Wed-Thurs May 26/27, 2010

We crossed the Austrian/German border yesterday and drove through Bavaria (Bayern). Germany’s largest state is well endowed with natural riches: its snowy peaks, rushing streams and velvety forests stirred our romantic hearts … and it’s yummy tortes (cakes) filled our rumbling tummies. The cake shown here was eaten at our lunch-stop by two ladies who shall remain nameless (beginning with Heather and Vivien).

We had time en route for a visit to the magnificent Lindenhof Castle (built high in the alps by crazy King Ludwig). But at the end of our visit it suddenly bucketed down, and our entire Mad Midlife group got soaked to the skin – with the result that we arrived at the village of Oberammergau looking like drowned rats!

Not that it mattered. Because (i) we quickly dried out in our rooms at the Wittlesbach Hotel (smack in the heart of town) … and (ii) we were quickly captivated by beautiful, magical Oberammergau. Located about 100kms southwest of Munich, this small alpine centre is surrounded by majestic mountains – and is famous for its peace and quiet, its gorgeous scenery, its wood carvings and frescos, and (of course) its once-a-decade Passion Play.

We had time (last night and this morning) for a wander-around, a photo-feast, and some shop-shop-shopping. Then, after lunch, we claimed our first-class seats in front of the giant outdoor stage where some 2400 locals re-enact the dramatic final days in the life of Christ – before a packed-out audience of 4700. The dialogue was in German (not that we had any difficulty following the story, with the aid of our “textbooks”). And the play lasted throughout the afternoon and evening – with a nice, long dinner break.

The Passion Play (in case you don’t know) dates back to the year 1633, during the Thirty Years War. After months of suffering and death due to the Plague, the villagers made a vow to God that, if they were spared, then every 10th year thereafter they would perform a play about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. There were no more lives lost to the Plague … the villagers have kept their word for more than 375 years … and the 2010 Play will continue to be performed five-times-weekly through until October – with over 500,000 visitors expected from all around the world.

You’ve gotta believe me when I tell you that our attendance at the Passion Play today was a moving, inspiring, unforgettable TREAT! And we’ll all be talking about it for a long time to come …

Oh, one final excitement: a couple of us on the Mad Midlife team were interviewed tonight by BBC radio for a backgrounder they’re doing on the Play. So waddaya know about THAT?

TOMORROW: With just a couple more days to go, we’ve got one more long drive through Germany – to Frankfurt, via Munich and Heidelberg … so don’t hang up yet! 

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.P.S. If you want to leave one lucky-last message for someone in the Oberammergau Gang, just click on ‘COMMENTS’ (or ‘NO COMMENTS’) beside the title for the day’s blog, and type away! Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brief. And if you want a better look at our map and photos, just click on them and they’ll enlarge –  magic!

This entry was posted in 2010 Danube & Rhine by John Cooney. Bookmark the permalink.

About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. Hi Ruth Bucknell, Just left a message but maybe in the wrong place I think! Looking forward to seeing you on Monday,
    Love Nat..

  2. hey mum, ruth bucknell, sounds just so great. All well here but a little wet, been raining for days. see you soon
    love mim

  3. Message for John Sealy please:
    Hi Dad! Not sure how easy it is for you to access your email but if you get a chance could you check it asap? No emergencies (or bad news!)- I’d hate to earn you a “Drama on the High Seas” award now that you’re on dry land 🙂 but a message that’s better forwarded to you direct! Go the Grapevine magazine from a long-time fan!!

  4. For Judy and Edgar: Hi guys! Looks like you’re having a blast. All is well here. The Peter Pan production was a mission but finished up really well, the kids did an outstandig job. Am probably going to DC in early July which I’m excited about. Chloe is able to take one step now, very proud! My email is just firstname.lastname@microsoft.com love Steve

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