People, Snippets of life, Travel Tales

Bavaria Trip | Zugspitze and Linderhof Palace

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This post is titled ‘Zugspitze and Linderhof Palace‘ while in reality, we also visited a bunch of other places that day. But since long title wouldn’t be too good, I should settle with this.

Continuing our journey from Neuschwanstein Castle, we drove to Linderhof Palace, another project of Ludwig II. On the way there, we passed the border and found ourselves in Austria for a bit, before passing another border back to Germany. The view on the way to the palace was absolutely stunning, especially when we were in Austria. The snow-tipped mountains were reflected perfectly on the still water, and the overcast weather made it look a bit wintery, even though it was early April. We just had to make a stop there to take pictures.

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It is said that Ludwig II knew the area pretty well, and I could say that he chose the the most amazing locations for his projects. The surroundings of Neuschwanstein were amazing, and so were this place. It was serene and beautiful, and I could imagine this palace would be a perfect place to retreat from the hustle bustle, given the tranquility.

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Having seen Neuschwanstein Castle, Linderhof Palace seemed tiny in comparison. It’s the smallest palace built by Ludwig II, but not less extravagant by any means. The first sight of the palace left me in awe.

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While it might look much simpler compared to Neuschwanstein Castle and the Munich Residenz, Ludwig II stayed true to his lavish style. When you look closer, you can see the beautiful statues and details on the facade.

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The most prominent feature of the palace is probably the garden, which was beautifully designed with careful details.

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With mountains in the background, it was hard to be anything but relaxed in this place.

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The golden fountain in the middle was such an attention grabber.

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Adding to the beauty was the brilliant symmetry. Now, I’ll show you how it looked when I walked further away from the palace, toward the back of the garden.

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Further away…

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And further, climbing the stairs at the opposite side of the palace, you’ll get this view.

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I just couldn’t get over how beautiful it was. The trees lining faintly far behind the palace, the green Music Pavillion stood on a higher ground, on the line of symmetry.

Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside, so this is the best I could get.

From then, we went to Ettal Abbey (Kloster Ettal), a Benedictine monastery near Linderhof Palace. I hadn’t heard about Ettal Abbey before, but apparently it was a popular destination for tourists. And not knowing about it had a huge advantage: it was a pleasant surprise to see the elegant architecture.

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I would have been contented seeing it from outside, but I’m glad I went in. The interior of the church, particularly the frescoes under the dome, had me blown away.

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Earlier before, when I was chatting with Marion’s parents, I told them I was pretty disappointed that we’d had a snowless winter in England. I had been so looking forward to experiencing some snow, so I was pretty bummed (such a tropical kid haha. Just as westerners are longing for sandy beaches and warm weather, I was longing for some snow). Unbeknownst to me, this little story had prompted them to make a snap decision to fit in some time for a little visit to the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany.

When they told me this plan, I was speechless for a minute. Maybe I hadn’t really understood what was going on, but once the realization hit me, I felt all sort of emotions. Happy, touched, ecstatic. It was unbelievable, really.

This revelation of the surprise had me grinning from ear to ear for the entire journey. “So this will be your first snow experience,” her mother told me.

When we got to the Zugspitze, they surprised me again by buying me the ticket. I insisted that I had to pay for my ticket, but Marion cut me. “This is a gift for you, Dixie,” she said firmly, smiling. I was so touched and I think my eyes welled up a little. I looked at her parents and thanked them profusely, and I don’t think I’d ever said a more sincere thank you. Her father smiled and patted my back, then we rushed to catch the cable car. My coat wasn’t warm enough for the temperature up there, and the next thing I knew, her father gave his jacket to me, saying that he would get one for him in the car (Marion parents were gonna walk around while waiting for us). I was really moved by this whole thing, and I felt a lump in my throat as I said thank you to her parents (again) while they waved and said, “Viel Spaß!”

The journey to the top of the mountain was nothing short of astonishing. Rocks and soil were layered with snow, with clouds in between. At one point I could see the border of Germany and Austria.

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If you look carefully, you can see Eibsee, the lake that lies at the base of the mountain (in the picture below).

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A closer look of the lake…

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At the top, it was even better.

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Since the Zugspitze is situated at the border of Germany and Austria, there was an area at the top which was marked, so you’d know if you’re in the Austria or Germany part.

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And of course, they had to put the sign for ‘Germany’s highest beer garden’.

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I had A LOT of fun taking photos up there.

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After we came back and met her parents again, I couldn’t contain my excitement and my face was all smiles. I told them how happy I was to be up there, and again, another ‘Vielen Dank‘ and ‘Danke schön‘. They looked really happy when they heard that, then they hugged me. This touched me even more.

The Zugspitze was special. It was my first snow experience, and I got to experience that at the highest peak of Germany, a country which was very dear to me. The fact that it was an impulsive gift made it all the more remarkable.

Before going back to Regensburg, we made one last stop, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a mountain resort town on the border with Austria. We didn’t spend a long time here, just enough for a short walk and tea time in a little cafe, but even in that limited time I was hooked.

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Much like Bamberg, pastel-colored walls seemed to fill the town to the brim. There was, however, a difference: the abundance of beautiful frescoes, adorning the distinctive-shaped buildings.

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Finally it was time for us to leave. We bid adieu to this colorful little town and the mountain ranges behind us, and also a weekend full of wonderful memories.

I don’t know how to describe my feeling that weekend. Her parents really made me feel welcome, and to my surprise, there was no awkward situation at all. I talked a lot with her mom. She even remembered little details about me, like when she gave me a bottle of water and said, “This is still water. Marion told me you don’t like sparkling water.” The fact that she remembered this inconsequential thing about someone she’d never met was really heartwarming.

I was really lucky to have met these kind and beautiful people.

We had one last dinner together in a little town near Regensburg, and I tried again to pay, to no avail. Before we parted ways, we hugged again, and her mother gave me a few things to keep as farewell presents, among those was a calendar with pictures of the places we’d been to. “This is for you to remember this trip and us,” she said, and I was so touched I felt my eyes welled up. It was Sunday night, and I met them just the day before, but I was really sad to say goodbye to them.

I’d always wished I speak better German, but that weekend, I wished it even more. Her father didn’t speak much English, so we didn’t talk that much. But I could really see that his face lit up whenever I said something in German, no matter how simple it was.

I keep thinking what I had ever done to deserve such kindness, but I couldn’t come up with anything. They were just that nice, and I was just lucky. Really lucky.

It was a weekend when I had so many wishes. I wished I’d spoken better German. I wished we’d had more time together. I wished I could repay their kindness, and let them know how much it really meant to me. I wished I could’ve bottled up those feelings and opened it whenever I wanted, because it was so so so wonderful, and it made me happier than I’d ever been in such a long time.

For the previous part, click here:

Prelude: The Second Hellos

Bavaria Trip | Prelude

Bavaria Trip | The Danube Narrows and Weltenburg Abbey

Bavaria Trip | Nuremberg

Bavaria Trip | Bamberg

Bavaria Trip | Munich

Bavaria Trip | Neuschwanstein Castle

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