Drawing of our hotel in Maulbronn
Everyone met at our hotel for a huge breakfast buffet. Wedding guests filled the hotel and when Reinhard and Elena arrived, they were applauded to loud cheers. Folks began to say their goodbyes and get on their way. Osse suggested a trip to the Maulbronn Monastery, a World Heritage site right down the street, and several of us went there to explore. We took a guided tour in German but we had an English audio version as well. Some things were highlighted on the recording and some by the guide. Brian, Jerry, Osse, Lotte, and Flo all shared facts so we got the maximum culture and information. It was very interesting. The Monastery was founded by the Cistercian Monks, was very wealthy for the time and had a major impact on the area. It's one of the best preserved in Europe. The Monks didn’t speak for the most part. Meals were silent but they could talk at certain meetings. They even had something like our daily “stand-ups” – a quick morning gathering to discuss and plan the day. Imagine if our Admirals and Executives could only talk during those times and not any other - some might call that heaven on
The Monastery complex
earth! The church was amazing with beautiful stained glass and carvings on the ceiling. Jesus on the Cross looked like wood but was actually carved from a single block of stone. On June 21st
, the Summer Solstice, the sun shines through the red stained glass and illuminates Jesus in red light. In the church there is an area where the lay, or working monks, sat and the “Super Monks” sat behind a wall in big wooden seats. Eventually, the Monks got kicked out during the Reformation, when it became Protestant and later a boarding school. Some bad kids carved their names in the walls so maybe it was a reform school! it's a Seminary today and the property is a work of art with a quaint charm. About 65 families still live here and there are restaurants and shops. It was definitely interesting and underscores how much history is around every corner. We headed back to Aunt Eva’s and made it before wine-thirty. We spent some time talking with Britta about differences in American and German wedding traditions. Germans have one better idea with no bridesmaids or groomsmen. This means no closets full of not-so-attractive bridesmaid's dresses that don't ever
Walking around the Monastery complex which is large
get worn again (apologies to those of you whose weddings I was in for insulting your dresses with a generalization - they were LOVELY! - and to those of you in our wedding for making you buy another ugly dress!) We said our goodbyes to most of the family that we won't see again this trip. Once again, it's been a wonderful visit and so fun spending time with everyone here.
Fun Foodie Fact: There are several legends about how a traditional German ravioli got its start. One has it that a resourceful monk at the Maulbronn Monastery did not want to refrain from enjoying meat during fasting. His idea was to mix meat, spinach and vegetables and wrap it in noodle dough. "Maulbronn Ravioli" became a dish associated with Maundy Thursday and Good Friday - the meat is okay because it's "hidden". The other legends are that refugees or a Countess pirated copies of the ravioli from Italy but those aren't as relevant to our story! In any case, it's now called Swabian Maultaschen and, in 2009, the European Union recognized it as a "regional specialty" significant to the cultural heritage of the area. This measure provides protection
Brian getting the scoop from the audio guide before we go inside. Check out the doors.
for integrity of the dish, mandating that genuine Maultaschen are only produced in Swabia, a historical region now incorporated into today's German areas of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. This is similar to "Black Forest Ham" which comes from.....yup, you guessed it...
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