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Jake was great! He is an American happily lost in Bavaria. His knowledge of history was awesome and wasn't boring per my wife, and she doesn't usually enjoy more than 10 minutes of history. It was great also talking to an American about German culture and make it easily understable and relatable to us in the USA.
A very good outing. Jake is phenomenal when it comes to all the history. High recommendation for anyone looking for a personal experience in Germany.
The tour was well organized and extremely fun and interesting! Our tour guide, Jake, was an expert in his storytelling and knowledge of the sights, history, and touring organization. He didn't just tell us the history of the castles, people, and the towns but actually put our whole family into the stories making us characters in order to visualize and understand the history he was trying to explain. Our two children absolutely loved it and kept saying that Jake made the entire tour fun and amazing! Thank you so much for making our day a tour we will NEVER forget :
It a nutshell, this is probably the best day you could spend in Garmisch-Partenkichen, especially if you are only in the area for a few days. Specifically, the title - Private Tour of Neuschwanstein Castle, only describes some of the activities in the day. Since it is a private tour, you have some flexibility in what you do. Since I was traveling with my 6- and 8-year-old kids, this was a perfect way to see the area. On our trip, we certainly did see Neuschwantstein, as advertised. Jake did an excellent job of telling the story of Neuschwanstein and Ludwig II. I overheard several other guides and I was very thankful that we had Jake as our guide. Now, my son cannot stop talking about Ludwig and the conspiracy theories surrounding his death. If you have any hesitation about taking the tour: Jake made Bavarian history interesting for an 8-year-old boy. Enough said.
In addition to Neuschwanstein, we went to Oberammergau to see the location of the Passion Plays and grab a great Bavarian lunch. Jake also took us on a Summer luge, which was a huge hit with the kids. Also, we stopped by the Ettal monastery and tried a delicious Ettal beer.
The day was expertly planned and covered a lot of ground. It is a long day and you certainly get your money's worth -- we were picked up punctually at 8:30 and returned at supper.
Certainly, when my family returns to GAP, we will look up Jake again. Note that Jake is an American, which means that you will be able to understand him, unlike many of the other tours that I suffered through recently. He does, however, speak perfect German. He has been here for almost two decades and a Bavarian couple sitting next to us at lunch told me that they thought that he, too, was from Bavaria. Also, this area is his home, which means that he knows EVERYBODY. That meant that we got access to back rooms that few or no other groups could get. After enjoying this tour, I couldn't imagine being herded around on a bus tour.
Jake is a wealth of knowledge and I honestly don't think our tour of Neuschwanstein Castle and the grounds would have been quite as meaningful without his amazing story telling skills. He even treated us to a look at a local monastery and a trip down the alpine slide! I would highly recommend this tour, it goes way beyond what you would get with basic entrance tickets and makes the transportation part easy, especially for our group of 7.
The guide who regularly does this tour was injured, so we had a back-up guide who filled in for him. He was nice, but truthfully wasn't a great guide and I definitely expected more considering the high price of this trip. He missed his turn a couple times and we got to the castle late, so we had to wait several hours to actually get in to the castle. That left almost no time for Oberammergau, which we had really been looking forward to. We had no time to actually walk around the old downtown and look at shops, which we had really hoped to do. We were pretty disappointed in the day overall. I suspect the regular guide is much better.
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