Weyarn in Bayern/ Bavaria

Weyarn is a village about an hour to the south-east of Munich, east of the Mangfalltal, taking the Salzburger Autobahn (highway). It is not spectacular, but the St. Peter and Paul’s church, the monastery founded by the Count of Falkenstein in 1133 and the surroundings are historically interesting.

Unfortunately, one cannot enter the church, there is a glass barrier and bars.

The modern houses in Weyarn present a pleasant contrast to the old monastic building which accomodate the Priory, the Town Hall and the café with its whitewashed vaulted ceilings. The café can be strongly recommended, their cakes are delicious, plum and heavy cream : Zwetschenschmand, apple or cherry crumble, cheese and cream with tangerines : Käsesahne. They also serve lunch tidbits and small meals, such as fresh pasta with chanterelles. There is a large terrace with shady trees or you can sit indoors.

Weyarn is part of a Baroque Route which you can follow throughout Bavaria. Many lovely churches, especially those built by the Asam brothers, are scattered all over.

Quick quisine : cucumber salad and fast fish

When the weather is sweltering and humid and there is nothing better than staying in the water, you need light dishes that tempt those taste buds.

  • 150 g fish fillet per person
  • lemon juice
  • lemon pepper
  • aluminum foil
  • 1 – 2 cucumbers
  • 1 – 2 cups of sour cream
  • spring onions, chopped
  • chopped dill
  • salt and pepper
  • lemon juice to taste
  • a crusty baguette
  • sauce Remoulade

I go to my favorite French marketender at the Friday market and buy some fillet of plaice, about 150 g per person, wrap it in aluminum foil with a bit of sulphurized paper to keep it from sticking, sprinkle lemon juice and lemon pepper on top and shove the packets in the oven at 200° till done, about 14 min.

Meanwhile peel 1/3 cucumber per person and slice it thin into a large salad bowl. Wash the spring onions and the dill thoroughly and chop them into small bits, add to the bowl. Add in 1 – 2 cups of sour cream, a generous spoonful of salt and pepper and lemon to taste. Stir carefully until blended.

Serve the fish hot, if desired with Sauce Remoulade, the baguette and the salad. Let it melt on your tongue!

Burgers German-style – Frikadellen

My hubby asked for Frikadellen and I thought, oh wow, that’s a kind of burger other countries don’t know.

Ingredients (2 p.):

  • 400 g ground beef
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 roll, previously soaked in water and squeezed (I used a Brez’n)
  • 1 tsp. spicy mustard (we love French Maille – “il n’y a Maille qui m’aille”)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper (cayenne pepper makes for a good mood)
  • 4-5 potatoes, boiled and sprinkled with paprika and butter
blend all ingredients well

Mix all the ingredients with a fork until blended. If the dough is too moist you can add bread crumbs. Moisten your hands and shape patties, best all of the same size. Cook in a heavy skillet with some margarine, turning the patties several times to ensure they are cooked all the way through.

Cook on medium heat turning the patties several times. Make sure the beef is cooked through.

Serve the Frikadellen with spicy (Maille) mustard and the boiled potatoes, buttered and sprinkled with paprika for flavor.

Veggie Variation: Sometimes I add in grated carrots, which offer a special touch of flavor. We call those our “Bunny Burgers”.

Quick quisine: noodle salad

the noodle salad in a ceramic fish bowl bought in Barcelona near the Picasso museum

Whenever we invite friends over to a barbecue, I always make a noodle salad, one of potatoes, one of cucumber, one of tomato, sometimes a fruit salad. Of course we always have Brez’n, buns, cake and ice cream, prosecco or crémant with crème de cassis and different kinds of German beer.

Ingredients (about 8 servings):

  • 250 -300 g noodles (spirelli), cooked according to directions (8 min.)
  • 1/2 jar Miracel Whip / mayonnaise
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 -2 onions, peeled and chopped (or spring onions)
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 4 large pickles and pickle juice
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 bell pepper, washed and chopped
  • herbs, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

First cook the noodles al dente, about 8 minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Meanwhile, chop and dice all the vegetables.

When the noodles have cooled down, mix all ingredients. Add salt and pepper, lemon juice and herbs according to taste. Leave in the fridge for several hours to cool and blend.

Variation: buy half a ring of Lyoner / bologna, cut it into bite-size chunks and add it in if you don’t have steaks.

Enjoy on a warm summer evening!

Italian recipe : Lasagna

For a quick, homemade lasagna you will need:

  • about 1 lb. of ground beef or fine strips of filet
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • garlic, peeled and minced
  • mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup of broth
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • a dash of white wine (Italian Chardonnay)
  • fresh herbs and oregano, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • a heavy skillet
  • a large baking dish
  • 6 large lasagna noodles
  • frozen spinach, 6 large chunks or several small ones
  • 300 g Béchamel sauce
  • extra milk
  • grated cheese for the topping (optional)

In a heavy skillet heat the olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Cook a few moments, then add the ground beef. Cook until the beef is browned. Add the mushrooms before the meat is quite finished.

Add the salt and pepper, tomato paste, the wine and the broth. Cover the skillet and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Then add the finely chopped herbs and oregano to taste.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180° C. with the middle rack inside.

Prepare the large baking dish with Béchamel sauce spread over the bottom of the dish so the pasta doesn’t stick, add some milk if necessary. Place 3 large leaves of lasagna no-bake pasta side by side into the dish. Sprinkle with little chunks of frozen spinach and place into the oven for a few minutes to thaw. You can also use tomato slices or other cooked vegetables instead.

When the meat ragout is finished, spoon half of it on top of the vegetables. Place another three leaves of lasagna pasta on top. Spoon the other half of the ragout on the pasta. Top off the ragout with the remaining Béchamel sauce, adding milk if too dry. Sprinkle grated cheese over the sauce. Place carefully into the oven and bake for approx. 15-20 min. at 180°.

bake the lasagna until it is crispy on top

Enjoy with a nice Chianti from Italy and perhaps your favorite music!

Weekend trip: Weltenburg monastery, Befreiungshalle, Donaudurchbruch

We set out early before the sun would get too hot and arrived in Kelheim at about 10.00. This town of 1600 has plenty of well-marked parking lots, n°5 Wöhrd (green) being the closest to the passenger ships with n°4 Donauvorland (red) a bit beyond and free of charge for longer stays. We checked the departure times of the ships and headed up the steep hill to the Befreiungshalle (Hall of Liberation), an elegant and high rotunda overlooking the town and the Danube Gorge.

The Bavarian King Ludwig I had this building erected from 1842-1863, first by Gärtner, then upon his death, by Leo von Klenze. It stands on top of the Michelsberg to commemorate the battle of Leipzig in 1813 against Napoleon’s troops. The different hues of yellow and cream are supposed to produce a certain color effect from the distance, much as an impressionist painting. The golden shields held by the 34 Victory angels created by Ludwig Schwanthaler are supposedly the melted bronze of the cannons.

You buy the tickets (€4,50) at the bottom, walk up the hill and steps and enter a turnstile. You can walk on the bottom floor, climb the 132 steps half way up or all the way up to the section that Leo von Klenze added.

After our visit of the Befreiungshalle (Hall of Liberation), we drove down to Kelheim and had an excellent lunch for about €12,- per person at the Weißes Lamm (White Lamb), fresh asparagus and Schnitzel. Then we bought tickets, €4,-, for the Archaeological Museum around the corner, formerly a grain silo.

After an hour or so in the museum, we were glad for some fresh air and wandered over to the landing of the five ships officially permitted to travel through the narrow gap, 80 m wide, between the chalk cliffs towering over the Danube. The little blue train takes tourists around town.

We paid about €12,- each for a return ticket and shoved our overnight cases on board. The crew serves delicious food, coffee and cake, beer and water and everything was very clean and shiny. You will hear a tape in English and German telling you that the current runs at 2.5m/sec, that the deepest spot is 20m down, that private craft may not go through certain parts, that one or another cliff is called “Napoleon’s suitcase” (left after the battle) or the “Virgin” or the three round boulders are the “Three Brothers”.

At the far end you can see the monastery Weltenburg, founded by St. Columbanus disciples as an Iro-Scottish cloister in the 7th century to be missionaries in Bavaria. The monks, currently 11, have changed to the rules of the Benedictine order. The Abbey grew to more prominence in the 18th century and a larger church dedicated to St. George was built by the famous brothers Asam (paintings al fresco and stucco) from 1716 to 1739. 1803 led to the secularization of the buildings which were reappropriated for the village, until King Ludwig I reinstated the monastery, which became independent in 1913.

Nowadays, after its big renovation, the Abbey invites backpackers, singles, seminars, families etc. to stay in its simply furnished, but comfortable rooms, dining area and cafeteria (€85,- for two). Among the weekend courses offered there is learning to paint al fresco and talking about Christian topics. And yes, there is internet!

You can also toss your cell aside and tarry in the church, stop in the shop for books and Weltenburg cookies, buy a ticket for €2,50 to see the historical exhibition including a 60-minute tour of the brewery, sit in the restaurant Klosterschenke (closes at 7 pm sharp when the ships have stopped running!) and enjoy a delicious Brotzeit with a Maß of beer (1 liter, the word derives from ‘measure’) or roast pork, a Bavarian specialty.

The Maldives

Originally we had intended to fly to another destination, but couldn’t find anything we liked, so we followed the advice of a colleague and decided to try the Maldives. We were in no way disappointed! We landed in Malé airport and a boat took us out to Coco, one of the 1200 atoll islands which form a large circle.

We especially love the climate, about 30°, mostly sunny, not so humid and moreover, no “climate change catastrophes” such as tsunamis or typhoons or earthquakes. The people in charge of Coco (my good friends) have transformed this island into a lush paradise of palm trees, flowers and walkways between the island villas and the boardwalks to the water villas, which are more costly, but worth their money.

Coco offers about 5 fantastic restaurants, cafeteria and à la carte, a beauty salon, a diving school, meet and greet evenings, a turtle research center, several shops, e-carts to get to the other end, a large pool. several beaches and many other things.

At the research center you can talk to the marine biologist about how turtles are often caught in fishing nets or plastic waste. They sell adorable stuffed turtles and the proceeds go towards the research. The corals are unfortunately also bleached in many spots since 2016, when the water temperatures rose worldwide. Yet they are altogether still in better shape than, for example, the Red Sea. Many are growing back, due in part to the efforts of the research center.

The snorkeling is wonderful in this clear green-blue water, there are masses of colorful fish, turtles, manrays, small sharks and corals of every hue. You can take boat trips, learn diving, arrange for a massage with aromatic oils, book a table and order fresh fish at one of the open air restaurants, watch the natives dance or just relax on a beach. Hopefully this atoll will now be flooded some day when water levels rise!