Although attending the Passion Play was the main reason for our trip, we spent another week as a group travelling in Germany and just over the border to Austria. We left our hotel just outside Oberammegau after breakfast and headed towards Salzburg. Interestingly, from this point the whole atmosphere of the trip seemed to take on a new dimension. .
A mural on a wall outside the theatre
Although most of us knew one another, we felt more of a oneness in the whole group. We did not have a guide on board for the whole tour but were led by Revd Colin Peattie and now Jurg, our bus driver, was part of the group too. He became an assistant guide and introduced us to places and experiences which we had not expected.
As we travelled the road eastwards, which took us in and out of Austria and Germany, Jurg said that he knew of a really nice place to eat lunch and we all agreed that he go ahead and contact his friend and make a booking. The restaurant was part of the complex where the Schloss Neuschwanstein, the Royal Castle of Germany, is situated. King Ludwig II had the castle built in the mid-Nineteenth Century. On the opposite hill there is a second, less ornate castle named Schloss Hohenschangau, for Ludwig’s parents, King Maximilian II and Princess Marie. Unfortunately we did not have time to visit either castle but we did enjoy a lovely lunch at the Café Restaurant am Park which had a large sign outside the toilets – WC 9.00 – 17.00! As we arrived after 09.00 and left well before 17.00 we had no problems using the facilities.
Further along the road we had the great pleasure of visiting the Wiesenkirche. This was the most ornate building I have ever seen. It was just stunning and the more one looked the more there seemed to be to see. The photographs that I took just could not give it the justice it deserved. The amount of work and love that had been put into the decoration of the walls and ceilings must incalculable. For some this may be seen as being more concerned about outward beauty than the inner beauty for which God seeks but for me it was an artistic gift given by God to someone who used it to His glory. We spent over 30 mins at the church and I, personally, could have spent an hour or more. It was amazing to learn that it was still used for services and other church activities.
Organ pipes of the Wiesenkirche
We reboarded our bus and continued our journey to Salzburg, Salt City, where we were to spend 3 nights at an hotel called the All You Need Hotel and it was just that. It was downtown Salzburg and getting to it caused some mirth. Jurg said that it was the first time that he had brought a coach into the very narrow, graffiti covered back streets of the city and displayed wonderful driving skills as he got us to our hotel. The hotel itself was very basic but spotlessly clean and staffed with very friendly people. It turned out to be a new student residence which was used as an hotel during the student vacation. Its location was actually very safe and perfectly situated as I shall detail in the next article.