We are just back from our trip to see the Passion Play and thought I would pass on some info that may make later trips a bit less stressful than ours.
Firstly the Passion Play is everything you hope it will be and then some! It is a really special experience, like walking on the Great Wall of China; visiting the Forbidden City; you really have to experience it personally to appreciate it. It is long ie 2pm until 11pm on our visit, with a three hour break for dinner and a recommended visit to the Passion Play Museum. The seating is better than I had been led to believe, it has chairs with full backs with a little padding on the seat, and it wasn`t as cold as I thought it would be.
Now the actual journey to Oberammergau - we left uk at 4.15am two flights; three trains later we arrived at Oberammergau around 6.45pm so its a long tiring journey not made easy by the fact that DB BAHN may run its trains on time, but apparently it doesn`t know that the Oberammergau Passion Play is on between May and Oct this year. There is absolutely no sign posting as to what train one should get on either in Munich or at Murnau. So a little tip - once in the main station you are looking for the INNSBRUCK TRAIN it passess through Murnau but there is no mention of Murnau on any of the destination boards which is confusing, the train leaves from one of the distant platforms 28/29 so it is a walk. Take a bottle of water as there is no buffet cart and it is approx.1 hour on this train and 45 mins on the next train. On arriving at Murnau you will find it is a building site as they are rebuilding the platforms and chaos reigns! Wear flat shoes and have a case you can carry as there is no way one can walk in heels across this rubble or wheel a case. On alighting from the Innsbruck train, go down the under passage and come up on the opposite platform, walk past the only building that is there and the Murnau/Oberammergau train will be sitting just beyond it. You have ten minutes but dont stop for a breather as trying to walk on this rubble will take you the full ten minutes - and that train goes off on the dot! We witnessed one elderly lady and her daughter struggling with their case as we were, we managed just to get on and the doors closed leaving them within finger tip distance. They pushed the button everyone yelled but still they were left ont he platform.
On arriving at Oberammergau we expected to pick up a bus, however the last bus from Oberammergau into Ettal is 6.30pm Mon - Fri and around 4.30pm at the weekends. There were no taxis - apparently they are very busy and you have to book in advance, but someone had ordered a mini bus and gave us a lift or I cant imagine what we would have done. We stayed at Guesthouse ETHIKO - which was very nice, but unfortunately the owner does not speak any English so communication was difficult but we could hardly complain as we dont speak any German - a phrase book would be useful as I would love to have heard about the history of this old house.
If you have booked through Detour be aware that your first nights evening meal is in Hotel Blaue Gams - you can`t miss it, it is the highest hotel in the village, infact a ski lift would have been useful
so if you have a mobility problem I would ask if this could be changed to one of the many other eating places in Ettal.
The shuttle bus can be picked up at the wooden bus shelter after 10.30 am on days only when the Play is on. On other days use a taxi as the locals say the bus into Oberammergau is a very restricted service, unless this improves over the summer. For a taxi book around 30 minutes before you need it, ours took a good 40 minutes to arrive - again they are busy and Ettal is out of the way. A really nice place in Ettal for lunch; or a night cap is Madame Pulche it is situated on the main road opposite the gates to the Monastery and is full of interesting nick nacks to look at whilst you eat and you will be welcomed like an old friend.
We went to Mass at the Abbey on the Sunday which is not to be missed it is so beautiful.
On your return journey at Murnau make sure you are standing on the correct platform that appears to change from Platform 1 to 2 so look out for the locals, although very few speak English so perhaps the phrase for "which platform" would be useful. I asked in English on four separate occasions but got a blank look and shuffling of feet, but an American lady used her phrase book and got an instant reply - and yes the tourists were all on the wrong platform with the locals standing opposite on the correct platform, so a poster in various languages would have been helpful.
If anyone has any questions just ask. Hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did. If you haven`t booked yet I would suggest you book into accommodation in Oberammergau rather than another village as the hassle trying to get public transport was everyones moan.