A memorable visit to Andechs, Upper Bavaria

July 22, 2009

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Fields near the monastery of Andechs, Upper Bavaria

Although right now I am sitting on our family vineyard in Glenburn, Victoria, I have to post this little story and my impressions from a visit to the monastery of Andechs, Ammersee in Upper Bavaria. Maria and Christian took me there on a Sunday in early July. We drove up from Fischen. It was my very first visit to this famous place of worship and beer brewing. I will disappoint the wine freaks among you again but Andechs is not known for its wine but its beer.

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Gate with beer mugs on the way from the car park to the monastery

When you walk up to the monastery church from the car park, you pass the above gate, with one litre beer mugs above your head. “Look up folks”, it says, this is what you are aspiring to: litres and litres of Germany’s finest beers.

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The church

The church is, as many churches in Bavaria, built in Baroque style. I found it very pretty.

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The inside of the church

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Carl Orff is buried here

Who does not know the “Carmina Burana” and the famous composer, Carl Orff who was a native of Diessen, Ammersee just a couple of kilometres from here. He is buried in Andechs. I liked the inscription of the stone: Summus finis, which freely translates as “everything ends”.

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Music festivals honouring Carl Orff are looming

Maria and Christian were to attend the music festival that very evening, while I had to catch my plane back to Bangkok. I would have loved to join them and give Bangkok a miss, but…

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Droves of people came to enjoy lunch at Andechs

The monasteries “Gastwirtschaft”, Bavarian country inn style was full of people. We had, of course, lunch there. Christian and I, we shared a pork knuckle (they are just too big). A litre of dark brown beer was just the right drink to wash it down.

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Pork knuckle divided into two

I just love to eat pork knuckle. It was delicious. What a great visit that was. I am so grateful to my friends for taking me to Andechs.

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A Bavarian litre mug

Andechs is a great place. If you are travelling in Bavaria this summer, please budget some time for a visit. it is definitely worth it.


Beautiful Bavaria: Fischen, Ammersee

July 14, 2009

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Photo of the Ammersee and the church in Diessen, just opposite of Fischen

After the visiting program for our MPs from Malaysia had come to an end in Munich, I had just about 24 hours before my return flight to Bangkok. I decided to visit good old friends from our time in Jakarta: Maria and Christian Hegemer who live in Fischen, a small hamlet at the Ammersee, one of the Upper Bavarian lakes. Fischen is part of the village of Pähl and was first mentioned in a deed in 776. The region is a very popular recreation area just about 45 minutes from Munich and attracts many tourists.

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Community members assembling in traditional Bavarian dress

Christian picked me up from the train station. What a happy reunion that was. I was lucky that the villagers had planned a village event. They had hired one of the larger cruising boats for an afternoon on the lake. The local brass band entertained the 200 guests. I was, what we call in Australia a “ring in” but was warmly welcomed.

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The Fischen Brass Band

We got on to the boat in Herrsching, then went south to Fischen and turned north on the other side of the lake. The scenery is very lovely, green forests, villages, churches and many beautiful lakeside houses. It was a wonderful summer’s day with bright blue sky. The brass band played jolly good music. The villagers were cheerful and we had a great time on the boat.

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Christian and Maria

The natural drink in Bavaria is beer, though wine was also on offer. It came from Wachau, Austria, was drinkable though not a memorable drop.

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The tour ended in the early evening. Shortly before we landed in Herrsching a fire works greeted us. The evening concluded in the inn of Maria’s brother Beni (Benedict) in Aidenried where Christian shared a cheese platter with me. More beers found their way into my stomach. It was a most wonderful day in Upper Bavaria.