Lake Plansee

After paying homage to the Wieskirche, we left Steingaden and headed for Linderhof, another palace created by Ludwig II. We were directed to take A17 and then 179 once we crossed the border between Germany and Austria.

We could have gone an alternative route which would have taken us westward via A23 to the palace.

The journey would be shorter and faster through the Bavarian mountains and we would stay within Germany.

I can’t remember why we decided to take the longer eastward route but the decision we never regretted about taking it because of this…

Lake Plansee!

It was so beautiful and I simply had to pull over and park the car as soon as I found a suitable lay-by.

Lake Plansee was located in the district of Reutte, Austria. It comprises an area of 280 hectares and is the largest lake in Tyrol.

The water quality was outstanding. It was clear and the colour was amazing.

Emerald green water of Lake Plansee…

It was a breathtaking sight.

We saw a man on the boat in the distance. He appeared to be reading a book…

How I envied that man on a boat! Floating on this heavenly beautiful water and chilling out. I would love to do a long “doing nothing” holiday by Lake Plansee too, I sighed. May be I should suggest it to Hubbie.

Let’s top up a tan on my legs…

Unfortunately, we must press on, mum. I shepherded her back to the car. We must to get to Linderhof before the place get as crowded as Neuschwanstein.

Even though the visit was fleeting, we were very glad that we found the lake. We would have missed this amazing place completely if we took another route. It was a pure luck that we saw this spellbinding sight.

Everyone, don’t forget to visit Lake Plansee if you are travelling in Tirol!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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

Snowball in June

No, it was not a real snowball but a pastry named as Schneeball (snowball), which was the most famous sweet in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. And I forgot to taste it!

I blame the heat wave, which was upon us throughout our road trip, for making me to miss out on this local delicacy. It was simply too hot to have any appetite for a fist-size fat-fried donut with sugar. Instead, I craved for ice cream (and beer).

Awww, Scheebälle! I want you now…

Are they like Krispy Kreme?

The history of these pastries is very long – they have been known to exist for at least 300 years. They were meant to be served on special occasions such as weddings, however, they became famed local delicacies and started to be available throughout the year.

The main ingredients are flour, eggs, sugar, butter, cream and plum schnapps. In order to form a distinctive shape of Schneeball, the dough is first rolled out and cut into even strips with a special rake-like cutter. The dough is cut as such that the top and bottom are left intact. Then, partially cut dough is loosely assembled and placed in a “Scheeballeneisen” – metal tongs with hollowed globes on the both ends. Finally, the scheeballeneisen with the dough inside is inserted into a deep-fryer, and voila, a golden brown Schneeball is born! Obviously, it has to resemble the real thing, therefore, it is dusted with confectioner’s sugar while warm.

Nowadays, Schneeball comes in many varieties of flavour, such as dark chocolate, white chocolate, mocha, almond, marzipan, vanilla, etc.

When mum and I were peering into a show window of Cafe Walter Friedel, a man standing nearby turned and asked if we were Japanese.

‘They are Schneebälle, did you know?’ He smiled. He was a Japanese tourist and visiting the town which was a part of the package holiday. ‘We came by a tour bus. How did you two get here?’

He was very much surprised when I told him that I drove from London. His eyes twinkled with excitement. ‘Oh wow! Really? I’d love to drive on a world famous autobahn too!’, he gushed. Apparently, he loved fast cars and driving a car in general. He confided to us that a driving holiday in Europe, especially hiring a BMW in Germany and driving it on autobahn, was his lifelong dream.

Our conversation returned to the Schneebälle in the window, and we asked him if he tried them already. He replied yes and told us what he thought about them.

‘They were very sweet and rather greasy.’

Oh, I see. Mum and I looked at each other, thinking the same thing. Are they going to be as anticlimactic as Kendel Mint Cake or Grasmere Gingerbread?

Anyway, the man and we parted shortly afterward, wishing each other a safe journey home.

Next day, we did have a chance to explore the town, but we completely forgot about the pastries because our attention was all focused on the Rothenburg’s famed Christmas shops.

As I write this post, I have come across a German confectionary shop Walter Friedel, and they are happy to ship their Schneeball to anywhere in the world as long as the order is more than €18.00! I am going to ask Hubbie if he wants to try them. So watch this space…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Hot & happy in Würzburg

Anther advice given by Mr.Orange T about how to avoid the hand brake getting stuck was, not to use it altogether when I parked my car. Instead, he suggested to put a gear in first or reverse after the engine was turned off so the wheels were locked and the car would not move.

Later that day, the hand brake did misbehave again when I used it unwittingly. It was very difficult to break my old habit – using a hand brake! Ever since I was qualified to drive, I always used a hand brake if the car was stationary for more than a few minutes. The habit was ingrained into my system so deeply and it was almost an unconscious thing.

After a few errors and near misses, mum decided to place her hand over the hand brake every time I parked the car so I wouldn’t pull it up absentmindedly!

When we arrived at Würzburg, it was around three o’clock in the afternoon. The room was rather spartan-like but we were only too happy to have somewhere to put our feet up…

After freshing ourselves up, we went out to explore the city. The place appeared quiet or even subdued comparing it with bustling Strasbourg. ‘Maybe it is because today is Sunday?’ Mum and I discussed as we crossed the road with tramway tracks.

Würzburg was well known as a start / finish point of the Romantische Straße – Romantic Road. The city was also the center of the Franconian wine country and all the hillsides encircling the city were adorned with light green pinstripe patterns of grapevines, a telltale sign of the wineries.

We visited St.Mary’s Chapel – the Marienkapelle, which was built in the 14th Century…

Like most of the churches and cathedrals we would come across in Germany, the church’s external walls and stained glass windows were not original. It was due to the damage caused by aerial bombings by the Allies during WWII.

The temperature started to soar as Europe was hit by the recent heat wave. The pavement of Marktplatz was gleaming under the baking afternoon sun. Apart from the people, who were sitting in the shade provided by the street cafes, there were hardly any people in the square

We came to Schönbornstraße…

Again, no many people were on the street.

We saw trams going by…

It was so hot so we decided to have some ice cream…

‘It is like a dream comes true!’

I confided to mum how blissful I felt as I lick my lemon sorbet. I was with my beloved mum in Würzburg, sitting on the same bench and talking face to face! What more could I want?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Blog at WordPress.com.