Published: February 12th 2007December 13th 2006
The "Breakfast" Cafe
Yummy blueberry crepes!
My day started OK, but very groggy as I did not sleep well - why can't I have hot flashes when I'm outside in the freezing cold?. A shower helped knock out the cobwebs. Things started going a little more smoothly, until I began to dry my hair. Evidently, the power socket in the bathroom does not like my dryer, and I blew the circuit. Great. It is still pitch dark at 6:30 in the morning, but I feel my way to the phone and call to the front desk. The only people in are the kitchen staff, and someone tells me they will be up to my room to check it out. Guess they didn't believe I was standing in the dark with wet hair. A few minutes later, I answer the knock on the door to find the chef in my doorway. He tells me in broken English that he will need to call the owner to learn where the breaker box is located (so do they not have other unknowing Americans who regularly blow the power?). Anyway, 20 minutes later - now 7:00 am - I can now finish getting myself ready, and leave my room at 7:30.
Ettal Street Scene
This sidewalk had been shoveled...not the case throughout. Even in my trusty LL Bean boots, I treaded carefully....
(Note - I later learned that outlets at the sink/mirror are for razors only - not blow dryers. Take heed).
Since there is no tour available to see other interesting places near Fussen, I have planned my day using the public bus system and create my out tour. For $8,50 Euro, I purchase an all day bus pass that will allow me to navigate by bus, wherever the routes go. I head to the bus stop for my 8:05 am departure, stopping at a bakery along the way for a coffee and danish to go - since I had no time for breakfast waiting on the power to come back on. The bus is on time, and off I go, having scarfed down the coffee and danish at the bus stop.
At our first stop, we pick up a local Frau who carrys a basket on wheels. Evidently she is off to the market. Several other locals hop on and off, to start their day of work or errands. We make our way back through the Schwangau Valley, where I have a better opportunity to view the local community with a closer eye. Chimneys filled with smoke indicating
This is the entrance to the main sanctuary, in the middle of the courtyard
fires are lit to warm the families starting their days, and we pass the horses and carriages coming from their farms, going toward the castles to begin their functions of pulling tourists up and down the mountain. These are strong Belgium horses, needed to pull the weight of those of us who would rather ride versus walk, and feel a little enchanted as they make their way up the twisted incline toward the magical Neuschwanstein Castle. I digress....
Roughly 45 minutes after beginning this leg, I change buses at a location called Echeisbruke, where my connecting bus is waiting. I am headed to Ettal first, to check out the huge and very old Monastery located there. Ettal is a great little stop, with lovely old buildings with a few murals. The ride from the bus change to Ettal was about 50 minutes. The danish didn't last long, and I spot a little cafe after getting off the bus, with a sign out front for "Pfannkuchen und Kaffee - $3,60". Sounds like a deal to me. I know that kuchen is cake in German, so I am thinking this is pancakes....we'll see. So I am the only one in the
Ettal Abbey Entrance Detail
Wonderful sculpturing in the building
cafe - it's not really breakfast nor lunchtime. I order and while waiting, I look over the information I've carried with me on the town. Not much other than the Abbey. My breakfast arrives - which is blueberry stuffed crepes, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Yum. I finish and pay, then head to the tourist information office to get information on my destinations later in the day, then head to the Monastery.
Along the way I pass a couple of monuments to German citizens from Ettal that fell during the two World Wars. No different here than any small town in America - the citizens remember those in the community who sacrificed their lives for their homeland, regardless of whether those soldiers or those in the community agreed with the purpose of the battle. I walk slowly on the sidewalk, as there is much ice and snow, and the last thing I want to do on day 3 of my trip is fall and get hurt, in the middle of a small Bavarian town, no doubt many hours from where any type of emergency service is available. I finally make it to the Abbey and it is glorious. On a
side note, I found an interesting comment and writing on the Ettal Abbey website as I was doing my pre-trip research, where a public apology was placed to any foreign worker placed there during WWII. I learn that workers here were in fact treated very fairly, at least when the Monastery was in control of the effort, paid wages, etc., and that at the end of the war, it was used as a hospital to treat wounded soldiers.
Ettal was endowed and built during the 1300's, and has undergone additions and restoration over the years. It is occupied by Benedictine Monks, who operate a school and brewery, and operate the Monastery as a self-sustaining community. They raise their food, and from the profits of the brewery, operate with little need from outside their organization.
While the outside of the main church is impressive, with 4 walls to form a courtyard (which can be gated at the entrances if ever needed), the entrance to the church is quite plain. Two very large wooden doors cover the entrance to the massive sanctuary, and I was quite amazed at the splendor and artistry that I saw when I walked through those
I'm sure there is another name for this area other than side alter - but it was on one of the sides of the main alter
doors. I'll let the pictures that I post tell what I saw - I could never describe how beautiful and yet reverent this sanctuary was.
I sat for a while in reverent thought in one of the pughs - how could you not in this spiritual place, then bought several candles and lit them as homage, said a few prayers, and made my way to the gift shop. As I made my way across the courtyard, I could hear singing by what I believe to be the Monks in another part of the church. How glorious. Even though I am not Catholic, I learned a long time ago that God is God, no matter what church you sit in, what town you walk through or what country you are in.
I bought a Hummel "birthday wishes" book, printed in German, for my friend Charlotte in Germany who I will see tomorrow in Salzburg, for today is her birthday. I check the bus schedule and see that in 10 minutes my bus to Linderhof will arrive, and head out. While waiting on the bus, I snapped a few more pictures of this lovely little village. While my stop was
short, only about 2 hours, it gave me a wonderful set of memories that I will keep for the rest of my life.
There are more photos below