Tag Archives: Bavaria

Good News for Conoisseurs of Andechs Beer

There is a well-known Benedictine Abbey on the other side of the lake, famous for its beer.

abbey andechs
Andechs Abbey.
There’s quite a nice beer garden up there, I know it well.

Lots of visitors to Andechs appreciate the taste of the beer there.

I checked their website today (for some reason that has escaped me by now) and they have an announcement on their site that their very popular Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel is now available in the United States.

Click here for a list of stateside online shops that stock it.

In case my MMAW reads this, yes, I will still be sending you some.
You no worry 😉

Why Bavarians Are So Different From “Other” Germany

There really isn’t an explanation, really. But any Bavarian will claim to be a Bavarian before he claims to be German, as Mausi pointed out in her comment on my last post. Though I was born in Bavaria, my families, mother’s and father’s side, come from Silesia originally (which today is in Poland / Czech Republic) and were uprooted along with millions of others and forced to fled when the Russians invaded. Thus, I don’t consider myself a real bavarian. I will never manage to master that lovely dialect, either.

Bavaria first became part of Germany in 1866, through Bavaria’s defeat in the Austrian-Prussian war. From 1806 on, it was a Kingdom and at some point King Ludwig reigned, the king who built all those beautiful castles and died a mysterious death of drowning in three feet of water in the Starnberger See. His casket stands in the basement of St. Michael’s church in Munich and there are always lots of flowers that people leave there in honor of him.

Bavaria is rich in culture and tradition; those traditions are eons old and still practised today. The bavarian people are generally very conservative and very catholic.

Here a few nuggets I swiped from Wikipedia about Bavaria:

The beer riots in Bavaria between 1 May and 5 May 1844 began after King Ludwig I of Bavaria decreed a tax on beer. Crowds of urban workers beat up police, while the Bavarian army showed reluctance to get involved. Civil order was restored only after the King decreed a ten percent reduction in the price of beer. (complete article)

Social behaviour: In comparison to the elaborate formality in the rest of Germany, Bavarians can be extremely egalitarian and folksy. (complete article)

To read about the history of Bavaria, click here. For more information about the Reinheitsgebot of 1516 (Bavaria Purity Law concerning beer production) click here.

If you want to see the difference the dialect makes, have a look at this website from one of Munich’s major breweries. The site can be viewed in Bavarian (Boarisch), German (Deutsch) or English.

Oh Nikolaus, oh Nikolaus.

The Christmas party was o.k. Except for the Nikolaus. He did an awful job. Every year, they write up a lengthy rhyme containing funny stories of things that occurred throughout the year. This Nikolaus stammered and stuttered through the rhyme, taking all of the fun out of it. I am quite sure he hadn’t read the text he was supposed to read in advance – oh, well.

My usually so generous luck on the raffle had left me this year, but I did come home with a coffee maker for two cups and a shower gel / bath set (which I quite like – I am sucker for stuff like that). We also won two smoked eels and two smoked trout, and Hilde won a set of dinner plates and a table stove to keep serving dishes warm.

As promised, here some additional pictures from my most wonderful summer ever. I wanted to post them yesterday but couldn’t, because I’d exceeded my hosting space. I’ve now upgraded a bit, and with that taken care of, enjoy. As always, click for larger.

Having my cake and eating it too.
Peißenberg, June 2005

Eng, Karwendel Mountains, June 2005

Wallgau, near Mittenwald/Garmisch.

Skinny dipping in the Plansee to cool off.

My favorite traffic sign in the whole world –
always makes my heart skip a beat!

Leutaschtal – between Garmisch and Innsbruck.

Passo del Rombo, Italy.

Am I beaming with happiness? Yes!


A post on Seitherin’s Blog about the 12 days of Christmas reminded me of our Rauhnächte and I wondered if there was a correlation. Every two years or so, I ask my stepmom about them (because somehow that info just refuses to stay in my head). Thus, I decided to research the issue and here is a rough translation of what I found out about them in Wikipedia.

Quite a pagan tradition, it turns out.

“The “Rauhnächte” or twelve Nights describe the 12 nights between Christmas Eve (December 24) and the Epiphany (January 6).

In some areas, the Thomas Night (December 21), the longest night of the year, is added. There are differences in the number of Rauhnächte (3-12). In some areas, different time spans are depicted as the Rauhnächte, such as from Thomas Day to New Year’s.

According to old tradition, at least on the four very important Rauhnächte (Dec. 21, Dec. 24, December 31 and January 5), homes and barns were “cleaned” by the man of the house with the use of holy water and frankincence, candles were lit and prayers said. These four Rauhnächte were, in some places, considered so dangerous that they were spent fasting and praying. The house was not allowed to be untidy, laundry was not allowed to be hung out to dry, and women and children were not allowed unaccompanied on the streets after dark.

The twelve nights were also known to the germanic tribes. During these nights, it was believed that the land of ghosts was open and that the souls of the dead and ghosts were able to exit into the “real” world. Demons could hold processions or scatter across the countryside in large groups. Barn animals were said to be able to speak the human language at midnight and tell of the future. Those who might hear the animals talk, however, would die an instant death. According to traditional beliefs, the Rauhnächte are very suitable for carrying out oracles. This belief is still being practised today, with the traditional New Year’s Eve “Bleigießen”. ”

*Bleigießen=Lead casting. Carried out by all persons present at a gathering just after midnight on New Year’s Eve. A small piece of lead or pewter is placed in a special spoon and melted over a candle. Once liquified, it is quickly poured into a cold bowl of water. The random shape of the resulting “object” is used to “tell the fortune” for that person for the coming year. For instance, if the shape looks like a ship, that person might be traveling to far away lands.

First, The Serious Stuff

The current conditions and happenings in New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast boggle the imagination, to put it mildly.

Seitherin has taken the time to put together a comprehensive list of charity organisations here, here, here, and here, to which you can contribute. Please do. Every bit helps. Even 5$. Go. There. Now.

Second, the Idiotic View of Things

It has come to my attention that the German Minister for the Environment, Jürgen Trittin, has made some really assinine comments about Katrina, Kyoto and Bush. Please be advised that Mr. Trittin does not represent the view of the majority of Germans and is in no way representative. He’s an idiot, to put it very mildly.

Third, the Fun Stuff

Summer returned to us for a short visit this week and so I took two whole days off and headed for the Austrian Alps (of course). The first trip on Tuesday took me and the Kiwi up the Hahntennjoch. The pass road peaks at a height of 1900 meters (6200 feet). The second trip also took me there as the route we had planned to take through the Karwendelgebirge was still closed due to the flooding of a few weeks ago. To put it short, we were all over the place in Austria.

(click for larger)

This is at the top of the pass, which is not quite at the top of the mountain.
This was on the way up; a view of the surrounding scenery.
A view at the top. There is actually a Berghütte higher up; the sign stated that it is a hike of 1 1/2 hours. We promised ourselves to take the time to hike up there during our next visit 😉
Here, we were coming down from the “Lautaschtal” after lunch – the peak seen here is the “Wetterstein”.
And this photo was taken from the same spot, looking down at where we were heading. The town in the picture is Telfs.
Jumping back to Tuesday’s ride home, this is the view of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain, seen here from the Austrian side.

My Weekend

and some pictures

I had an appointment with a new customer on Saturday afternoon half-way between here and Munich, so I seized the opportunity of “practically” being in Munich and continued on to visit my favorite aunt Gisi and to install her DSL connection for her.

She had been accessing the internet on my old 56k modem with her 400 Mhz computer; needless to say, snail mail was faster than her internet.

It took me a while to get it set up, especially trying to get around the heavy weight software of AOL, but we got it working and she can now surf the internet at the speed of light.

She treated me to a nice dinner of various cold cuts and garnishes and then I headed for the ride home, as I was there with the Kiwi and once again, thunderstorms were in the forecast.

There were none, and I got home safe, sound and dry.

On Sunday, I was in complete “lazy day” mode and managed to wash and polish my motorcycle before I even bothered to brush my teeth. Ooooohhhhhh. Yeah. After a nice lunch of grilled steak and fried potatoes I decided to treat myself to a nap and turned on the TV, expecting it to drone me into heavenly slumber. Instead, “Tootsie” was playing and though I had seen it years ago I was so drawn into the charm of “Dorothy” a.k.a. Dustin Hoffmann and watched the movie to its end.

Later, I did an extended bike tour to the edge of the Alps. The weather was breathtakingly beautiful. Not even a hint of rain 😉

Here some pictures from a few weeks ago. On most, click for larger.

This is the carving that I bought at the flea market we spontaneously stopped at a few weeks back.
A view of the Lech River in Füssen. The greenish color of the water is characteristic of the river, caused by the algae the river collects in the mountains, where it is not more than a mountain stream.


A view of the Tyrolean mountains before the big rains came.


My two biker companions.
The Plansee, a lake which we somehow almost always manage to pass on the way home. It lies on the German/Austrian border a few kilometers south of the Ammerwald and King Ludwig’s Hunting Lodge, a.k.a. Linderhof.
As most mountain lakes, the water of the Plansee is very clear (and very cold).
And this is the guy who was miffed at being left alone most of the day and thus, decided to repossess my bed 😉

An(other) Outing :-)

Having spent hours doing some serious computer work last week, by Friday morning I was virtually unable to move my head to the left or the right without excrutiating pain. I decided to take the day off, it being the only “good” weather day before the next low pressure system came through, giving us high temperatures of 60 F and lots of rain.

I popped some Ibuprofen and my father and I got on our bikes and headed for Austria. It was a sunny day with lovely blue skies, but the air was cool enough that I turned on my grip heating.
(click for larger pictures).

The countryside around Füssen, at the foot of the alps

We headed south to Füssen, wanted to cross into Austria just behind Pfronten. Don’t go there this year, just don’t. We needed a mere 40 minutes to get to Füssen but spent more than an hour in Pfronten. There was a huge traffic jam just to get into that tiny tourist town. It turns out that they are repaving all main roads, meaning normal traffic is being detoured through residential areas and field paths. When we got finished with the detour, we discovered we were at a completely wrong place. I got off the Kiwi and asked a man for directions to Grän; he insisted we should follow him out of town and he would get us on the proper road. I found that very nice of him, and thus we finally got out of that nightmare that is currently Pfronten.

Just across the border
The road through the valley (lacking guardrail)
Lovely road

We continued on to one of the many lovely valleys of Tirol where we had lunch at 1300 meters (4000 ft.), continued on to the Plansee, crossed back into Germany at the Ammerwald and had coffee in Ettal.

The ride home was just as interesting as the ride down; lots of traffic, main roads which had in some parts been stripped of their pavement – generally frustrating. I got off the main road in Böbing, where we discovered a flea market in progress and promptly stopped to have a look around. I bought a Dean Koontz paperback for .50 € and a carved wall ornament and had a nice conversation with a lady who was selling handknit socks made with Regia sock wool. She was selling them for 15€ a pair. Considering the yarn alone costs 7-8 €, it’s a small profit margin for the hours of labor it takes to knit a pair of socks (two full days at average knitting speed).

T’was a lovely day.

I wanted to post more about this but someone just called and is interested in BUYING MY CAR and OMG I am sitting here in my PJs and the house is a mess and he will be here in two hours……gotta dash!!!!

Meanwhile, I am 77km Shy

of the 4.000 mark with my “little” Kiwi since passing the driving test on May 24.

We have calculated that this distance is the same as had I driven to Moscow and back, or to Palermo and back or to Stockholm and back (with a few km to spare).

Yesterday’s tour, which we have been planning for weeks and which had been preempted more than once due to weather and other factors, took us into the Karwendelgebirge in Tirol, Austria, a mountain range of such beauty, that at times I was truly humbled by the granite massifs surrounding me. A good 80 km of the tour was on a very small road, with a speed limit of 60 kmh, allowing us to concentrate less on the road and more on the scenery. The route was ideal for a motorcycle tour – you see so much more than you would sitting in a car. Your senses, touch, smell, etc. are constantly being teased by various things: the sudden smell of cut hay, the quick change in temperature when you drive into a shady piece of woods, the overwhelming smell of the water by the lake. Heavenly.

Here are some pictures: