Puppentour Journal of 1996|
By Mary B. Lytle
Copyright © 1996-2014 by Mary B. Lytle. All rights reserved.
Shortly after our arrival in Munich, we boarded
our deluxe, air-conditioned touring coach and were quickly on our
way to the Chiemsee, Bavaria's largest lake. There, on the island
of Herreninsel, we toured Mad Ludwig's majestic replica of Louis
XIV's palace at Versailles. The day's final destination was the
lovely Austrian city of Salzburg. That evening we dined on Austrian
specialities on the terrace of our charming country inn as we
gazed upon the late sunset.
next day began with a tour through the unsurpassed collections of wooden
dolls and toys in the Spielzeugmuseum des Salzburger (Toy Museum
of Salzburg.) We saw an old, silent "flick" documenting
this cottage industry, and were then provided with materials to
make our own wooden toys. That afternoon, we strolled through the
old city with our guide, and rode the funicular to Hohensalzburg
Fortress where we captured a stunning view of the Alps.
Munich, we were charmed by the Spielzeugmuseum im Alten Rathausturm (Toy
Museum in the Old Town Hall Tower.) Wonderful antique treasures
are exhibited in rooms that radiate from the spiral staircase. On
the Marienplatz, we delighted in the Glockenspiel, lunched in the
open air market, and then boarded our coach for a tour of the
city, including the elegant Nymphenburg Palace and Gardens. That evening
found us dining in a famous Munich beer hall, complete with an
"oompah" band and Bavarian slap dancers.
Next our coach brought us to Nuremberg for a
trip through the Spielzeugmuseum der Stadt Nürnberg (Toy
Museum of the City of Nuremberg) housing one of the most
comprehensive collections of toys in the world. The museum was
celebrating its 25th anniversary with a special show and sale. We
were thrilled by the profusion of dolls, doll accessories, miniatures,
teddy bears, and toys for sale - all antique!
The next day
we toured the city, including the courtroom where the Nuremberg
Trials were held, a fascinating medieval cemetary where Albrecht
Dürer is buried, and spectacular landmarks in the historic and picturesque
walled-city. The afternoon afforded ample opportunity to explore
Nuremberg's multitude of wonderful shops.
The unparalleled Coburger Puppenmuseum (Coburg
Doll Museum) was our next destination. Several hundred rare and
beautiful dolls are exquisitely exhibited with period furniture
and accessories. Among the items for sale in the museum shop, we
found new Heubach character dolls whose exceptional bisque heads
were cast in the antique molds.
It was a short ride from Coburg to the
Christmas ornament factory where we saw a live demonstration of
glass ornament blowing. In the factory outlet, we browsed through
choice reproductions of old dolls and toys, and hundreds of
old-fashioned Christmas ornaments.
Sonneberg's Deutsches Spielzeugmuseum
(German Toy Museum) is the oldest toy museum in the now-united
Germany. Among its exhibits of dolls and toys, detailed dioramas
portray life in a Sonneberg doll-making family. We were
fascinated by the contrast between this formerly East German town
in Thuringia and its counterparts in Bavaria to the west.
Nuremberg, we visited the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (German
National Museum), comparable in scope to America's Smithsonian
Institution. Its collections span six centuries. Our tour included
an orientation to the museum's extensive exhibits, and an intimate
look at the home of a wealthy 17th century spice merchant, in miniature.
We were surprised to learn that early dollhouses were not playthings,
but rather were used to teach young girls the management of a
At the Puppen
und Spielzeug Museum (Doll and Toy Museum) in Rothenburg, we
were captivated by over 500 French and German dolls and their
accessories. Rothenburg is an absolutely enchanting medieval town
and the consummate shopper's paradise! We found wonderful bargains
at the flea market.
Rothenburg, we made our way to Rudesheim, where we boarded a ship
for our cruise down "Father Rhine." Twelve medieval
castles and the Loreley provided lots of "Kodak
moments." Later, our coach carried us to the top of the
Loreley, the perfect vantage point for a breathtaking view of the
On our last evening together, we savored a
banquet of Rhenish food and wine in the wood-paneled warmth of
our romantic, half-timbered inn. It was impossible to say goodbye
to our new friends, so we said Auf Wiedersehen
instead, which means "until we see each other