Wednesday, 30 September 2015

9.30.15 Wieskirche

Misty morning. Took off to see the Wieskirche a pilgrimage Roman Catholic Church. Joseph remembers it from years of watching a movie called Christmas in Germany that this church plays a part in. It's now famous because it's a well preserved and maintained rococo style structure.

It became a pilgrimage church when a dilapidated figure of the "Scourged Christ" was seen to have shed tears. It was placed in a small chapel but because of the immediate and high volume of pilgrims a church was built to house the figure. The popularity increased when it was said that people who prayed in front of the statue were cured of disease.


I had to include this picture. If you notice the back of the pew has a piece of wood that makes it impossible to sit back because it hits you right across the shoulders and upper back to keep you from slouching or dozing off. It seems to me religion required suffering for it to be worthwhile.

From there we did a drive by of the Neuschwanstein castle. You would think that if we came all this way we would at least have the patience to endure the line and hoards of people to get up to the castle. But we were content to see it from afar and stroll the streets of Fussen after another very heart German meal.


We strolled the lake shore for a few minutes then napped before cocktails at 5.


So far my absolute favorite sign directing to the restrooms.


9.29.15 Bavaria with a dip into Austria

It was cool this morning. Thirty three. It turned out to be a gorgeous day after the sun burned off the lake fog. We jumped in the Beamer with Joseph at the helm and took a drive into the mountains. Our drive took us into Austria a first for both of us.


We traveled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberammergau, and Linderhof where the Swan King Ludwig II built one of his 3 palaces.

Joseph and I had read a murder/mystery novel about King Ludwig II awhile ago. He was an extravagant recluse and built 3 castles or palaces. The one in Linderhof was the only one completed and where he lived for a number of years. He was castigated for spending all of his fortune and trying to spend the governments coffers on his fantasy castles. The government attempted to have him ruled insane because of his indulgences, reclusiveness and homosexuality but obviously another group just thought it easier to kill him. He was found in a lake along with his doctor - the one refusing to go along with the insanity story.

The palace was small and way over the top. All I could think about was how did they keep this place clean.

Home again and dinner on the lake. I'll be unrecognizable on my return home with all the weight I've put on. If not now when.



Tuesday, 29 September 2015

9.28.15 Amsterdam to Enzenberg

Early morning start. Got into Munich mid morning. We were upgrade at no charge to this sports car (Z4 BMW) for our drive to Enzenberg at the foot of the Bavarian alps. We had to empty a couple of our suitcases so we could stuff every nook and cranny of the trunk. I haven't been able to get Joseph out of the drivers seat.


Our hotel (Hotel Geiger) is on Lake Hopfensee. It's beautiful. Gorgeous mountain peaks with a placid lake in front. People promenading around the lake shore with their dogs.

It was Joseph's birthday. Want to know how I remembered that? We drove past a pile of pumpkins on the side of the road. Joseph's birthday cake is usually a pumpkin pie. It was only then I remembered it was his birthday. Whoops. Yes we are still married because he has such a huge heart.

We stopped at the Andec Monastary for some food and the beer that's brewed there. It's what I'd imagined a beer all to be. Everyone sitting in a large hall around common tables. I had the crispy pork knuckle (ham shank) with warm sauerkraut and a pint of dark beer. It was delicious but I'm still recovering from a sick stomach - not sure wether it was all the fat or the sauerkraut but haven't seen hungry since.

We had a good nights sleep in spite of the indigestion.

Wanted to share this last Amsterdam picture. A couple strolling their youngster as well as the oldster.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

9.27.15 Sunday Ride In The Countryside

Our morning walk to breakfast.

We were fortunate enough to track down our Foodie tour guide Jelte. He agreed to take us on a tour of the country side - by bike. Since he knew about my physical limitations from our previous tour he showed up with a bike for Joseph and a 3 wheeled bike with a box and seat in front where I sat.

Joseph wanted a picture of me in it but it was a sensitive issue for me to sit and have someone else do all the work. I told myself it's either let my ego go and enjoy the beautiful Sunday weather or hang onto it and sulk in the apartment.

An honest to goodness Dutch dike.


The tour took us outside the city proper onto the dike system and the towns sitting on them. We stopped mid way at a pub for a light lunch and then ended with some apple pie and coffee.

Tomorrow we leave bright and early for Munich and another adventure.

Good bye to the city of bikes.


Saturday, 26 September 2015

9.26.15 Saturday Amsterdam

Another beautiful day with blue skies. Fall is certainly everywhere - leaves changing colors and rustling along the stones on the street and floating down the canals, scarves around necks, chairs pulled out from out under the umbrellas to sit in the sun.

The treacherous stairs to our apartment.

The treacherous breakfast in our bellies.

Leisurely morning. Stepped out for breakfast before going to the flower market. The market is completely different then when I was here in the spring many years ago. The stalls were packed with fresh cut flowers then but of course it was spring. Today there were bulbs as far as the eye could see but a few fresh flowers.

What more could you ask for than the Madonna of the Nutella.

Returned to the apartment for a rest and then hopped on the tram to the Rijks Museum. There are available audio tours that includes 2 highlight tours that direct you to the... well highlights. It was really nice. Since I've started painting again I'm intrigued by the brush strokes.

Now back at the apartment to relax before going out to get Indonesian food for dinner.


Our place is the 2nd story above the cow museum... for real - a cow museum.


Friday, 25 September 2015

9.25.15 Van Gogh

You have to take the bad with the good. So far we've had excellent tours but today was not so good. The guide was nice enough but she didn't tell stories. She described paintings physically and almost read the plaques that described Van Gogh's painting periods. She needed to take a page from the foodie guides and weave a story around a painting or a group of paintings.

Van Gogh has always made me uncomfortable. He was a wounded soul and it comes through in his paintings of which he did 800 of in his 10 year painting career. He was in a time of no alternatives as in medication and struggled. I'm sure he found escape and a meditation in painting but ultimately it wasn't enough. We also found a chance to escape and took it leaving the tour mid-morning.

We headed to another restaurant specializing in apple pie - we both agreed not as good as the place yesterday. Then wandered into a coffe house before heading back to our apartment.

The weather is beautiful with blue skies and sun streaming through our big windows overlooking the canal. The windows were made big to allow as much natural light in as possible and to lighten the structure as far as weight goes. Lots of chatter on the street below and occasionally the clatter of horse hooves.


Thursday, 24 September 2015

9.24.15 Amsterdam Foodie Tour

I remember commenting to Joseph at the start of our journeys that this trip would be about using other senses primarily taste. A food tour is a great way to introduce yourself to a city. Amsterdam like London has a very international cuisine. There are apparently 180 of the 200 recognized nationalities in the world having a presence in Amsterdam.

We started in a brown cafe. They are called brown cafes because they all took on a brown dullness caused by years of cigarette smoke. Today you can't smoke cigarettes in restaurants but years ago you could. These small bars and restaurants are exactly that - small. Tiny in fact.

Most of our tour was in the Jordaan section of Amsterdam. Initially working class neighborhood transformed into a district of art galleries, upscale shopping and restaurants. Our guide was educated formally in history and again very knowledgable.

Apple pie is a Dutch tradition as much so as an American one. That's where we started. A piece of apple pie and coffee in a restaurant started in 1642 and passed on from generation to generation - the Cafe Papeneiland. We met 3 generations - the youngest making the pies. The father taking care of the bar. The grandfather hanging out and doing some of the serving. Once again they never had my Grandma Koepkes apple pie.

Then to Swieti Sranang to taste broodje pom (chicken and a root with chile sandwich) and baka bana (deep fried plantain with a satay sauce). This is influenced from the Dutch colony of Surinam off the eastern coast of South America and Indonesia. Loved the food. Wild mouthful of flavor.

Butcher Louman was next. A sausage place. Thought of you Neil. Good but nothing like yours.

Meer Dan Vis for some salt cured herring and breaded deep fried cod.

Across the street was a candy store. More precisely licorice. Who knew the Dutch loved and ate so much licorice. I'm not even a take it or leave it licorice guy. I hate it but if Joseph can eat the herring I'm going to eat the licorice. Still don't like it - at all.

We took a canal cruise on the salon boat called "Tourist". Its a beautiful 106 year old vessel designed specifically for the canals and touring. Winston Churchill and the Queen of Netherlands at the time Willhelmiana toured Amsterdam on this boat. It was beautiful and on it we had cheese, champagne, beer, and meatballs.






The final stop was Cafe De Prins where we had pofferjes. It's a plate of mini pancakes served with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

What else did we learn. People built there house facades leaning out towards the canal to give it more of an impression of size as you looked up from the street and to keep water off the front since the bricks were prone to corrosion. The tulip came from northern India. It grew extremely well here and at one point the bulb was a food source tasting like cabbage. Bicycles rule as transportation - greater than 50 percent travel by bike. I asked the question why don't they use helmets. First off nobody goes fast - cars or bikes. Most accidents are bumps and bruises. One fatality last year none the year before. In Denmark another bike country they pushed for helmet use and it dropped bicycle use by 20 percent.

They are a secular country. Seventy percent have no religious affiliations. These Dutch are always leading the way except for their color choice. Orange. Sorry that doesn't do it for me.