After a comfortable night’s rest, we went to the Edelweiss Lodge for a scrumptious buffet breakfast and planned our day’s itinerary. I found a book at the local library and jotted down some of the sights we would like to visit. The maps are a bit confusing, so I would have to rely on my instincts and the car GPS system. It was a beautiful bright and
sunny clear day and would be a perfect day for traveling.
We plotted our course for the day and it would include a visit to a monastery, one of King Ludwig’s castles, and a church. Anything else on the way would be an added bonus. The GPS seemed to be in good order and recognized our first destination of the Linderhof Castle. We
drove up through the Bavarian mountains and passed through some quaint looking villages. Many of the houses are similar with their exterior painted white, green shudders and almost all of them had brown-painted balconies on the upper floors. Some of them include beautiful hand-painted murals to catch the eye of the weary traveler. This is a common sight in these towns and throughout Germany. They are known in German as a Gafthaus which I recall means guest house. These structures are basically bed and breakfast establishments for the tourists. I’m certain they are crowded during the summer season when the tourists flock to the Bavarian hillsides.
We were all impressed with how well the roads are paved in Germany. Not even the side streets had any potholes. As we traveled up the mountain side, the road was quite curvy and with my mother-in-law present, this wasn’t the time to pretend I was Mario Andretti. We finally reached the top of the mountain and saw an
awe-inspiring view of the Bavarian mountains. It wasn’t much further when we caught a glimpse of the massive 650 year old Benedictine monastery dome. I was trying to listen to the GPS instruction along with my passengers and I turned too early. So we drove around the back side of the monastery and then decided to visit it on the return trip. We were anxious to get to the
Linderhof Castle before the crowds did.
When we pulled into the castle parking lot, we weren’t sure we were at the right place because there were only a handful of parked cars and the tour bus parking lot had only one bus in it. This turned out to be a good thing since we would have the place all to ourselves. Although due to the winter season,
much of the tourist sites to include the gardens, giant fountain and the Grotto were sealed off until spring. But we were still able to tour the castle.
The Linderhof Castle is one of the youngest castles in Europe and is only about 120 years old. This was one of King Ludwig of Bavaria’s favorite castle and he spared no expense in the construction and decorating the interior. Tourists are not allowed to take pictures of the interior and have to buy the postcard collection if they want a recording of it. The interior was spectacular and everything seemed to be adorned in leaf-gold. All of the furniture, draperies, and paintings have been kept in pristine condition. The dining area was rather unique because the table was mechanical and could be lowered into the kitchen where servants would supply the king with fresh made food. King Ludwig insisted on having 12 course French meals.
Another peculiarity was the indoor heating and ventilation system. The grand fireplaces on display were never used to burn wood. Instead they were used as large heating ducts and in a lower level in the castle, large fires were built and the heat from the fires would disperse throughout the various castle rooms. Despite frigid temperatures outside, the castle interior was kept around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. We inquired about cleaning the crystal chandeliers because they were spotless. It’s a three day process and each chandelier has over 300 separate pieces.
We left the castle and departed for our next destination. I wanted to see the Wieskirche church I saw in a photograph. Our GPS recognized the site and provided us directions. The Wieskirche church was built in 1745 and it took 9 years to complete it. The church is still an active church used today. I was rather surprised that the
location was so far out in the countryside and very few villages were in the proximity of it. The interior was Rococo architecture and it was magnificent with its painted ceilings and the Aegidius Verheist sculptures. The centerpiece in the back of the church on the 2nd floor was an old pipe organ adorned in leaf-gold. The church is trying to raise $900,000 to clean and restore the pipes to their original condition.
For lunch, we stopped at a small roadside café to sample some good German sausage, croissant, and the local mustard. It wasn’t as good as I expected, but it filled the void in the stomach. While there, we walked down a
dirt path to get a better view of the large suspension bridge. Since we were at a lower elevation, there wasn’t any snow and it almost felt like fall season.
On the return trip, we decided to omit seeing the monastery and return to the cabin. I punched in the destination and followed the directions to a “T”. All of a sudden we saw signs that said
“Welcome to Austria.” Oops, did we take a wrong turn or did I punch in the wrong destination, I pondered. We decided to see if it would loop us back around. If not, we had our passports and were prepared in case a border guard inquired. Well, there was no border guard, just more magnificent sights and a lot more snow. The GPS took the shortest route back to our cabin, even though it involved going through another country. It was another great day!