Like so many people in Bayreuth for the Wagner Festival, we visited the Richard Wagner Museum situated in his family home of Wahnfried. For a Wagner fan to see the house open again, after lengthy renovation, is a treat. The exhibits in the new buildings were informative and interesting, and dealt with the Wagners’ past and affiliations in an honest way. The basement area with the specially designed sound room was fantastic. It is sad that in renovating the house and creating a purpose built museum it has lost some of its unique qualities and become more commercialised, but although the romance is lost, the knowledge is enhanced. The gardens were brought back to their former beauty after having been a building site for so long, and it was touching to see the graves of the family pet dogs by Wagner’s grave once again cleared and visible; being there at Festival time there were also bouquets from the Festspielhaus, its orchestra and also from the town of Bayreuth, no doubt in recognition of the tourist Euros which pour in annually.
One minor issue – I’m not sure if this was because it had only just opened to capitalise on the Festival, but you had to pay your entrance fee with cash only – they were not accepting credit cards. That is a big inconvenience, especially if you are travelling in a large family group.