Thursday, May 19, 2011


No need to bless me; these are two small towns on the Austrian/German border filled with all the gingerbread and oom-pahs most of us associate with Germany. They are lovely towns, and we had a great three days there.

Firstly, our rooms. We stayed at the Fiakerhof, which is in Partenkirchen, and was recommended by the friend of a friend. Deb; make sure you get to stay there next time! We felt so pampered. We had a foyer,

a living room/kitchen,

two full bedrooms, and two full baths. Oh, and two balconies, both of which looked out on the Alps.

One balcony had this lovely carving just above it, typical of the decor of the Fiakerhof.

Our first day there was cold and rainy, so we chose to sleep in and hang around the hotel. We did make forays to a grocery store and a bakery, but, otherwise, it was all about sleep, getting back some of the energy we had been using, and just staying out of the cold and wet.

On our second day, we visited two castles and almost got lost again! Linderhof and Neuschwanstein, two castles which were built for Ludwig II, the last king of Bavaria, are very different buildings. Ludwig, who liked to live alone, spent the last 8 years of his life living at Linderhof. It is a tiny place, with gaudy decoration. He also built a grotto there for the purpose of having a private performance of Wagner's opera, Tannhäuser. It seemed a creepy lifestyle; living alone except for servants, and living in a dream world where everything was heroic, grand and perfect. Neuschwanstein, which you have probably seen in mant films, was never finished and Ludwig lived in it for less than a year before he died under mysterious circumstances. It is decorated with murals of the various Wagner operas; Tristan and Isolde, Tannhäuser, Parcival, etc. I preferred it's more stark, medieval atmosphere to the gilded Victorian gaudiness of Linderhof.

(I love my daughter's photography. I hate that she takes very artistic shots...and none of the overall subject! I just looked through and learned that we have NO shots of Linderhof or Neuschwanstein. We have shots of fountains, or architectural features, or animals or people around them. But no shots of THEM.)

Our third morning in Partenkirchen, we took time for a carriage ride hosted by our, well, host. The hosts at the Fiakerhof own a team and several carriages, as well as a sleigh for winter rides. They took us out for about an hour and a half, and Mary got to drive. More on that in my next post....After our drive, we loaded up the car, mailed some things home (too much shopping = too much to carry around Europe!) and headed out to Rothenberg. More on that in a future post...

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