Monday, September 18, 2017

Herrsching, Hohenpeißenberg, Wessobrunn, and a REWE

E and I walked a lot this summer. One morning, we walked from Steinebach to Herrsching. Like the walk to Andechs, this walk has become regular enough for us that I didn't take many photos. Here's the most interesting one, a glimpse at how Germany is trouncing the U.S. in environmentally friendly energy.

Solar carport
In Herrsching, we did some essential shopping--breakfast and Gelatine-frei Gummibaerchen--and then hung out along the Ammersee, waiting for S and H to pick us up for our afternoon roadtrip.

The afternoon roadtrip was a compromise. H had been saying for days, "we should really hike the dramatically precipitous trail between Herzogstand and Heimgarten in the Bavarian Alps!" Then she would pause, remembering--"oh, but wait, Liz is afraid of heights. That's really too bad. I guess we can't go." She would say this at breakfast, and then again over afternoon coffee. After dinner, as we discussed plans for the next few days, she'd wax fondly about the razor-thin trail between peaks--"oh, but wait, Liz is afraid of heights. That's really too bad. I guess we can't go." Not one to hold my 95-year-old legally-blind mother-in-law back, I finally declared that YES, if H really wanted to, we would all hike together from Herzogstand to Heimgarten, me included. H was all for it, but inclement weather and insufficient time prevented us from making the trip. Whew.

Instead, we did a leisurely afternoon roadtrip. Our first stop was the pilgrimage church atop the 988 meter high "Mount Parnassus of Bavaria" in Hohenpeißenberg. S, E, and H drove up; I walked up from Peißenberg. As more proof that my camera doesn't do justice to altitude gain, here's a photo looking up up up to the church on the high hill. It looks like it's off in the distance, but it's actually up in the distance. Oh well.

OK, this photo does a better job: see that roof behind the sign, below the road? The hill was steep.

After hiking up and up, with just a little more up to go, I came across some shrooms growing on the trail through the woods.

So that pilgrims heading up to the church don't shock themselves on electric cow fences, someone tied a piece of warning tape on the wire. Underneath was the only way to go.

The view from the top. Those are the Bavarian Alps in the distance. Herzogstand and Heimgarten are in there somewhere.

There are two chapels on top of Peißenberg. The first was built in 1514 and later baroquisiert. The second was added at the beginning of the 17th century to accommodate the pilgrims coming to the first.

Obligatory organ photo. Teeny tiny organ.

After lunch on a terrace overlooking the valley, we headed down and north to Wessobrunn, a former abbey that has most recently been saved thanks to a financial collaboration with a cosmetics company that now occupies the lower floor. An upper floor hallway is open for tours, which we didn't know until we arrived 10 minutes late. We were obliviously not disappointed, but to our good fortune, a groundskeeper spied us from across the parking lot, called to us not to leave, herded us to the abbey, rang the tour guide to let her know she had latecomers, and unlocked the big front door to let us in.

Ca. 1260 Roemerturm says it's ca. 3:10 p.m. Tour started at 3:00--punctually, I'm sure.

The tour paused in a stately room to discuss the long history of the abbey. I was distracted by the dogs chasing animals on the ceiling.

After the tour, we took a quick peek inside the abbeys church.

Obligatory organ photo

A cautionary tale for nuns

On the drive home, we stopped by a REWE to pick up some groceries. It was the biggest supermarket I'd ever seen in Germany, located in a tiny town (Fischen am Ammersee) outside of a bigger town (Pähl am Ammersee, population ~2,500), so clearly a destination grocery store. Its website boasts about its size--over 15,000 articles offered in a 1,200 m2 space, with an additional beverage market over 400 m2. It was so shockingly big by German grocery store standards that I took a photo.

The REWE entrance--a small fraction of the store

The first time I went to Germany with S, in 1991, folks still went shopping for fruits and veggies at the fruits and veggies store (Gaertnerei Maier), and bread shopping at the bakery (Buchner), and meat shopping at the butcher's (Raabe). When S was a kid, his father also went yeast shopping at the brewery ten kilometers away in Inning, and S and his mom bought flour at the mill in Oberalting (5km), honey and eggs at Sanktjohannser's farm in Auing (1.5km), and milk and butter at the dairy in Steinebach (Eberl). They had to drive to some of these--even nearby Auing--"because they were all in other villages." Then along came the first tentative multi-purpose grocery stores in town, Spar and Das kleine Kaufhaus, and later the chain store Tengelmann, and the mom and pop shops began closing up as mom and pop aged out and their kids had no interest in carrying on the family businesses. Then along came Edeka, an even bigger grocery store on the edge of town, and Tengelmann eventually threw in the towel, long after Spar and Das kleine Kaufhaus had folded. With Edeka came the necessity of doing all of the shopping by car, which makes shopping quite difficult for elderly blind women who can't drive--but then along came the Eismann frozen-foods delivery truck. Steinebach still has a dedicated fruits and veggies store, and the best place to buy eggs is still at the Sanktjohannser farm (which now has an egg-automat out front), but the bakery, butchery, dairy, flour mill, and brewery are gone. The REWE in Fischen could swallow five Steinebach Edekas whole and still have room for more.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Annual Andechs trek

In late June, E and I walked through fields and forest from Steinebach to Andechs--a hike of almost 15 kilometers, which took us about three hours. E and I did the same walk last year, and with S and friends the year before starting from Herrsching. E and I thought we had correctly modified last year's route to avoid a pitfall--but alas, once again, we missed some turn and ended up, approaching Andechs, above a creek on a wooded path that narrowed into a trail-less mess of roots and leaves and fallen trees where folks obviously go to get drunk in the woods and smash beer bottles. Maybe we'll finally get it right next year. Nonetheless, it's a great walk to do with a charming teen who becomes delightfully conversational while walking.

Looking back over this blog, I'm shocked to discover that I've never really blogged about Andechs. Going there is such a part of our annual routine that I didn't even bother taking photos this time. This is all I got, from a field just outside of Steinebach:

But here's some evidence of how long it's been our habit: some photos of E's first walk up (starting from Herrsching) back in 2002:

And some photos from August 2016; squint a little and imagine the tyke another inch and a half taller, and you pretty much have this year's hike.

Our destination

Our destination, without the zoom, with kidlet for scale

Schloss Seefeld; one hour down, two to go



Forest road above Herrsching

After climbing out of the get-drunk-and-smash-glass dead-end trail

Almost there...

The Brauerei

Monday, September 4, 2017

Playing the Marienmünster organ in Dießen

On S's birthday, I got to do this:

This is what happens when an introvert has the pleasure of knowing an enthusiastic extrovert: the extrovert isn't afraid of using the telephone to call strangers and ask for favors for the introvert and her 95-year-old mother-in-law, the latter who grew up attending school in the second-floor classroom at the Marienmünster in Dießen. Thus it was that, after raiding H's shoe collection for a pair of shoes with appropriate heels and non-gummy soles, I got to go, along with the extrovert and assorted family and friends, to tickle the ivories (well, the woods) of the gorgeous organ at the Dießener Marienmünster. The organ was built ca. 1739 by Caspar Koenig, renovated in 1878, and restored and expanded by Orgelbau Schmid in the 1980s. Thanks to B for arranging the organ visit. The organist told me how wonderful American organs are compared to German organs, and I told him about how wonderful German organs are compared to American organs.

H's girlhood school classroom is ~below the arrow

The view from the loft. Wave to the family and friends down below!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Annual bugs and butterflies photo dump

Still catching up with da blog. Annual German bug photos from late June/early July, thanks to several afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen get-togethers with family. First from Tante P's garden:

...and from R & R's garden:

My photo editor did something weird here, but I like it.

...and from the walk from H's house to our rental apartment: