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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Traveling – Oberammergau, Germany

After we left Nuremberg during our fall 2007 trip to Europe, we traveled South to the small town of Oberammergau Germany.  We were intrigued by the little bit of information about this town when we saw it on a Rick Steves TV program.  We also talked to some friends that had recently enjoyed themselves on a visit to Oberammergau and they highly recommended that we visit.

It was a beautiful drive to Oberammergau which is located in Southern Bavaria quite close to Austria.  Our drive took us through farmland and quaint little villages.  Just before Oberammergau, we drove through the town of Ettal that has a very nice Abby in the center of town.  We discovered latter that the store at the Abby also sells some potent liquors from Ettal that are delicious.

We made our home base at the bed-and-breakfast; Gusthaus Magold, where our hostess Christine always served a wonderful breakfast.  As we had arrived about dinnertime during one of the towns fall celebration (unification day), and found a place to eat along the main street (the food there was just edible, but barely).

Oberammergau is a charming town that looks like it belongs in the Alps (surprise, that’s where it is).  Most of the exteriors of the buildings are wonderfully painted to add architectural detail.

The second day of our visit we walked through the town and visited many of the woodcarvers shops to study their work.  Oberammergau is known internationally as a woodcarving center.  People come from around the world to take classes from the masters.

We ate lunch about a block away from our BnB at the Gasthof – Pension Bayerischer.  This was a delightful little family run restaurant where we both ordered schnitzel with mushroom gravy.  One the table was a little advertisement for a product Krauterhexe.  We asked the hostess what it is, and she indicated that it is a locally produced liquor that it is made with local herbs and flavorings.  We really enjoyed our small glass of Krauterhexe, it had a subtle flavor of licorice as well as other unidentifiable herbs.

After lunch as we continued our walk around town, we found a store that sold the Krauterhexe and we purchased a bottle that we enjoyed throughout the duration or our trip.  We wish we had purchased more to bring home!

Oberammergau is the home of a Passion Play that is held every 10 years (2010 is the year, but good luck getting tickets).  Over half the town participates and the play takes an entire day.  We went on a tour of the theater and were amazed by the lavish costumes and sets used in the play.

Oberammergau is also centrally located to some wonderful sights in the area.  The most famous is Neuschwanstein castle built by King Ludwig II.  This castle was the basis for Disney’s sleeping beauty castle.

In another direction is Linderhof Palace.  This is a lesser-known palace that was also built by King Ludwig II, and though it is small in size, it is equally beautiful in its own right.

Nearby is the town of Garmish, where we caught the gondola lift to the top of the Zugspitz Mountain.  At 9,718 feet, the Zugspitz is the tallest mountain in Germany, and when the weather is nice, you can view a wide expanse of the Alps.  We had a great meal of chicken kabobs over greens and finished with a yummy pastry in cream sauce and fruit.

We enjoyed all of off the different foods we experienced in this region (except the dinner the first night).  Before we departed Oberammergau, we stopped at one of the bakeries and picked up a few pastries to take on the trip.  This was a cream filled cake with a chocolate topping, it was very good!  You always have to pick up pastries for the road as you never know when you will find the next bakery!

If you get a chance to tour Southern Bavaria, we highly recommend a visit to Oberammergau in any season to enjoy the sports, shops, sights and the food!

Adventures In Food: Author: Kerry Howell

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