South Bavaria
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We arrived in Munich during the late afternoon, checking into the Queens Munchen Hotel.  I was a bit disappointed that the hotel was some distance from the city center.   But we did do a tour of the city the following morning.  None of that is covered here because I described a previous visit to Munich in the pages for the "Central/Eastern Europe" tour I took in 2000.  Click here you want to learn about this beautiful capital city of Bavaria.

In the afternoon, we headed 80 miles further south into the Alps region of Germany, to the town of Garmisch, where we spent two wonderful days.  We stayed at the Obermuehle hotel.  Garmisch is located at the very foot of the Alps.  Here are photos I took of our hotel, the mountains from a distance, and views from the top (9, 700 feet) of Mt. Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany.  The last picture is from the balcony of my hotel room.  These photos speak for themselves.  Any comments I might make would be superfluous.


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Perhaps you can see now why I think Bavaria is one of the most beautiful places on this earth.

While we were staying in Garmisch, we took several excursions to nearby attractions.  First, the famous "fairy tale" castle of King Ludwig II, called Neuschwanstein Castle.  This is probably the most famous tourist attraction in all of Germany.  The king, was, to put it mildly, somewhat eccentric.  A lover of poetry, paintings and music, he became a fan of the music of Wagner, and managed to bankrupt Bavaria in his quest to build castles to honor the great composer (as well as to indulge himself).  The Bavarian government  finally forced a doctor to declare the king insane, so he could be removed from power.  Then , one day, after he was placed in  a sanatorium,  the ex-king and that same doctor went for a walk.  Both bodies were later discovered drowned in a nearby lake.  The authorities declared the tragedy to be a murder-suicide.  Yeah, right.

The castle foundations were laid in 1869, and the building was ready for occupancy by 1884.  The castle was never really completed though, since the king died two  years later.  Here are my pictures.  The first shot is a long view from the town below.  We had to take a bus part of the way up the mountain, and then walk the rest of the way to the castle.  The last shot in the first row is of another royal castle in the distance.  The second row of photos are from books.  No picture taking is allowed inside the castle.  I will show a few of the more modest rooms.  The last photo is of a bridge over a nearby gorge.  I was on the bridge, and the view to the water below is awesome.

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Later, we boarded our bus for the Passion Play village of Obergammerau.  The world-famous play is performed every 10 years by locals who portray the biblical characters.  The first picture below was along the way into that area.  The town itself is striking, as you can see from these photographs I took, showing flower arrangements, store window displays and buildings. 

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In the afternoon, some of us visited another nearby example of  King Ludwig II's castles - Linderhof, famous for its Italian-style terraced gardens.  Here are my pictures, and some others from a guide book.  Again, no picture taking inside the castle was allowed.  The last shot shows one of Ludwig's more extravagant ventures.  He had an artificial cave built near the castle.  The inside is very realistic, and was illuminated by colored lights, the color depending on the mood.  You can see a small lake with a boat in the center.  Behind that, is a stage with a painted curtain.  Everything carries out the theme of Wagner's opera, Tannhäuser.  The king had himself pulled around the lake in the boat while musicians played Wagner's music.  Oh well.

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It's time to leave Bavaria now.  Next, we travel west to Lake Constance, then northward through the Black Forest.

Let's enter  the Black Forest