30 April 2014

Germany – A return Trip!

Time for a return visit to Germany!  Kath and Karen first arrived at Hotel Wolf in Oberammergau in the picturesque region of Bavaria last year.  Before they left in 2013 they were pleased to be invited for a return visit in 2014 and they were very happy to accept.

Hotel Wolf  http://www.hotel-wolf.de  is a superb venue for all things doggy!  They hold seminars all year round in many dog sports; they welcome all dogs with open arms into every area of the hotel and have amazing training facilities.


Hotel Wolf Appartments in Oberammergau

This year was slightly different as Kath and Karen were accommodated in one of the hotel’s apartments close to the training halls just a 2 minute walk from the hotel.  Here they had great facilities including 2 bedrooms, a living room and kitchen.  The pair were very happy with the extra space and it was also useful to be so close to the training halls.

Looking at the list of attendees they were delighted to see an 85% return from the previous year and an increase in the number of handlers booked too.  Working with a group of people for a whole week is especially satisfying as there is time to really get to know the dogs and handlers, to work on individual concerns and to consolidate new skills.

The week consisted of a combination of attention, motivation, heelwork and musical interpretation along with other requested subjects in an assortment of theory and practical sessions.  This all culminated with a Training Show which was held on the final day.

Of course the week was happily interspersed with lots of time for socialisation and for some sightseeing around the local area.  The food at Hotel Wolf is second to none, sadly their delicious breakfasts, mouth watering lunches and scrumptious dinners took their toll on the waist line.  Of course Bavaria is home to delicious beers which must be sampled so as not to appear stand-offish!

One of the days is always a half day and on their free afternoon Kath and Karen took a trip with Barbara and Kurt to see another of King Ludwig’s amazing buildings.  The previous year they visited Neuschwanstein Castle, which is a dramatic Romanesque fortress with soaring fairy-tale towers situated on an Alpine crag.  This year the property could not have been more different; Schloss Linderhof is an ornate Palace in neo-French Rococo style, with handsome formal gardens. Entering the palace by the front door, the doors off to the sides were the entrances to the servants quarters, kitchens etc.  A staircase leads up to the first floor on which the royal rooms are set in a U shape.  The tour takes you through the rooms, each with its own adjacent waiting room.   http://www.schlosslinderhof.de/index.htm 
Linderhof Palace

You could safely say that King Ludwig was not a minimalist!  The ornate decoration in each of the rooms takes your breath away as does the amount of Meissen porcelain which is apparent on a very grand scale with tables and huge candelabras made from it.

The position of the bed in the bedchamber is on steps in an alcove that is closed off by a gilded balustrade which gives it the appearance of an altar glorifying King Ludwig II.

The dining room is famous for its disappearing dumb-waiter called ‘Tischlein deck dich’. The table literally sinks into the floor to be laden with food and returned vertically to the dining room so that Ludwig could dine alone. Yet the staff had to lay the table for at least four persons because it is said that the king used to talk to imaginary people like Louis XVMme de Pompadouror Marie Antoinette while he was eating.

The Venus Grotto set in the grounds is wholly artificial and was built for the king as an illustration of the First Act of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”.  The grotto was made using explosives to blast a hole into the rock which was then ‘decorated’ using chicken wire and plaster to give the appearance of stalagmites and stalactites with an amazing subterranean pool.  Ludwig liked to be rowed over the lake in his golden swan-boat but at the same time he wanted his own blue grotto of Capri. Therefore 24 dynamos were installed and so already in the time of Ludwig II it was possible to illuminate the grotto in changing colours. 

The Venus Grotto
All too soon their time was over at Hotel Wolf but Kath and Karen were delighted to be invited back again in 2015 for a further week.

Time to move on for a final training day in Germany at Michaela Köppel’s training facility.  Again, Kath and Karen had taught here the year previously and had been asked to return to give a seminar focussing on specifically on Heelwork.  The handlers were all very keen to improve their training of heelwork and enjoyed an intensive day looking at how to train the positions, maintain motivation, link the positions and most of all make it fun for dog and handler alike.  It was good for them to see some familiar faces from last year and make new friends in the sport.

Following a final night at the hotel and a delicious breakfast at Mica’s house it was time to set off home.

Kath and Karen would like to thank Mica, the staff at Hotel Wolf and all the handlers for making them so welcome once again and they look forward to seeing them all again next year

Some of Barbara Feldbauer’s beautifully behaved dogs

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