(written yesterday, but the internet wouldn’t work long enough for me to post it)
This time it was the laundry’s fault we were out late! Though Mom had it running all night, our clothes weren’t dry and we didn’t really have anything to wear until it was done. We did not get out too late, but it was later than I had hoped for.
We drove down towards Linderhof, which happens to be the same drive we took on the second day when we went to Neuschwanstein. This time there wasn’t much traffic, and we went pretty fast. It was nice to pass through some of the towns again, and to see the Alps one more time.
To our surprise, our route took us through Austria! We crossed the border under a mountain and came out to Austrian welcome signs. There were no passport checks, which is sad because we could have gotten another stamp in our passports, but good because we weren’t held up at all. It was beautiful, with snow still everywhere and the Alps on every side. We had to stop a few times to take pictures, it was so breathtaking. Dad enjoyed driving alone the often one-lane, twisty mountain road with motorcyclists and Ferraris. He particularly enjoyed going, “OH! Look at that!” and almost driving off the mountain/into the other vehicles.
We arrived at Linderhof around 2:00. We were all starving, but wanted to see something before we ate. We got tickets and then explored the grounds a little before the palace tour. They were really elaborate, though it was all subdued because a lot was covered up to protect it from the snow. Linderhof was built by the “Mad King” who also built Neuschwanstein to escape the world. While Neuschwanstein was his salute to his favorite opera composer, Linderhof was his wistful longing for full monarchy France. Linderhof is like a mini Versailles, with gold plating on everything and chandeliers and even a mirror room. The “Mad King” (whose name I can’t remember) seems like a pretty interesting character. He apparently liked all of King Louis’s (don’t know which number of the Louises) mistresses, because he had their portraits in all the dressing rooms. (He never married or had a mistress himself, however.) He also really admired the way the kings of France made people attend their dressing and undressing, because in his room he has paintings of that happening (he never preformed such a ceremony, though). He hated eating in anyone’s presence, so the servants lowered his dining table through the floor, set it up and then pulled it back up for him to eat. Also, in order to retain his fantasy world, the king would wake up after the sun was down and do business, then go to sleep in the morning. This made it easier to pretend. I’m not sure whether I think he’s really funny and sort of angsty, or if I agree that he was a little off his rocker. I certainly sympathize – though I’m not about to build a castle to escape from realism!
Anyway, the palace was filled with all sorts of Greek myth art and such. He even had a Temple of Venus on the grounds (unfortunately, this was closed – all the pictures made it look really awesome). I thought it was a little funny that he had that, because he is said to be a devout Christian who insisted on chapels in all his castles. But hey, I enjoy Greek myths, so whatever. The art was lovely, and it was fun to have Philip correcting all of us in the Greek gods’ names and stuff. (Ever since reading the Lightning Thief and the rest of that series, he’s been a Greek myth expert. It’s wonderful to see him get excited about something myth/story/history related.)
Finally, starving and hot, we went to get food at a little stand by the parking lot. I got a pizza on a baguette, which was pretty good. I also bought a little Edelweiss metallic necklace to remember my short venture into Austria, and a little pretty Victorian pill box. We hit the road again, and drove back under the Alps to the Romantic Road.
The Romantic Road wasn’t exactly what I had pictured in my head. But I enjoyed the drive. We got out first at one town that was a walled in medieval city. Because it is Easter, nothing was really opened, so we just explored some before getting back into the car. We drove down further and stopped at another big town (I might edit this later and put in the names of cities). At first, it didn’t look like much. But we crossed this river and suddenly we were in a quaint old German town. We got out immediately and walked all over, looking at the old 15th and 16th century city gates and ruins. We had a look at a small waterfall by the town, and walked along the alleys over the rushing water than ran under some of the houses. Eventually, we found a pizzeria in the top floor of an old building, and we had dinner overlooking the city streets at sunset. Aside from the men of the family not using proper etiquette, it was really perfect.
Now we’re on the way to the hotel again. Dad is eating chocolate and driving 130 MPH (200 km/h) down the Autobahn. It’s lovely and clear. Our GPS girl (Glenda is her new name, but Dad calls her Guinevere and Galena) is mad at us because we found a faster way than following her directions, so every time she tells us to exit and we don’t she’s been tagging on about ten minutes and twenty minutes to our trip as punishment.
Tomorrow we’re hitting the northern half of the Romantic Road, as well as two other castles. We’re determined we’re going to be out by 8:00.