Danube: 2nd stop Vienna

Our first city stop was Vienna in Austria. Here of course we had no problems talking to the “natives”, as Austria is considered holiday destination number one for many Germans, especially skiers and climbers / hikers/ bikers. Except for a few words that are different, we speak German. Our apricots are their Marillen, our tomatoes are Paradeiser, our pancakes are Frittaten and an adhesive sticker is a Pickerl.

Our tour guide schleppte us through the town in a bus, past the Hundertwasser tower, but then we got off and looked at the lovely rose gardens where you can ‘adopt a rose’. Almost all smell heavenly

Below you can see the Sissi Monument of (Emperor Franz Josef I and) Empress Elisabeth made of Laaser marble in the Volksgarten. It seems she was rather anorexic and also very outdoorsy. She had her portrait done as long as she was still pretty and always wanted to be seen that way. The Volksgarten is near the Parliament building, the Burgtheater and the Neue Burg. The statue depicts Prince Eugen riding a horse.

One of the most delightful shops (besides Manner waffles and Trszniecki sandwiches) is the stuffed animals by Steiff, once created by Margarete Steiff who sat in a wheelchair all her life.

Farther on you walk past the Wiener Hofreitschule where you can see the horses that are bred and trained to perfection. One is not allowed to go closer, but you can buy tickets. In the pedestrian zone there are more fountains and the St. Stephans Dome (cathedral).

Canadian Impressionism in Munich

The HypoKulturhalle in the Theatinerstraße of Munich has a fascinating exhibition currently running of Canadians, mostly born at the turn of the century, who decided to travel to Paris and attend famous schools of Art. One group was the “Group of Seven” and the others were named after the building they met in in 1910, “Beaver Hall” in Montreal.

From Paris, they fanned out to many other places in Europe, such as Venice, Spain, Germany, but also back to their native Canada with its large expanses of trees and pastures.

Sometimes one has a feeling of déjà-vu, like the lady with the umbrella from Monet, or his painting of coquelicots / poppies, the colors and a touch of Seurat’s pointillisme, a painting of the Seine and its houseboats, a bourgeois family dressed in white, the peasants in rough brown cloth.

One recurrent motif are children in the middle of light-speckled surroundings, reading on a sofa, having a family picnic, carrying flowers and looking at butterflies – which idealizes the peasant girl. The more affluent young lady reclining on a bench at the beach is once again dressed in elegant white with a matching hat: tanned skin is for the working class, not for the noblesse.

Another common motif are young women, sewing, knitting, reading, reclining on a divan, many clothed in Japanese-patterned robes and dresses, among them one nude’s back.

A very Canadian motif are trees, maple trees with buckets, birches in the wind, fir trees laden with heavy snow on their boughs. Not to forget the fields and the rivers with boats and cargo.

Regular rates are €12,-, 11,- for students and half-rate on Mondays. Lockers, a cloakroom, a café and a nearby subway station Odeonsplatz, as well as audio guides, lectures and curator tours are regular features.

Danube : 1st stop Passau

Passau is a very nice little town right where the three rivers converge (read also my post from May 26 2019). The three rivers are the “blue Danube“, which is only blue if the sky is reflected, the “schwarze “Ilz”, a small confluent which is black due to sediment, and the “grüne Inn” which is really rather green. As Passau was the beginning of our trip down the Danube, we arrived early to see some of the sights at more leisure than with the large group.

At the tip of the peninsula (photo in the middle) you can clearly see the two larger rivers Inn and Danube converge with the Ilz coming down the valley and joining them. There is a ripple in the water where the currents with two different colors flow headlong into each other.

We found a very nice hotel Residenz at the water’s edge with a full view of the castle. So we started off with the castle, Veste and drove up to the top. The parking lots are near the youth hostel, you walk past a lookout and the restaurant. When entering the walls you will see the elevator going down to the museums. The special exhibition is about 800 years Veste: the first foundations, the ceramic tile ovens, the coat of arms, statues, carvings. In one courtyard you can relax on deckchairs, sculptures adorn the large inner courtyard which leads to the other smaller museums. One museum is about fire engines, one about apothecaries, one about trade and one about porcelain.

Afterwards we drove down to the opposite peninsula to check out the small Roman museum built over some of the ruins that had been dug up. The museum has some excellent exhibits and a good video, unfortunately there is no snack bar near by. Parking is in front and free during the visit.

After lunch we walked into the hotel lobby of the Wilder Mann on the Rathausplatz, which has the largest collection of blown glass that I have ever seen. This enormous glass museum was opened in 1985 by Neil Armstrong, the owner Georg Höltl was able to buy many articles for little money. You start up in the 4th floor and work your way down with glass vases and mugs tucked into the very last corner under stairs and over doorways. You will need a lot of time to look at all the objects of each century and types of glass that are documented here. Nevertheless, it is worth its while, or just walk through the more interesting exhibits. The exit goes through the cellar out to the street.

In the evening we walked through the cobblestone streets past the Artist’s Alley to the Rosengasse where all the Italian restaurants were celebrating Ferragosto. From afar you could tell there was a party going on, several bands and duos and solists singing at every corner, lots of underwear and sheets strung up across the streets. We checked out quite a few restaurants until we finally found two seats at a beer table for 8 people. Everyone was quite jolly, even though half the meals served were not what we had ordered.

Monday was dedicated to the Organ concert in the Cathedral, the largest organ of the entire world. It is split into 5 separate organs placed on the balcony, at the sides of the altar and the fifth integrated into the ceiling. Each one is built differently, Italian or German and has its own sound and pitch. All five with over 17,900 pipes are coordinated on one manual. Tickets can be bought in the inside courtyard, every day but Sunday. Nearby you will walk past the Ministry of Justice and the Passauer Tölpel.

We had a nice walk to the tip of the peninsula with shade trees and lots of people to watch the three rivers flow together and up to the castle.

The next morning we had to leave and go on board the Viktoria. It involved finding the parking lot on the outskirts and taking the shuttle bus back to the river dock, where the Viktoria and Máxima were waiting. About 150 passengers fit in plus about 40 crew members. 14 days packed with new impressions on the Danube! Stay tuned.

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.

Cosmos coffee in the Deutsches Museum

Today we decided to drink coffee in the special exhibition of the German Museum, founded by Oskar von Miller, the famous engineer, in 1905. It was finally opened in 1925 and is now the largest science and technology museum in the entire world. Prices have gone up since I last visited, an adult pays €14, so be sure to bring along plenty of time.

The “Cosmos Coffee”, on the second floor passing through the Physics department, runs through May 2020. There are many exhibitions on at the same time, also plenty of demonstrations and guided tours which are free of extra charge.

Our tour guide lived in Venezuela for many years and was very competent. She showed us the plants, the coffee flowers of the more delicate plants, the “talking drawers” with old slogans and clichés, the “smelling machines”, the coffee room, the roasting machines, the different bean colors depending on the roasting temperature.

One cup of coffee requires 140 liters of water to let the plants grow and mature, about 5-7 years. The plant came originally from Ethiopia where it is said the goats ate the berries and capered around more than usual. To the human palate the berries were too acid and hard, so they were tossed into the fire – where they developed a fantastic chocolatey aroma. From Africa, coffee made its way to Al Mokha, Yemen and to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there to many others, reaching the US in the 17th and Russia in the 18th century.

harvest workers on the way home a man sprays pesticides on the plants without a mask

The special roast “Cosmos Coffee” at the Museum is 80% Robusta and 20% Arabica. At the bar you can order from a large menu of 8 roasts and 6 kinds of preparing. The espresso was too strong, but the cappucino was delicious and the young barista makes the best hearts and swirls into the milky froth. You can stand at the tall tables or sit down on the benches and relax with a Florentine biscuit.

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!

City trip: Augsburg 2

We boarded the bus early on a very hot, sunny day and headed off towards Augsburg, about an hour to the west of Munich. This time we didn’t plan to see the sights in the downtown area, but lesser known spots on the edge of town. Our first stop was the Bismarck Tower. You drive through a residential area to the cemetary and walk up a wooded path to the top of the hill Steppacher Berg. Many of these towers were built in honor of the First Reichschancellor after 1868, even on other continents. You walk up the winding stairs to the top and have a wonderful view of the city and surroundings.

Bismarckturm

Our next stop was the large tree avenue Wellenburger Allee in the south of Augsburg. It is about 2 km long, shady, with a nice path for cycling and walking on the side. At the end our treat was waiting: the Schlossgaststätte Wellenburg. The food is German-Austrian, some days there is live music. We enjoyed our drinks immensely.

After a good long rest with Eiskaffee or beer, we boarded the bus again to drive to the canoe regatta area of the 1972 Olympic Games, the rowing area is in Oberschleißheim to the north of Munich. It was built at the Eiskanal near the river Lech and (of course) is used to this day and highly appreciated by canoe lovers. It is fun watching them practise turning over and sprinting through the bends.

the front end of the Eiskanal

Our last stop was the Wasserwerk of Augsburg, a water treatment plant. Augsburger are extremely proud of their pure water, which they claim is the best all around. At the drinking fountains you can fill up your bottles with wonderfully cold water.

After some strong espresso and ice cream at the See Lounge plus a short dip in the river we drove home.