Ðiessen – Wessobrun. – Hohenpeissenberg.
I talked yesterday of a pilgrimage to Andechs and today realised that I’m on the Munich to Santiago de Compostela route. Hence along the way are numerous shrines, churches and monasteries. I met a man, complete with staff and shell, who had just started a few days ago – only 2600k to go. I remember when I made the journey by bike from Le Puy in France there were many Germans on the road.
I only know this because of the above sign, the towns are apparently twinned. I had been previously been surprised as I walked up Ðiessen’s main street to see a red English phone box (complete with modern phone system), a gift from Windermere. A strange start to the day.
Ðiessen is dominated by its parish church, The Marienmuenster. This was my first stop today. Typical of this area it is decorated in the Baroque/Rococo style of the 17th and 18th centuries. The domed clock tower was perfectly proportioned. Internally white stucco with swirling golden giltwork, potent romanticised paintings, elaborate altar. The overpowering ceiling artwork, the ornate pulpit and the organ gallery took my attention. This pattern was to be repeated in every church passed today, and there were quite a few. When I look at my photos I’m not sure which was which, so I won’t bore you with too many.
Walking out of Ðiessen brings you into pretty countryside, meadows with the German alps in the background. Being Sunday more people were out on the well signed trails. Haven’t met any Brits yet. Ahead I could also see the prealp of Hohenpeissenberg, 988m which I would climb much later in the day. A long winding route through a forest kept me in the shade but I was plagued by horseflies, lots of itchy lumps tonight. Next stop was the Abbey complex at Wessobrunn, this was surprisingly quiet after yesterday’s experience. Interesting church, a free standing bell tower and the monastery buildings. I ignored the obviously busy inn nearby hoping to have a break at the next further on, but it was closed on arrival. Bird in the hand moral. Little used paths dropped into a gorge and over a rotting bridge, the KLW was signed elsewhere but I stuck with my guidebook. Written in 1987 by the Speakmans it is still surprisingly accurate, nothing much has changed in these parts.
Classic alpine farmland followed on the undulating landscape, the farmhouse cum barns are surprisingly large but all well kept. Little used lanes threaded through the countryside and took me to the small hamlet of St. Leonhard I’m Forst where there was of course a delightful Baroque church to visit.
I was glad to be out of the next stretch of pine forrest only to confronted by the steep climb up Hohenpeissenberg, 988m. The last steep meadow led to the pilgrim church, meteorology observatory, gasthof and of course crowds of people. There were views back to Andechs above the Ammersee. On the Southern I sat for awhile and admired the view across the valley to the Alps including Germany’s highest – Zugspitze at 2962m.
A quick visit to the interior of the church to view the paintings… … and then I was seated on the balcony of Bayerischer Rigi enjoying a drink, meal and that fabulous view. 300m down the otherside in no time to my lodgings on an industrial estate next to the station. Turned out to be 1st class.