Friday, June 24, 2011

Little Bavarian Village

One of my many reasons for coming to Germany was to visit the little villages that abound in the Bavarian Alps to see how they compare with the Northwest tour destination of Leavenworth near our recreational property in Plain, Washington.

On our way to a couple of the castles built by King Ludwig II, we stopped in the town of Oberammergau. Though a little more than twice the size in terms of population, the town is very similar to Leavenworth, with traditional painted buildings and woodcarving shops aligned against a setting of high peaks and dark forests.

Since the late 17th century, villagers have performed the Passion Play every year ending in a "0" as a celebration of being spared from the black plague. Real villagers -- not professional actors -- perform the play, and the local thespians grow real beards and hair for their parts. The next performance will take place in 2020.

The visually stunning house facades feature religious images (below) but also include fairy tale motifs from the Brothers Grimm like Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood. The town also has too many woodcarving shops to count and other knick-knack stores as well as amenities for tourists and townspeople alike.

The real visual art, however, was the incredible mountain scenery surrounding the village. Upon leaving Oberammergau, Gina (above, with our tour group) and I concluded that the town was a dead ringer for our adopted hometown of Leavenworth, Washington.

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