A quick 2 hour airplane hop from Barcelona led to a nostalgic return to Bavaria. We passed by the Olympic Village and the BMW tower that Brad and Michelle visited twenty years ago.

We started our evening at a local “biergarten”, and it brought back great memories as we enjoyed sweinschnitzel, brats, and Brad consumed a 0.5l beer rather quickly. Gabriel enjoyed the playground at the garten and had no problem conversing with the German children there.

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We took in a few sites close to the hotel, including the Marienplatz which is renowned for the Rathaus-glockenspiel atop the church where figures revolve as the clock chimes on the hour at 11, 2 and 5.

20130715-211031.jpgMarienplatz

The next day (Monday), we embarked on a day-long castles tour commissioned by the Bavarian King Ludwig II. The Bavarian landscape is beautiful as many quaint villages are nestled amongst the majestic Alps.

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Linderhof is the smaller castle where Ludwig spent most of his time. He was reclusive, probably suffered from paranoia, and died mysteriously at the age of 40 in 1886. “The Mad King” never married (irony there – doesn’t marriage cause madness?). He was heavily influenced by French kings and architecture, especially King Louis XIV. Linderhof is very ornate and decorative and with beautiful gardens similar to Versailles.

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20130717-101727.jpgAubrey and swans, a favorite of the king

Next stop: Oberammergau. This town is famous for the skilled wood workers and the Passion Play that is performed every decade, a live depiction of the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord. It was begun in 1645 as a way to thank God for sparing their village of the Bubonic Plague that devastated this region during this time. Talk about salvation appreciation! Only the locals are cast, and great lengths are take for authenticity, to include the part of Mary being portrayed as an unmarried woman, without children.

20130715-215109.jpgOberammergau

Neuschwanstein castle or new castle, was built on a ridge high above the Pollat Gorge with magnificent mountains as a background. The castle was built and furnished in medieval style. Ludwig was upset that his kingdom was now ruled by Prussia, so the castle was his “alternative world” where he could imagine he was an absolute king of the Middle Ages. Construction of the castle originally called Wartburg, began in 1869 was never completed. Today this castle is one of the most famous anywhere and serves as the model for Disney.

20130715-215510.jpgNeuschwanstein

We took the horses up the hill – Gabriel of course co-piloting:

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On to Nuremberg Tuesday.

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