Saturday, January 31, 2009

Passing Time in Passau

A late lie-in, a cup of coffee with the requisite fresh baked pastry and a road trip to Passau – well now, that has all the makings of a perfect Saturday. Passau is often referred to as the City of Three Rivers because the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz rivers all join there. Side note: doesn’t The Inn & The Ilz sound like a great name for a What’s Hot and What’s Not blog? Tragically, life in Feldmoching has taken me firmly off the trend trail. Any of my NYC girls want to jump on that?

Anyway, back to Passau (not to be confused with Passé which is what you’ll find on The Ilz list). Passau is a colorful city filled with early Gothic and Baroque architecture that has managed to survive despite being the victim of regular floods. During those sandbag-filled days, Passau is referred to by locals as the City of Three *&%$Mother*&%$^Efin Rivers. Supposedly, each of the three rivers has a very distinct color owing to the type and amount of silt, sediment, etc. that they carry from their origin. To me, they just looked – umm, cold. The Danube is said to be more of a yellow and not the waltzy blue for which it is renowned. Clever bit of marketing the Austrian-born Strauss did with that, eh? Seconded only by Red Bull.

Boat trips along the Danube often stop here to grab a bit of German feel and fare. The most visited tourist attraction is the baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral built in 1688. At one time the church boasted (well, maybe not boasted as that doesn’t sound very Christian) the largest pipe organ in the world. There are 17,774 pipes and 233 registers. But sadly, or inevitably, the good ‘ole US of A super-sized that and now they refer to it as the largest pipe organ in Europe.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Linderhof Palace & Andechs Monastery

photo courtesy of flikr

Trudy’s in town so we took the opportunity to venture outside Munich for a day trip to Mad King Ludwig’s Linderhof Palace stopping for a beer on our way back at Andechs Monastery.

I’ll spare you my current obsession with King Ludwig II. Suffice it to say, I’m looking for a good biography on the nutter. Christmas? Dad? Anyone? Anyone? Located south of Munich, Linderhof is a tiny palace in comparison to its sibling Neuschwanstein. Ludwig spent a great deal of time there in his later years when he was in full recluse mode. Hence, it is the only palace in the world without any guestrooms. In fact, Ludwig was such a loner by then that he had a drop floor installed in his dining room so that a fully dressed and laid out table could be hoisted up from the kitchen below thereby enabling him to dine without servants in absolute solitude. Oh yeah, except that he insisted the table be set for four because he liked to talk to imaginary people while he ate. Like I said, nutter.

Unfortunately, because it is winter a lot of the sculptures were under protection and some of the outlying buildings were closed. I definitely want to take a trip back when everything is in bloom to see the gardens and the outer buildings, most notably the Moorish Kiosk where Ludwig spent days on end smoking a big hookah. Smoking what? Who knows, but remember kids - This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs.

Any questions?

After a scenic drive back we stopped at local favorite Andechs Monestery in search of the particular brand of spiritual enlightenment that can only be found at the bottom of a monk-made maß of beer.