As the S-Bahn train hurtled through the picturesque countryside I thought to myself, we’re going to a palace on an island in the middle of a lake. A palace, for starters, amazing enough. But on an island? In a lake? Is this real?
Prien am Chiemsee was about a fifteen minute walk from the ferry. We alight from the train and Dave our crazy Scottish baritone sax player preceeded to have some sort of attack, aping about taking photos of everything and licking a nearby pole. Too much sunshine for him I guess.
It’s a ten minute ferry and then about a ten minute walk from the terminal to the palace on the other side of the island. We come out of the forest to immaculately manicured gardens leading up to no less than three fountains, one centre and two behind to either side, ancient Roman imagery in abundance.
Another smaller Versailles, this one featured a more direct influence, complete with Hall of Mirrors but slightly longer than the original. The whole place felt quite bizarre in a fashion – incomplete in various parts, the project bankrupted the Bavarian coffers, all for the fanciful notions of the last Bavarian king. It remains in immaculate condition because it was only ever lived in by one of them, Ludwig II, who ended up going mad, was transported to another palace for his own safety, and was discovered dead days later in a nearby lake.
Our ticket took us back on to the ferry and to a neighbouring island where real, alive people lived, and a quick circumnavigation was followed by a hearty Bavarian meal – pork knuckle, bratwurst, potatoes, and a stein of weiss (wheat) beer or helles (lager). Some incredible views of the German Alps were to be had from the ferry back, and on our return to the mainland, a quick radio control boat ride took us out on the water for the sunset, digital cameras ablaze with the magnificence of it all, so very pretty.
After two weeks of partying every night, the resulting increasing alcohol intake and decreasing lack of sleep was resulting in recurring bouts of déjà vu, nearly one a day. The one catch with staying in a four-star hotel was that we shared rooms, I with Damo, a single bed each, who became more and more agitated each day with my apparent snoring. By contrast, when asleep he just lay there, this guy twice my size, silent and motionless. So I wake up one morning in a disoriented haze and who’s the first thing I see? OH MY GOD! No no it’s all right, I remember now, who I am and what I’m doing here….phew…