Oberammergau, Linderhof and Garmitsch
In the morning we went to the Saturday morning market down the street. The town looks a little like Moscow but the market was pure Parisienne! The food however was of course, all German! There were cheese and wine stalls, wurst stalls, bread stalls, vegetable stalls and a great cake shop. The supermarket was stocked with all kinds of good things as well. We bought rolls and cold cuts for sandwiches and olives of all kinds and packed up for the first road trip.
We drove about an hour and a half though the snowy forest to the amazing alps. Our first stop was the town of Oberammgau famous for it's wood carvings. The cathedral was like a pink and white birthday cake inside. All of the beautiful houses are painted on the outside with very elaborate decoration around the windows and with paintings. Everything was snow-covered with the glorious Alps in everyone's backyards. Only one store was open but I got a wonderful hand carved Santa. We also looked at some marvelous music boxes.
Then we drove to Mad King Ludwig's little Versailles, Linderhof tucked into the mountains. Quite an estate! It had a few guesthouses, and very elaborate walkways and gardens. The house was a true 'studio castle' designed for one man only. It was a full tribute to King Louis XIV of France down to the gilded rooms and mirrors. It was neat to see this little castle after seeing the real Versailles in May and see how this Mad King was so infatuated with the King of France. The piece de resistance was the dining room table (for one) on the second floor, which was lowered down to the first floor where the servants placed all of the food and then lifted back into the dining room. This was so King Ludwig could eat alone in peace and splendor.
We then drove to Garmitsch-Partenkirchen where we were staying at this lovely old alpine hotel. We loved Garmitsch right away and decided to stay 2 nights. The shops were lovely and the alps the highest in Germany. I found out about how to take the train and cable car to the peak. We took a walk before dinner and looked in all the windows of the stores, everything was made glorious for Christmas and really got me in the mood. I knew the ladies we were with were going to do some damage to those shops!
I felt like I was in a James Bond movie staying in this town, reminiscent of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". We planned on going to the Cinderella castle (Neuschwanstein) via Austria (Hooray, a new country!) around noon the next day, as we were still a little jet lagged and sleepy at all the wrong times!.
I took lots of pictures on this trip that's for sure! Everything was like out of a fairy tale and with the snow it was a winter wonderland as well. The painted buildings with the Alps in the backround and the snow falling, was a real treat. The town in particular was right out of 'Heidi' or 'The Sound of Music' and we all kept singing 'The Lonely Goatherd' and 'Edelwiess' and the hiking song, 'Valderi'. And you should hear the church bells ring. The only thing better would be to have someone you love by your side to make the romantic picture complete.
We had diner in the hotel restaurant, which was
lots of fun and the food amazing. Being such a big group we could
always order a large variety of things and taste everyone's dishes.
That's the nice thing about travelling with family. I had lobster
soup and lamb. Joanne had the best dish, a big potato pancake on
a salad covered with melted goat cheese. Everyone decided they were
having that the next night! I was cold so I asked for something warm
and was served the first of many Gluhwein's. This is red wine with
spices, very Christmassy and hot. This became a big hit and everyone
drank cups of Gluhwein for the rest of the trip. We bought (and drank)
many bottles of it from lots of places and our taste tests resulted in
favorite being the one with blueberries - so we brought some of that home with us!