After days of rain, the sun finally appeared on Saturday morning. I decided to take advantage of the (temporarily) blue skies and do a bit of on-site research for a story I am writing. This old farmhouse in one of the oldest parts of Garmisch seemed to be basking in the morning's warmth.
King Ludwig II, the still beloved Bavarian king who built Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee, and Neuschwanstein, was born on 25 August. He is still remembered in this region, and still worthy of a celebration. This evening, the Partenkirchen band marched up the narrow, rocky path to his memorial and played a Serenade in tribute to him. There will be mountain fires tonight in Oberammergau in his honor and bouquets of flowers will be left at his tomb in Munich.
The Murnau-Werdenfelser cattle breed is one of the world's oldest and most endangered. Native to the Bavarian region from Murnau to Garmisch, these cattle are used as draft animals, for dairy, and for meat. After years of careful breeding, farmers have produced a sufficient quantity of steers and the meat is now available in restaurants specializing in local foods. Try it as air-dried beef, Bofflamott or Tafelspitz and you will taste the real Bavaria.
Of course, a beer fest has to have music, and plenty of bands were on hand to provide the proper music to accompany a liter of beer.
Even the children are included in the Bierfest. These girls and boys are wearing the outfits of the Werdenfels region, the area around Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
There is much more to Bierfest time than Oktoberfest. Small towns throughout Bavaria celebrate their own beer festivals throughout summer and early fall. These three riders led more than 4000 members of local Trachtenverein (folk dress clubs) to the Fest Tent.
There is a reason that Bavaria's colors are white and blue. Blue sky, puffy white clouds, sun-diamonds strewn across a blue lake--a perfect summer day. What you don't see is the white foam topping my glass of Weizen beer, which I was busy guzzling when I took the photo.
Assumption Day in the Werdenfels region mixes pre-Christian traditions with the Christian story of the Assumption of Mary. In pre-Christian times, medicinal herbs were picked in mid-August, at a period of peak potency. This much-loved tradition was incorporated into the Church calendar. The tradition continues still: on the day before the celebration, children gather bunches of flowers from meadows and gardens. The flowers are made into bouquets and bound onto long poles. The entire family dresses for the occasion in traditional folk costumes and gather in the church square before the Mass and blessing of the flowers.
Kloster Plankstetten, a Benedictine monastery in central Bavaria, is known for its organic farm and fresh produce. A large herd of cattle grazes on open fields and in the apple orchards. A few smart cows discovered that food can come from above as well as below!
Sebastianskirche in Partenkirchen was originally dedicated to the Partenkirchners who died from the plague in the 1600s and were buried in the yard to the left of the church. After World War I, the church was rededicated to those who had died in the War. The church's somber past contrasts with its peaceful appearance this past Tuesday, just after the first significant snowfall of the year.