In the morning on my walk to Oberammergau bus station, I could hardly see anything.
As the bus passed through the Ettal valley, the fog cleared up – or at least that’s what I thought was the case 😉
By the time I got to the Linderhof Palace – half an hour later – I was treated with cloudless blue skies.
After getting my ticket (€9) for the palace tour, I started the 10-minute stroll towards the palace.
I arrived a bit early and circled around the water parterre in front of the palace like everybody else did, snapping photos.
All of a sudden the fountain jet up!
The palace tour consisted of 10 rooms and took a brief 20 minutes. Photography is not allowed.
The Linderhof palace is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II – the other two being Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee. It is the only palace finished in the king’s lifetime, and he lived there in seclusion during the last eight years of his life.
Being a great admirer of King Louis XIV of France, and the same vehement believer of absolute monarchy as the Sun King, Ludwig II built Linderhof palace drawing inspiration from Versaille.
In the center of the Vestibul stands a statue of Louis XIV of France, who is also glorified on the ceiling, surrounded by golden beam of light. Portraits of the members of the court of Versailles can be found throughout the palace.
The West Tapestry room is known as the Music Room due to the “rare Aeolodicon pianino, a harmonium in the shape of an upright piano” stationed in the room. Ludwig is a devoted Richard Wagner fan, it’s said that he acquired the pianino for the composer to play – a wish that was never realized. There’s also a life-sized peacock made by the Sèvres porcelain manufacture to satisfy his interest in the orient.
The bedroom, in which the king slept mostly during the day, is the largest chamber in the palace. The gigantic bed, embellished in Ludwig’s symbolic color blue, stood on a platform, enclosed by a gilded balustrade, giving it the look of an altar or a catafalque. The paintings above the doors depict scenes of life at the French court: “Louis XIV’s levée (the morning reception when the king gets up), and couchée (the evening reception), the marriage of the Dauphin in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, and a carousel (amusement ride) in the park of Versailles.”
The dining room is made famous by its table, known as the “wishing table” after the table that sets itself in the Grimms’ fairy tale The Wishing Table, the Golden Ass, and the Cudgel-in-the-Sack. Through a crank mechanism, the table can be lowered downstairs into the kitchen. This allows the solitary king to dine in privacy, but “he does not feel alone after all. He believes himself in the company of Louis XIV and Louis XV and their lady friends, Madame Pompadour and Madame Maintenon. He even greets them now and then and carries on conversations with them as though he really had them as his guests at table.” Note the sculpted leg sticking out of a painting on the ceiling, this is an example of Bavarian Baroque style as our guide explained.
As with the palace of Versaille, the Linderhof Palace also has a Hall of the Mirrors, albeit a much smaller one. Ludwig II used it as a drawing room, in which the “Moon King” stayed up during the night under the priceless ivory chandelier from India, while the reflections of countless candles in the mirror evoke the illusion of thousands of never-ending light streams.
Ludwig II was declared insane on June 12th 1886 by doctor Gudden who had never seen or examined him before and was transported to Berg Castle on the shore of Lake Starnberg, south of Munich. The following afternoon, Dr. Gudden accompanied the king on a stroll along the lake shore. Hours later, their bodies were found in the lake. Murder or suicide, it remained a mystery.
After the tour I took a walk in the Gardens
Before venturing further into the park ground.
Along the way, I saw the Moroccan Kiosk – the kiosk was closed due to covid, only allowing us to peek through the glasses.
“The Moorish Kiosk was originally created for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1867. King Ludwig II purchased it in 1876 and had it magnificently and imaginatively decorated with a glass chandelier, a marble fountain and the sumptuous Peacock Throne. Here he read and drank tea while servants appropriately dressed in Oriental costumes and smoking narghiles lent an added touch of authenticity.”
The Hunding’s Hut, in which “grows” a fake ash tree, was modelled after the Hunding’s dwelling in the first act of “Die Walküre” from the “Ring des Nibelungen” by Richard Wagner.
Nearby in the woods, the Hermitage of Gurnemanz, modelled after the third act of the Wagnerian opera Parsifal, was the place of contemplation for the king on Good Friday.
And while we are at it, there’s also the Venus Grotto, an artificial cave with its lake and waterfall modelled after the Hörselberg from the first act of the opera “Tannhäuser”. The Grotto was closed for repair at the time of my visit.
I took the hilly route back to the garden, which delivered me to the viewpoint at the Temple of Venus, also in repair.
Nonetheless, it was a refreshing walk in the Bavarian woods.
By the time I got back to the palace, the fountain was sprouting water again, the dahlia opened up, it was beautiful, just too many people. I went up to the music pavilion, saw the less impressive Moroccan house, then exited the park ground.
The above “quoted” descriptions are from the Official Schloss Linderhof website at https://www.schlosslinderhof.de/.
Back to Oberammergau and into the damp cold air once again, I sought refuge at a pub literally called s”Wirtshaus , where I warmed up to a cup of hot chocolate, bratwurst with potatoes and sauerkraut, and a specialty dessert of the region – Kaiserschmarrn, named after the Austrian emperor Franz Josep I – a fluffy shredded pancake cooked on open fire. I didn’t care for the apple sauce, but the pancake was delish
Coming up Next: Oberammergau, Germany