World Travel: A Family Affair
Day 2 on our first trip to Garmisch. Most people heading up the Garmisch area know about the most famous fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein Castle. We also heard that the Linderhof Palace was great to see with the little kids. We read that Linderhof would have less people in line, shorter walk to the castle, and a nice tour inside. Linderhof is also and easy country road drive from Edelweiss, where we were staying, only about 30 minutes. The plan was to visit Linderhof Palace and then stop at the Ettal Monastery on the way back. We were also given the tip to arrive early, before the tour buses of folks arrive! We got a decent start that morning and seemed to arrive before the crowds, approximately 0930.
The palace is open from 0900-1800 during the summer months. They offer English-speaking tours about every 10 minutes and last about 25 minutes. The cost is 8.50 euros for adults and children were free. The parking area is not far from the ticket booth, and then just another short walk to the palace. They will not let you take strollers on the tour, so its best to leave them in the car. Your ticket will give you a specific time for your tour to begin. We had about 20 minutes to wander around the outside of the palace and take pictures first.
The tour of the palace was wonderful, though you are not permitted to take pictures inside. Linderhof Palace was built by the eccentric King Ludwig II, and was the only one of the large palaces that he saw complete. He had many big plans, as Ludwig was known to be a dreamer who built a fantasy land around him. He was never married, he lived at night and slept during the day. His fantasy land didn’t seem to make him fit to be head of state, and he was eventually declared insane. Shortly there after he was found dead in Lake Starnberg.
They offer up alot of interesting details about the King and the palace it’s self. It was very elaborately decorated, especially for such a recluse. One of the interesting things I remember from the tour is the “magic” table which lowered into the floor so the servants below could put his food on the table and raise it back up for him. He always ate alone. Ludwig was also fond of peacocks and swans, which you could see used in various artistic ways around the palace.
I attempted to keep at least Aedan engaged on the tour by quizzing him with simple questions on something interesting the tour guide said from each room. What was the king’s favorite color? What was his favorite animal? How many candles in the chandler? All things the tour guide was pointing out to us. It seemed to work, he was getting the questions right, so he must have been listening. Emma was a bit of a busy body that day, but even she did fine on the short tour.
After the tour you take another short walk up a rather steep hill to the grotto, a man made cave. The cave included a waterfall and a small lake. The lighting was terrible, and try as I might I could not get a good picture. There was a staged boat and very ellaborate paint on the cave wall. It was an interesting area, and they played a recording with a description of what it was and how it was made. It plays first in German and then in English.
The fountain in the front was being cleaned when we first made our way to the palace, but as we returned from the cave it was turned on for a brief time. They turn it off and on through out the day, so stop by before and after to get a chance to see it. It was beautiful!
After we had gotten a chance to see everything around the garden area we headed back on the short trail. We stopped to watch the swans swim in a small pond, and to walk through fields of flowers and take some pictures of the kiddos.
Once we got back to the entrance, we treated the kids to spider man ice cream at the cafe/gift shops. I made a classic American mistake, trying to order and iced coffee, I got coffee with ice cream on top! Ice cream translates to “eis” so when we say ice, they think eis. I realized right away my mistake and walked away laughing at myself. It was cold and refreshing, and had caffeine so I couldn’t complain. This was a great outing for us, I highly recommend this palace visit, especially for young ones. Everything we had read was correct, the walk is shorter, the line is shorter, and the tour was just right for our kiddos. We enjoyed our picnic lunch near the car and then headed off to see the Ettal monastery.