The Wieskirche 

Visiting the Wieskirche, the Pilgrimage Church of Wies, was another highlight of our road trip. Thanks to Google, we did know what to expect from this 18th century church. Still, seeing the actual place with our own eyes, which was world famous for being the epitome of a Rococo style, was exciting and unforgettable. One poet who visited there was so moved and described it as “The Wies is a bit of heaven in this suffering world.”

From Schwangau to Steingaden, in where the church was located, took about thirty minutes. We left the hotel shortly after nine…

We set off for the church from the car park via an immaculately kept gravelled path around 9:40.
Unlike the congestion around Neuschwanstein Castle we experienced the previous day, the vicinity of the church was serene and quiet…

The car park nearby was ample yet very empty. We assumed the church could be as crowded as the castle if our visit was timed any later. Our advice: Visit the church early as the place opens from 8 am.

The Wieskirche was listed as one of the locations of the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1983. The church was originally built by two brothers, J. B. and Dominikus Zimmermann in 1749.

We pushed a heavy wooden door to enter the church.

The west side of the wall which accommodated a piped organ above was undergoing a restoration work, and scaffolding surrounding it barred the visitors to approach the nave of this oval-shaped church directly. We walked around it and sat on one of the pews and gazed at the altar from the distance first.

A panoramic view of the church interior…

What a Rococo extravaganza! Mum and I sighed. Probably, the prettiest church in the world!! We did understand why the poet was moved by the sight. The place was indeed heavenly.

The Residenz at Augsburg was another Rococo extravaganza, but this church surpassed it in my opinion.

The ceiling with trompe l’œil, which made the Wieskirche so famous, did not betray our expectation…

The world outside may be a horrible place. However, the inside of the church is a full of peace and hope, we murmured.

In a typical Rococo style, the church was full of elaborate stucco and plaster works. They were skilfully coloured in manifold of hues, most notably in gold…

Aren’t they amazing?

Legend has it that tears were seen on a dilapidated wooden figure of the Scourged Saviour in 1738. This phenomenon started a flood of pilgrims which swamped a small chapel which then accommodated the statue. A local monastery, Steingaden Abbey, realised that it needed a separate shrine, therefore, decided to commission a new church. The construction started in 1745 and it was completed in 1754.

The present figure being presented in glorious splendour…

Astonishingly, this divinely beautiful church once faced total demolition in the 19th century. Under relentless pressure from the revolutionary France and Napoleon, who advocated the spirit of the secularization of society, the church was nearly destroyed by the Bavarian government. In the end, protests from the local farmers saved the shrine from demolition.

Once we were out of the church, we saw their neighbours. Three ponies…

Are your owners a descendent of the brave farmers who saved this treasure?

A dog was waiting for its owner in the shade…

By the church, there was a small cafe/restaurant which had a good review in Google. Unfortunately, we had a large German breakfast at the hotel and were not remotely hungry. Otherwise, we would have had their famed Wiesküchen, Bavarian donut…

We saw hens pecking the ground. Do you supply eggs to the restaurant?

Houses around the church were pretty…

Now, we are heading for a town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Urban Villages

The tranquil expanse of Grey’s Inn Fields greets me as I walk down Theobold’s Road.
For a long time, I believed that the garden was closed to the public.
Every time I passed there, on foot or on bus, I never saw a living soul except daffodils in the spring or mournful looking plane trees in the winter.
So I assumed the place was out-of-bounds to general public…

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Then, I googled about the garden and discovered that they were open to public!
The opening time is rather brief, between 12:00 – 14:30, Monday to Friday. Still, I CAN go in.
Once, I’ve been given a green light from my surgeon, I shall visit the garden and let you know how I find it.

At the junction with Grey’s Inn Road, Clerkenwell Road starts and it dips gradually towards Farringdon Road.
When will the road blocks around Farringdon be removed? It must be to do with the Crossrail project.
Every night after the London rush hour dies down, the area becomes full of workmen in identical orange overalls with reflective strips. As some of you know, I studied architecture. And the sight of men working in construction sites excites me (kind of). I do like to see humans working against the elements, let me put it this way. I find it heroic.

Anyway, I carry on sauntering along Clerkenwell Road for a short while and turn left into Aylesbury Street.
In the background, a spire of St James’s Church towers over Clerkenwell Green…

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I love the fact that London is full of these charming squares with a villagy atmosphere if I care to look for it.

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Open fields or woods which distinguished the boundaries between parishes have long gone as the city grew.
Yet, those churches which are dotted all over London are discreet backbones of the communities as a magnet to pull the people around it.

Seeing the church on the left, I walk up Sekforde Street.
On this street, there is a pub I have been intrigued for a quite sometimes…

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Sekforde Arms.
The reviews of this water hole are a mixed bag – 50/50 positive & negative.
For example, the food doesn’t sound like their strong point. However, all the reviewers praise the pub for not following the trend and refusing to turn itself to another gastro pub or smarting up for yuppies (aka tossers).

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Oh, I wish Hubbie was with me.
I would have gone inside if I were not alone. I am not a timid kind (far from it).
However, I am not comfortable with the idea of walking into a pub alone – I am ok with a bar but not a pub.

When I mentioned about the pub to Hubbie a while ago, he told me that he had been there already.
“Oh, it’s just an ordinary pub. Nothing special”, he replied.
But darling, all I want is a traditional pub where they have a dart board on the wall and a roaring fireplace in the winter! The pubs with small windows are endangered species in modern London. And I feel a certain nostalgia for it.
Therefore, I shall persuade Hubbie to accompany me in near future…

Sunday Snapper

Last Sunday, we carried out a photo shoot for my latest collection.
It was mega handy to have a husband with his own studio and post production facility plus skill.
Lucky me…

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Hubbie decided to shoot the garments against the wall.
While he was busy with testing lights and a tripod, I dressed a mannequin with my Meringue jumper.

After shooting all three knits, Hubbie wanted to carry on working in the office. So I walked home…

The Catholic Apostolic Church by Gordon Square…

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Apart from the pavements which were re-done some years ago, nothing had changed ever since I was a post-graduate student here.
I love this area a lot. It’s so calming and civilised…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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