We walked around his fountain outside the palace until it was time to go in. Our compulsory guided tour was quite full as there was a tour group scheduled for the same time. We just puttered through at the end and got to see everything just fine. The rooms themselves were once again incredibly ornate. He had dedicated one part of Linderhof to Louis XIV and the other to Louis XV so there were many rooms with decorations like the ones you would see in Versailles. Ludwig II also did not have any pictures of himself or his relatives anywhere in the palace, instead having paintings and busts of the Louis’. One of our favourite rooms was his dining room. As Ludwig II became more and more reclusive, he did not like to his servants around him. To accommodate his reclusiveness, servants wouldn’t bring him his dinner directly. The dining table would be lowered from the ground floor to the kitchen level (in the basement) and be set by the kitchen staff. They would then use the pulleys to raise the table back up to the dining room, completely set and ready for Ludwig’s dinner! Imagine trying to raise a dining table, about 8 ft by 4 ft, completely loaded without tipping it to one side. We also thought his room of mirrors was spectacular. He had it built so that you could look in one mirror and see the reflection of the others in it, creating the illusion of long corridors. In fact, the room was fairly small, but it was so heavily decorated that you could barely see any wall. Around all the mirrors on gilded ledges there were miniature porcelain vases. This was Ludwig’s favourite place to read and it was really quite spectacular.
After the tour we went back outside and walked up to the Venus grotto. He had the grotto built so that he could listen to his favourite Wagner operas. The grotto was based on a scene from one of the operas and was a fairly large, artificial cave. There was a small pond in the middle with a boat in the shape of a swan.
If he wanted to, he could be towed around in the boat while listening to his favourite operas. The grotto was one of the first places to get electricity in the region, around 1901, in order to operate the multi-coloured stage lights. We were beginning to see why Ludwig II had earned the nickname "mad" King Ludwig.
After the grotto we headed over to see some of the smaller buildings scattered throughout the gardens. There were two that were particularly interesting and seemed very out of place in a European palace complex. One was the Moroccan House and the other a Moorish kiosk. Both had been built for different International Exhibitions and since the king was quite taken with them, he bought them and had them, gotten then shipped to Linderhof, and then had them re-assembled there.
We headed back to the fountains in front of the palace to climb up the stairs for more views. Since it was still raining, we didn’t linger long and headed back to the van for a quick bite. We then continued on to the Ettal Monastery which was nearby and recommended for a quick stop. We found the parking and manoeuvered into a spot.
When we went to pay we found a ticket valid for the rest of the day that someone had left behind so we made use of it for the next 45 minutes before leaving it for someone else. The monastery is still used today and there is a private high school for almost 400 students as well. We went in to the church which is known for its Baroque design. The church was very heavily decorated with lots of paintings on the ceiling and gold decorations. It was a very bright church compared to some we had seen which used darker colours and dark marble.
Afterwards we stopped off in the town of Oberammergau which is known for its woodcarving and famous “Passion Play” that is done every ten years. Most of them were religious figures, but there were also some animal figures. We browsed shops out of curiosity for a bit, but headed out fairly quickly since they weren’t really our style. It was also pouring down rain so wandering from shop to shop wasn’t too much fun!
From there we continued on to Wieskirche, which is Germany’s greatest Rococo-style church according to our guidebook. It was also a very bright church with white and pastel colours. There were lots of cherubs, saints on pillars, paintings, fake fabric and gold decoration.
There was also a “domed” ceiling which was actually painted on a flat ceiling. We sat for a while looking all around before heading back out. We picked up a sugar doughnut on the way out and snacked on it while planning our route.
Afterwards we set off to Munich and managed to arrive at our campsite in the dark, despite our GPS’ instructions to turn down a bike lane (although it may have been the shortest path, we decided to ignore it– perhaps we missed a “vehicle type” setting?). We normally don’t turn on our GPS unless we are in a larger town where we don’t have a detailed map; regardless, we have learned to take its instructions with a grain of salt and I always double check with Anoop as to whether we should be listening to it or not. The Munich campsite was really busy and the sites were really small – you could barely fit a trailer beside a car on a single site! We were glad that we weren’t a big vehicle and manage to find a spot without any troubles. You could still see all the dead grass from the hundreds of tents that had been set up 1 foot apart from each other; we assume these were the tour groups hitting up Oktoberfest - luckily they were all gone by the time we arrived!
We set off in the rain to see Linderhof Palace, another of Ludwig II's creations. This one was actually completed and he lived there the most out of any of his palaces. In comparison to the other palaces we saw, Linderhof was quite small (perhaps that is why it was finished!). It was somewhat wet while we wandered around the grounds, but with one of us holding the umbrella and the other taking pictures, we seemed to manage.