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Friday, July 26, 2013

Europe Trip Day 3: Castle Tour & Munich

For the 3rd day we had booked a King Ludwig (yes crazy King Ludwig II) castle tour through Gray Line Tours. So early the morning of May 27th we hopped on the subway one stop to where we met the tour bus in Munich. There are several tour companies that do a similar tour but this one seemed to have the best reviews and we liked the idea of the bus taking your to the places and getting your tour tickets with timeslots/meeting times for you whereas some other tours led you their via public transit or didn't arrange the entrance tickets.

It was pretty chilly and raining while we were waiting to board the bus. Everyone standing there couldn't wait to get on the bus and I remember thinking that the castles wouldn't be as pretty or fun in the rain. When we boarded the bus a little after 8am there was a digital display of the outside temp and it said 6 degrees Celsius. We didn't know exactly what that correlated to but we knew 0 was 32 degree Fahrenheit. And now just looking it up it's 42.8 Fahrenheit. Definitely chilly!

It was a 1 hour 15 min drive to the first castle, Linderhof Palace near Oberammergau. There was a gorgeous view of the Alps on the drive there and slowly the temperature was climbing so we were hopeful it wouldn't stay cold the whole day. It had stopped raining when we got there and we had a 10 minute walk to the palace.

The tour guide was very knowledgeable and had great English (I believe she was British). There were no pictures allowed inside, sorry. She started off with some history about Ludwig and the castle. This was the only one of his castles finished in his lifetime. He lived there for 8 years. Then we went to various rooms that were part of the tour (the castle had more rooms than are part of the tour). There was one room that had gold fleck painted over everything it seemed. The symbol of the sun is everywhere throughout the palace.

There was a hall of mirrors that he especially liked as he slept during the day and was awake at night and this room reflected the lights from candles a thousand times. His bedroom had a large royal blue velvet bed. And the most interesting room/item was the "dumb waiter" table in his dining room or as called by our guide, "the table that served itself". It was set below in the kitchen by his staff and then raised up to his dining room so he did not have to be disturbed, although they set it for 4 people because Ludwig had imaginary people he talked to while eating. Again, this is crazy King Ludwig.

Right outside were lovely grounds and a garden area.

On the way back to the bus we set up the tripod so I could take a few shots of the four of us. It was really just so beautiful.

We departed Linderhof and arrived in the little town of Oberammergau 30 minutes later, at 11:15am. It was then that the first sunshine of our trip happened! It was getting warmer too so we no longer felt chilly.

It has little shops and such and you can tell it mainly thrives on tourism.

It is also famous for it's Passion Play, first performed in 1634 and then once every 10 years. Now it is performed in years ending with zero and on big anniversaries of the original play like 1984 (350th anniversary).

We strolled around looking at a few shops and the outside of the theater where the passion play is performed and we had basically felt we spent more than enough time there.

The bus then left to make the drive to the other Ludwig castle we would see that day, Neuschwanstein (it's one German word I mastered saying correctly mainly so I could talk about the castle). You could see it far in the distance on top of a mountain as the bus got close to the town. The BIG one. The one that you dreamed of as a little girl. THE DISNEY CASTLE. Disney literally modelled his castle after this one.
So pumped so pumped (well at least Megan and I were... boys were probably napping)!

The bus parked at the in a little town at the bottom of the hilltop that the mountain was on. It has several shops, restaurants and a hotel.

We looked at a few menus and most seemed over-priced so we went to a little hot dog stand where the boys could get hot dogs and Megan and I had cheese, tomato and lettuce sandwiches.

Then we started to make the trek up to where the castle was. This was a long and steep hike. I tried to show it in a photo but it was kinda hard to capture. Just trust me, this was no easy walk. They do have a trolley option but we felt up to walking. Thank goodness it was not cold and rainy or I might have felt different about a steep hike with slippery pavement.

View down on the town.

Once there it wasn't time for our tour yet and we wanted to find Mary's Bridge. There was a little construction going on around a walkway so it took us a bit to find it so we had to walk there pretty quickly and didn't have a lot of time there. It was fairly crowded with people too. But I was able to get some nice shots of the castle.

Like I said, a fairy tale right?

We booked it back to the castle where we were supposed to meet for our tour time. If you miss your tour time you do not get to go in (a big reason why we liked the organized bus trip). Again there were no photos inside.

We had a guided tour here too but the guide's English wasn't quite as easy to understand as the last castle. This castle was obviously much bigger but a lot even though it was going to have 200 rooms only 15 of those were completed.

It had a big throne hall, another hall and a huge chandeliers.

The kitchen was seen after the tour on the way out of the castle so I was able to snap a quick picture.

After the tour before the walk back down.

We walked back down to the bus which took us back to Munich and we arrive around 6:30pm so it was time for dinner. Eric had picked out a restaurant with Bavarian food known for their different kinds of meatballs, Zwickl near the market.

Keith and I each got the traditional beef and pork meatballs with a potato and bean salad. The side sounded strange but it was delicious.

Eric had a lamb "meatball" dish with potatoes.

And Megan had spinach and cheese non-meatballs with salad.

They had these delicious pastes on every table to eat with the meatballs... a mustard based one, pesto based, and tomato based. We had a hard time deciding which one was the best. They were all yummy and nicely complimented the meatballs.

I think this was everyones' favorite meal in Munich (even though Italian the first night was awesome, this time we weren't jet lagged and could enjoy being out more). Reasonably priced and friendly English-speaking waitstaff too. I would definitely eat there again! Go if you are ever in Munich!

After dinner we went in search of dessert but couldn't find something open. We found that kind of odd... we didn't have such great luck with desserts in Munich. Thankfully we did not have that problem in the other cities!

So we had a great tour of the castles, got to see the sun appear and had a fabulous dinner! Next up... travelling to Salzburg!

1 comment :

  1. I loved looking at all of the photos of the castles in Europe. What a neat experience!


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