The Fairy Tale King at the Chiemsee
The day slowly dawns. The clouds cover the sky, but rain is not yet to be seen. We certainly do not need it today, either. After all, we are beginning our trip into the Chiemsee-Alpenland. To be more precise, we are going to the mini golf facility in Prien am Chiemsee, where we are warmly received by our guide Christian Kaufmann.
As it seems, luck is not on our side, as shortly before we begin it starts to rain. However, our fellow cyclists are all highly motivated and want to do the bike tour at all costs. But with such a huge amount of water falling, we would be soaking in a very short time. The tour is quickly reversed and we begin with the Chiemsee ship ride over onto the Herreninseln islands. We are Simone, Volker, Esther, Petra, Heinz, Markus and Markus, Silvia, Arne and the twins, Elena from Chiemsee-Alpenland Tourismus, Christian, Maren, Nick and Karin. We set sail at 10.15 am on the dot. The ride across is brilliant, as the lake is calm and from the ship we receive a fantastic panorama of the surrounding alpine landscape of the Chiemgau Alps.
Right in the distance we can see the famous Kampenwand with Germany’s biggest summit cross. We are accompanied by our guide Konrad, who tells us all kinds of exciting stories about the Herreninsel, the castle and, of course, its builder, the Fairy Tale King Ludwig II. First we visit the “origins of the island” – the then monastery and the cathedral, whose tower was removed much later and made into a brewery. The brewery no longer exists today either. Instead, there is a museum in its walls. The inner courtyard of the monastery was also better known as the Rosenhof.
In the monastery garden, we see the rare split-leaved beech, one of apparently just 3 in Germany. Its counterpart is on the Rose Island at Lake Starnberg, which was regularly visited by Ludwig II and his cousin Sissi, the Empress of Austria. In what is today the Constitutional Museum, the German Basic Law was drawn up at the time and was sent on to Bonn. We now continue to the heart of the island – Herrenchiemsee Castle! This was one of Ludwig’s fairy tale castles. The Palace of Versailles served as a model and it was a homage of the Moon King (as Ludwig was also often known) to the Sun King (Louis XIV). The castle was to become much more pompous than its ideal in France. However, after seven years of construction, the money unfortunately ran out and the work had to be discontinued. Nevertheless, it is a truly splendid castle. After the castle tour, we go into the “King Ludwig II Museum”, where we not only receive a deeper insight into the history of the Fairy Tale King, but are also able to see sketches and paintings of his numerous fanciful projects. When leaving the castle, we can only agree with Ludwig’s words: “I want to remain a puzzle, to myself and others!”
After so much history, not only are our heads buzzing, but our stomachs are rumbling. In the castle restaurant, we are royally dined with delicious Bavarian specialities – with roast pork, small bratwurst sausages, Bavarian veal sausages, potato soup and Obatzda. The weather is finally kind to us after all and we can begin our cycle tour. Our first stop is the train station in Prien, where we look at the train station pavilion. It used to be in Rimsting and was the Fairy Tale King’s own pavilion, which he alone used on his visits. We pass the church square and the maypole there and on to the Grey Angel. The breast was previously filed off of the angel statue there. The original can be seen in the Home Museum. The route now leads very idyllic through the nature protection area with its numerous lakes, such as the Thalersee, the Schlosssee, the Kautsee, the Hartsee, etc. Part of the time we also ride on the old Roman road. In Breitbrunn, we make a short detour to the “Second Hand Church,” as the locals often call it. The name came from the fact that the construction material for the church came from the Herreninsel.
Our next stop is the Gasthof zur Post in Breitbrunn. There we are treated to coffee and cake. On the way back, Christian shows us a few of his favourite places by the lake. For example, the brilliant viewpoint at Gstadt, where there is a great view of the Chiemsee, surrounded by the mountain setting.
There is also the narrowest point from the mainland onto the Herreninsel. At the end of the cycle tour, we are even rewarded with a sunset by the lake.