Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Castles Tour

I used to be of the opinion that organized bus tours are for old people and people who do not know how to travel.  After this day my mind is changed forever.  There were a few days of this holiday that were pretty rough for me, and I was getting tired of planning and navigating and being in charge.  Up to this point, my favorite day so far had been Monaco, because all I had to do was show up and then my friend took care of the details.  This day confirmed it, when someone else plans and does the navigating/transportation, the day is a millions times more stress free.  I will not hesitate in the slightest from doing another organized tour.  I signed up in the first place because getting to these two castles outside of Munich, while definitely possible, is hard to do by yourself, navigating the local German public transportation, all in one day.  I knew it would be the only way I could see both castles in the same trip, so I bit the bullet.  And heavens be praised I did.

As mentioned in the previous post, the first stop was Oberammegau.  After that, we were off to the first of the two castles, Linderhof.  Both of these castles were built by King Ludwig II (1845-1886), who became king suddenly at 18 at the unexpected death of his father.  Ludwig had been a shy boy who loved reading and through his studies fell in love with the old kings of France from 200 years prior.  When he became king he had a lot of ideas of things he wanted to change (like teaching soldiers to play musical instruments instead of how to fight, so the enemy came to do battle they would be charmed by the music and quickly realize how wrong the idea of war is), but quickly ran into trouble with the ministers of his day, who had very different ideas and got what they wanted.  Also early into his reign he was forced by reasons beyond his control to sign a treaty with the rest of Germany, making Bavaria a dependent state whereas before it was independent.  Because of these various disappointments, Ludwig II decided that he might as well retreat from reality and go build amazing palaces to live in and enjoy his own way of life away from people who didn't think like he did.

The only castle he finished in his lifetime was Linderhof.  Ludwig II was obsessed with Versailles, and this palace was inspired from the way the older French kings lived.  I had mentioned earlier, once you've seen one fancy palace, you've seen them all.  Until you've seen Linderhof.  OMG.  OMG.  Nothing can describe the extravagance.  As the tour progressed, each room was more ornate and detailed and over the top than the previous.  If I had a palace like that, I would definitely not live in reality either.  We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, so the outside pictures are ones I took myself, and the inside ones are ones I found on the internet.

Also while at Linderhof, I bought an Apfelstrudel!  Delish!!

After Linderhof, we were off to Neuschwanstein!  This is the fairy tale castle that you always see in pictures.  This castle was never completely finished, King Ludwig II dying under mysterious circumstances when he was in his 40's.  We did get to tour a lot of the castle that had been completed though.  King Ludwig II was obsessed with the music and operas of Wagner, and this palace was a tribute to his idol.  Again, we weren't allowed to take pictures inside, so the outside ones are mine, and the inside ones are from the internet.

Also appropriate for this post are my pictures of the next day, which was my trip to the Frankfurt Temple.  It was a long and expensive train ride, but the temple was lovely.  It was small and not very busy, but the people there were all very friendly.

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