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.


Out into the cold into another kind of warmth

December 1, 2008

I safely made it. I took the bus from “occupied” Bangkok to Phuket, a ten hours drive south, and got on to the plane which would carry me out of Thailand to my native land: Germany. It was not for pleasure, business dragged me back to Berlin where an important meeting waited for me which I had to attend to.

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The flight to freedom from Phuket Airport

There was only one seat left on the LTU-Air Berlin flight to Munich. I did not feel too comfortable among the lucky tourists who got out of Thailand without being stuck like the other 100,000 fellow tourists. My main question was: Will my family be safe? Will I get back? The future will tell.

Twelve hours later, we landed in Munich. From the air, the southern German landscape looked like a magic land, covered in beautiful white snow, it promised cold but also the warmth of fire places with a good glass of wine in hands. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera at hand to take a picture of the land under the snow cover. The scent of Christmas was in the air. The scent of family reunions and joyous celebrations.

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Since I had about 5 hours until my connecting flight to Berlin would leave, I went straight into an airport restaurant and ordered a knuckle of pork and a Bavarian “wheat” beer (Weizenbier). The Christmas decoration reminded me of the coming festive season.

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I was ready for adventure, bought the latest issue of “Weinwelt”, a German wine magazine, and dreamt about the many wines I would taste in the days to come.


Restaurants in Germany – Hotel Prinzregent, Munich-Riem

June 25, 2008

Bavaria is just such a beautiful place. I just cannot get enough of it. Especially at this time of the year travelling around Upper Bavaria is truly enjoyable. Even sub-urban places such as Riem have their charm. I stayed in a small hotel at the outskirts of Munich to attend a conference at the Messe Zentrum (the fair).

The very first evening, I asked the receptionist where one could have a decent bite of food, preferable Bavarian style and I was pointed into the direction of the Hotel Prinzregent (www.prinzregent.de), in fact a country inn style place along the main street in Riem. The ‘guest room’ of the public bar part was fairly busy at a Friday evening.

The Bavarian country inn – Hotel Prinzregent

As it was my first evening back in Germany I could not resist ordering a pork roast Bavarian style with ‘Semmelknoedeln’, a kind of cooked carbohydrates made from leftover bread crumbs. It was so delicious I completely forgot to take pictures for my blog. I drank wheat beer with the meal though the Prinzregent has a nice wine list available. For dessert, which I usually do not have, I had ‘Apfelkuechle’, a kind of apple backed in a doe and seasoned with raisin. After that mighty meal I was exhausted and went to bed early.

The pasta

The very next day I came back to enjoy some more of the delicious food at the Prinzregent. Unfortunately, I did not order the roasted pork again (I should have) but went for a vegetarian pasta dish. It was ok but could not match the pork. The side salad was fresh and tasty.

The salad

This time I tried some of the white wines with my food. First I ordered a Riesling from, of course, the Mosel. A ‘2006 Weingut Schmitges dry Riesling from grey slates’ was my choice. It is a young but very enjoyable wine, typical for the region, elegant, displaying aromas of citrus and green apples, a fruity, minerally kind of wine.

For my second glass I choose a Sylvaner from the native lands of my mother, Franconia (the most northerly part of Bavaria). Horst Sauer is one of the icons of the vintners and winemakers from Franconia. His ‘2006 Eschendorfer Lump’ is just divine. The Germans like to describe a wine as “filigran”, which my dictionary says means “lacy” or “filigree”. I do not know if that makes sense to you. Anyway, the wine shows the typical Franconian character, is complex and fine, well balanced, has a good structure and a lingering finish. The prices for the wines were not on the cheap. The fellow at the next table turfed the idea of having a glass of wine after he saw the prices. Well, I was in a festive mood that day and did not bother.

White sausages Bavarian style, isn’t this beautiful?

My last meal at this wonderful place I enjoyed sitting in the large beer garden under very old chestnut trees reminiscing about the wonderful time I had in Bavaria. It was rather a late breakfast than lunch and therefore I ordered the typical Bavarian “white sausages” which is eaten with sweat mustard. A wheat beer matches that perfectly. Sorry you wine folks.

Address:
Hotel Prinzregent an der Messe
Riemer Strasse 350
81829 Munich
Te.: +49-89-94539-0
http://www.prinzregent.de


Beautiful Bavaria

June 14, 2008

I had the great chance to spend a weekend in Munich, the capital city of the state of Bavaria. The weather was splendid; it was the first weekend of June. Of course I had some to work but fortunately there were a couple of hours which I used to explore the surroundings. I just walked through the city and enjoyed the cheerful atmosphere. Of course I had also food and drinks in mind.

People over people in the English garden in Munich

I ended up in the “English garden”, as it is called, a large park in the heart of the city where everybody seemed to converge on a Sunday afternoon. I asked two nice ladies for the way to the next beer garden (show me the way to the next whiskey bar) and they pointed me to the beer garden at the Chinese pagoda.

The Chinese pagoda beer garden

Unfortunately my small camera could not capture the atmosphere there. There were lots of people as well. Numerous stalls sold all kinds of Bavarian food and drinks, mostly beer in big and super big mugs or beer based mixed drinks. For instance one could order a “Russian” which is a mix of wheat beer with white lemonade, a nice drink to quench your thirst and thats what I did. There were horse carts, people on bicycles, and children on skate boards. There were street musicians along the wayside, larger and smaller groups of tourist and day visitors from all over the world. Here and there one could spot the odd local Bavarian, men dressed in the traditional ‘Lederhosen’ (leather pants) and women were dressed in elaborate ‘Dirndl’ outfits.

Bavarian folk music presented by a brass band in traditional leather pants

Munich is not exactly known as a wine growing region. Helas, there was also a part of the garden where a vintner from Franconia offered his wares, in this case delicious wines from this northerly part of Bavaria. “My heart jumped in my chest”, as we Germans say. here I had the opportunity to be regaled by the very wine of my mothers homeland.

The vintner was Roman Sauer and his family from Nordheim in Franconia. They were very friendly and cheerful. For my next visit to Franconia I should schedule a tasting!

I first tried a Sylvaner (fresh and dry), then I moved on to a Riesling (crisp, citrus and apple aromas) and the last wine I tasted was a red wine (see the picture). Well, and now I face a memory lapse. Moreover, I cannot find my notes. I do not remember what it was. The colour is a deep and beautiful red. It should be a Pinot Noir but it could have been something more “exotic”. Needless to say the wines were all well made and delicious.

I would have tasted the rest of Roman Sauer’s wines on offer but that was just too difficult in the heat. The sun was shining on me and the three large glasses of wine had their own effect. The Bavarian music was entertaining, the beer garden visitors were loud and cheerful, and somehow I made my way back to the small hotel in Munich-Riem.

Below the flyer I collected which depicts Roman Sauer and his family. There was not much opportunity for a chat because the garden was so buy, guests coming and going. Unfortunately, I could not find a webpage of the Sauer Estate and learn more about his vineyard, wine making, etc.

Address:
Weingut Roman Sauer
Raiffeisenstrasse 11
D-97334 Nordheim
Tel.: +49-9381-9691