Having left Schloss Linderhof behind us, we made our way to Oberammergau. Was it because of the car or the quality of the road we drove on, the journey was very pleasant.
“German precision and quality,” came the reply from GC (brother-in-law). He is into cars and all that, so I think his opinion is better than mine. There were only a few cars on the road and even fewer when we left the main road to enter the town of Oberammergau.
It was a Saturday, the town was very quiet. Almost all of the shops were closed, we were probably the only visitors around. The GPS took us on a wrong turn but it wasn’t too hard to find our way around. We parked at the Sankt Peter und Paul church and proceed to explore the town on foot.
Lüftlmalerei. Which came out sounding like a common tropical infection from where I come from
“What is the town famous for?” my mom asked.
“Well, basically for the Lüftlmalerei,” which came out more like a common tropical infection from where we came from. What I meant was the frescoes on the wall among some of the houses and business establishments throughout the town.
“Actually it says here in the guidebook that the town is also famous for the Passion Play and woodcarvings,” read out loud by QS, my book-toting sister. Luckily for us, although most of the shops were closed for business, their wares were still on display behind the big windows. We found a few toy shops and Christianity/Bible shops.
Passion Play is a once-a-decade show put on by the townsfolk
The Passion Play is a once-a-decade play put on by almost all of the townsfolk of Oberammergau (2,000 of them). The last show was in 2010, so you could start buying tickets for the 2020 play around now.
We were lucky that it is the summer right now, which means we still have plenty of daylight to walk around. Oberammergau will make you feel like you have travelled back in time with their wall frescoes and cobblestones sidewalks. The only semblance of modern day were the cars and signs. We basically had the town to ourselves as we made a circle around one of the major roads before ending back up at the church.
Our next stop was Ettal, or more accurately Kloster Ettal. The church was probably built back in the 1300s but most likely being refurnished and remodelled throughout the years that it is hard to pinpoint are we looking at the original monastery or not.
There is a small plot of land for parking in front of the church, best of all, entrance is free. Yet again we marvel at the frescoes decorating the inner dome and its surrounding walls. The air was cool inside the church as compared to the heat outside, probably another engineering wonder or perhaps air conditioning?
“I don’t think it’s air conditioning,” said my dad.
We had one more destination and since we were on the topic of King Ludwig II for the most part of the day, we just had to visit the place of his mysterious death — Starnberger See.
King Ludwig II’s deathplace is near Berg
Tip: The actual place of death was nearer to Berg rather than Starnberg, but Starnberg is the bigger town.
It was just around 6pm when we arrived at Starnberg, having travelled on one of Germany’s Autobahn (A95). Despite the fact that there’s no speed limit on the Autobahn, we made up our mind as not to test the efficiency of the German Highway Police. Actually, it was because my parents were around.
“Follow the speed limits.”
“You’re following too near to the car in front.”
“Stick to your lane.”
“We are not in a rush.”
“I think I just saw a sign saying 80.”
“Ma, that’s 80mph, not 80kmph.”
“Are you sure?”
Oh well, the perils of travelling with family. Oh such joy! Pun intended.
I just saw a sign saying 80. I think that is 80mph, not 80kmph like we are used to
A gush of cold wind greeted us as we made our way towards the lakeside of Starnberger See. We could see the backdrop of the Alps behind the lake, choppy waves in the foreground. It was the Golden Hour for avid photographers like GC. The sun was setting, throwing a hue of orange onto the skyline.
Despite the cold, we decided that we needed some ice cream and we found one roadside stall selling them for €1 each. Talk about treating fire with fire (or, cold with cold). Any other day at an earlier hour, you would be able to rent a boat or take rides across the lake to any of the other towns surrounding Starnberger See.
With such a view and the close proximity to Munich, no wonder there is a huge amount of private properties dotting the lakeside. If I am not mistaken, Starnberg is one of the wealthiest town per capita. But those millionaires do not necessarily own businesses in the town, probably just staying there.
Dinner was simple when my family is around, we tend to gravitate to the nearest Chinese-owned establishment. Hence for this particular night, we chose Cooking Khan which was located some distance away from the Museum Starnberger See. It was homely to converse in our language and people would understand what we are ordering.
The food was good but I guess we were bordering on tiredness due to the long day and the travelling, that we just ate what we saw.
Road Trip Conclusion
By all means, if you are able to and have the right companions, a road trip is a must in Germany. There are plenty of choices but since I haven’t done most of it, I would only recommend what I did. You could either do a partial Romantic Road starting from:
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Landsberg am Lech
Then do the King Ludwig II’s trip of his 3 castles: Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau and Linderhof. On your way back to Munich, you can follow the route of this particular post or you could add Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Innsbruck of Austria in it.
Driving in Germany is easy with an onboard GPS and you are helped by the huge road signs along the way. Oh yeah, you need to pray for good weather too!