Tag Archives: Churches

Fürstenfeld Abbey… and more CAKE!

Fürstenfeldbruck, where I was born when bushy beards and flouncy flares were in fashion all at the same time, has its small town charms, but it’s definitely not a tourist town. There’s nothing to see. Except for this: Fürstenfeld Abbey.

The story, served up in twitterian brevity: In 1256, some Bavarian Duke executed his wife for adultery. Then it turned out she didn’t do it. Oooops. Too late to fix it with flowers, so he built a massive monastery instead.

Usually, the portals to the Abbey’s church are shut, or they only let you in as far as the iron-wrought interior gates, but, much to my delight, this time, the church was open to all. As you’ll see, it’s really quite… overwhelming. There’s not a square inch that hasn’t got stucco/gold leaf/a fat angel clinging to it.

The BEST thing about this place, though, is the restaurant. The food is (and always has been) absolutely fabulous, and it’s very reasonably priced.

Fürstenfeld Abbey Church, ExteriorFürstenfeld Abbey 4Fürstenfeld Abbey 3Fürstenfeld Abbey 2OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFürstenfeld Abbey Wrought IronOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And this was my lunch:

Fleischpflanzerl

Delicious veal rissoles smothered in pepper sauce with spätzle (tiny flour ‘dumplings’ that are kind of like pasta). It was really quite picante, and I loved every bite!

Zwetschgendatschi

Zwetschgendatschi – very traditional and seasonal. The plums are quartered and arranged on a yeast dough base, which isn’t actually sweet, and which really brings out the flavour of the fruit.

If you’d like to see a handful of pictures of my birth town, click here. There’s ice cream! 😉

 

 

 

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Rainy Regensburg. And Skewered Sausages.

Last Wednesday, mum and I took a trip to Regensburg, another very old and splendid Bavarian town. Things didn’t look very promising when we set off. According to the weather forecast, Regensburg would live up to its name: “Regen” means “rain” in German. (Regen is also the name of a river that flows through the town, which is how it got its name).

In the end, the weather wasn’t too bad, although you’ll notice a distinct lack of blue sky in the photos.

The flowers held up pretty well

The flowers held up pretty well

Perfect weather for snails :)

Perfect weather for snails 🙂

...and man eating fish

…and man-eating fish

man eating fish 2

Street and umbrellaTower and brollyChickensRegensburg streetRegensburg Arch

Regensburg Mural

Time for a food break 🙂 Question: What do you do when you can’t decide which kind of sausage to have..?

Answer: You order them ALL!

Answer: You order them ALL! On a skewer, so they can’t get away.

 

"Sauerbraten" - Beef (which has been marinated overnight), potato dumplings and red cabbage.

“Sauerbraten” – Beef (which has been marinated overnight), potato dumplings and red cabbage. It’s a traditional Bavarian dish, and this incarnation was just PERFECT.

 

A pretty café

A pretty café

Bicycle

Love the daisies 🙂

 

Regensburg's Gothic Cathedral is world famous. I didn't like it much from the inside, far too dark and dingy, although the painted glass windows are amazing, admittedly.

Regensburg’s Gothic Cathedral is world famous. You can’t miss the spires poking out from behind the town houses. I didn’t like it much from the inside, far too dark and dingy, although the painted glass windows are amazing, admittedly.

These next few pictures are from the Church of St Emmeram, which looks fairly unassuming from the outside.

St Emmeram Entrance

St Emmeram 1

From the inside, however…!

St Emmeram Ceiling

St Emmeram Organ

St Emmeram Wooden Ceiling

Painted wooden ceiling, which came out very dark, so I lightened it and enhanced the colours slightly.

St Emmeram gate

Acupuncture - already popular in the dark ages...

Acupuncture – already popular in the dark ages…

OK, that’s it.

Wait… something’s missing… what could that be…? Oh oh, I remember – CAKE!

Poppy seed strudel!!! Actually, I had that before we ever got to Regensburg. Due to a 5-minute delay of the connecting train, we saw our train pull out of the station just as we got there. So we consoled ourselves with cake while waiting for the next one :)

Poppy seed strudel!!!
Actually, I scoffed that before we ever got to Regensburg. Due to a 5-minute delay in our train connection, we saw our train pull out of the station just as we arrived. So we consoled ourselves with coffee & cake while waiting for the next one 🙂

Look Up, Look Down: Trausnitz Castle, Landshut

Yesterday, I posted a bunch of pictures of the beautiful Bavarian city of Landshut (click here if you’ve missed them), so most of you will already be well prepared for what’s coming today: We’re schlepping up the hill to gawp at (and down from) the castle, Burg Trausnitz.

This thing was built in 1204. The Wittelsbach dynasty, which ruled Bavaria for hundreds of years, had its main seat in Landshut for a while, so Castle Trausnitz was ramshackle full of medieval splendour, art and culture. “Was” is the operative word here, because, unfortunately, there was a fire in 1961, which destroyed most of the building and its contents. Cause: faulty electrical wiring. Oh, the (sad) irony…

Anyway, the (rebuilt) place is still pretty impressive, and makes a worthy entry for travelwithintent’s weekly Look Up, Look Down photo challenge 🙂

Burg Trausnitz ArchBurg Trausnitz Way UPBurg Trausnitz White PartBurg Trausnitz TurmBurg Trausnitz InnenhofBurg Trausnitz Innenhof

We took a guided tour, and, although, the rooms were relatively bare (except for the chapel), there were some pretty pieces to view. We weren't allowed to take photos, but I manage this sneaky shot of the "Narrentreppe" (staircase of fools).

We took a guided tour. Although the rooms were relatively bare (except for the chapel), there were some pretty pieces on show. We weren’t allowed to take photos, but I managed this sneaky shot of the “Narrentreppe” (staircase of fools).

The Martinskirche through a window.

The Martinskirche through a Trausnitz Castle window.

Martin's church steeple is Bavaria's highest church steeple.

The Martinskirche steeple is Bavaria’s highest church steeple.

Pretty Bavaria: Landshut

On Tuesday, mum and I made another foray into Lower Bavaria. This time our destination was the splendid city of Landshut,  50 minutes east of Munich by train.

Landshut was founded in 1204. It was a seat of government, before Bavaria was eventually united and Munich became the official capital.

Apparently, Landshut is one of Bavaria’s richest cities. And it certainly is very pretty. I’ll let the pics do the talking…

Landshut HousesLandshut Town HallLandshut Haus 1Landshut KirchendeckeOro vivoLandshut Kirchentor

You didn't think that there wasn't a cake break, did you...?!  Mum had the strawberry cake, and I the Mohnschnecke. I guess you'd call it a poppy seed Danish. BTW, I HATE having to call this heavenly family of baked goods "Danish", because they are very much a Central European thing and have nothing whatsoever to do with bloody Denmark!

You were waiting for that cake break, weren’t you…?! 😉
Mum had the strawberry cake, and I the Mohnschnecke. I guess you’d call it a poppy seed Danish. BTW, I RESENT having to call this heavenly family of baked goods “Danish(es)”, because they are very much a Central European thing and have nothing whatsoever to do with bloody Denmark!

Landshut Houses 3

Martinskirche on the left there, sports the highest church steeple in Bavaria, and the highest red brick steeple in the world, at just over 130m tall. Building works commenced in 1385.

The Martinskirche on the left there, sports Bavaria’s highest church steeple, and the highest red brick steeple in the world, at just over 130 metres tall. Building works commenced in 1385. And I Iove the cyclist in the stripey T-shirt balancing his parcel… 😉

Inside the Martinskirche

Inside the Martinskirche

One of the entrance doors (interior view)

One of the entrance doors (interior view)

In an upcoming post, we’ll be visiting the castle 🙂

Easter In Toledo: Holy Crap!

Maundy Thursday is a very special day in Toledo, I was told. It is the day when the city’s myriad of monasteries and convents, usually closed to outsiders, open their doors to the hoi polloi. Spain’s first Catholic cathedral was built in Toledo, and resting on its momentous religious significance, every conceivable Catholic order has its hive. Nevertheless, the number of devout men and women contained within their thick stone walls has been progressively shrinking, and it seems that, nowadays, almost all the nuns, monks and priests under the age of 70 emanate from Latin America, Africa or the Philippines.

But I digress…

This is my third Easter since moving to Toledo, and I’d missed “The Grand Opening” of these holy dwelling places in the two years previous. So this time round, I was determined not to let it pass me by.

Well, I needn’t have bothered.

I’d not done much research beforehand to see what it was all about. I had naively hoped that I’d be able to indulge in a bit of “snooping”. I mean, I would love to see a working convent or a monastery from the inside, even if it was just for an amble around the inside courtyards (which can be very beautiful), a sneak peek into the reading room, kitchen, dining hall, or anything actually relevant to the everyday life of the inmates.

But no. The deal was that the institutions’ churches opened, allowing you to have a quick shuffle round the pews, gaze at statues of gold-robed saints with their fingers in weird positions and pray that you’d not get trapped in there mid-mass. Unless you actually wanted to attend mass. Which I didn’t. But I did get trapped. For a whole three hours. OK, it was probably only 20 minutes…

During my detainment, I noticed something interesting. At the back of these churches, facing the altar, there’s often a separate section, partitioned off with a wooden lattice. When I turned round during the interminable sermon, I realised what these were for: they were viewing galleries for the nuns. There they stood, shoulder on shoulder in solemn silence, watching the men in their fancy dresses pull off their show in what was actually their (i.e. the convent’s) church.

We (I was accompanied by my delightful Aussie neighbours) made it to four or five venues (with stopping off for drinks in between) before we ran out of steam.

There was only one WOW!-moment for me, induced by this most spectacular ceiling:

Church Ceiling Ceiling close-up

Toledo has some very fancy doors (here’s a picture post, if you’re interested), and we passed by this one on our thirsty pilgrimage:

Toledo Door

I wasn’t so much fascinated by the door itself, butt by the … erm… assome masonry work…

Over the millennia, Toledo has amassed a stockpile of tales and legends that would fill Hogwarts library twice over. It’s not all cute and pleasant bedtime lore, as you can imagine. And if all those sieges, driving out of Jews, murdering of Moors, not to mention the Spanish Inquisition, weren’t enough, there’s a whole compendium of ghost stories. The local Tourist Office is not above promoting Toledo’s dark side. On our walk, we came across this gem of a poster:

Toledo scary poster

What are you two idiots staring at the bloody lamp for?! Chucky’s about to get you…!

I’m a bit concerned now that I might have given you nightmares… here’s some remedial petunias for you:

Petunias

Happy Easter 🙂