing Neuschwanstien. What an amazing place. And the weather made everything icy, snowy and totally gorgeous. The castle was never completed inside, with most of the decor being done only on the floor of the King's royal apartment. The entire castle, all the furnishings and wall coverings were inspired by Wagner's operas as King Ludwig was a huge Wagner fan.

You take a horse carriage to the top, near to the castle, then a brisk 10 minute walk for the last part. And you are inside. everything is stunning. My favorite room was the king's bedroom which it took 14 woodcarvers 4 1/2 years to complete! I was also greatly impressed by the byzantine inspired throne room.

King Ludwig died under myserious circumstances long before he could see the completion of the castle, and it was open for tourists just 6 weeks after his death!

Back in the bus, and two hours later back to our hotel where we had a lovely dinner and slept the deep sleep of those who spend a day up in the mountains and snow.

--top pictures clockwise from top left-- bavarian snow scape walking to Linderhof/ painted walls of Oberammergau/ Neuschwanstein in the snowy evening/ Bavarian village street.

Tomorrow we are off to Nurnberg.
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