Southern Germany

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Southern Germany

Southern Germany
Bock and Baroque

A lively circuit between Ulm and Lake Constance inevitably leads past baroque monasteries and churches ?? you should take a look behind the portals.

Eva-Maria Lessinger

01/12/2001

With my head back, I stare upwards, lost in heavenly hallucinations that are typically »barroco«, in German »oblique«. Strangest figures in flowing pastel-colored robes float on a spiral of clouds that spiraling higher and higher. The tighter it gets, the more dizzy I get. Then the ceiling fresco finally blurs before my eyes. I have to sit down. A little too noisy for the holy place, I force myself in full motorcycle gear into one of the wooden pews of the venerable Munster Zwiefalten in the Aachtal on the edge of the Swabian Alb. Diverse shapes and colors outside and inside, the building resembles a gigantic theater backdrop. Lavishly decorated confessionals stand in artificial palm gardens, and the massive pillars only look as if they were made of marble. Pomp and pomp as a show of power by the church? Not only. “Baroque churches are a vision of heaven.” It is a monk in a long black robe who helps me to enlightenment. Brother Augustine, a sympathetic Benedictine who, like Klaus and I, visits the Zwiefalten Minster, tries patiently to explain the meaning of baroque sacred buildings to me 17th and 18th centuries to explain. “In order to bind people to themselves after the Reformation, the Catholic Church wanted to offer something to everyone in its places of worship, be it sensually simple or subtly religious.” the church interior as a big show, as an entertaining event that was once supposed to promote the Catholic Church. Outside in front of the massive gates of the baroque temple, an event of a completely different kind awaits me. Visually, the Transalp has little in common with the exuberant, playful forms of the Baroque. But even without the deceptive ?? beautiful appearance ?? does the Honda give me the kick to “irrepressible sensual pleasure” ?? the typical baroque attitude to life. So out on the street. Past the beer garden, which is closed at this time of year, in the middle of town, which is a popular meeting place for motorcyclists in summer. In the immediate vicinity there is a network of extremely curvy paths that hardly anyone is on today. We accelerate, let the bikes run. The wind literally tastes of the meadows and forests, and the mild rays of the sun make us believe that winter is long over. Upper Swabia is so thoroughly Catholic that the region is sometimes jokingly referred to as the »black continent«. On almost every hill of this gentle, hilly area between Ulm and Lake Constance, an onion dome can be seen as an unmistakable characteristic of the Baroque era. Monastery complexes and village churches are crowded together in what was once the »Pfaffenwinkel of the Holy Roman Empire«. After a few kilometers we aim for Mochental Castle, which rises on a hill between wild meadows, bare fruit trees and small forests and was once the abbots’ summer residence and hunting lodge of the Zwiefalten monastery. They knew how to enjoy life. We cruise leisurely through the landscape, looking for a naked boy with curly hair and wings. Because the putto ?? Descendant of ancient erots and the epitome of cheerful, sensual kindness? is our boy scout along the “Upper Swabian Baroque Road”. In view of the flood of baroque monuments, routes were marked with the emblem »yellow putti on blue-green ground«. We follow the illustrious youth on the heels of the main route south and finally move into Bad Waldsee quarters. Even in the reddish shimmering evening light, the monumental portal of the parish church of St. Peter, with its strangely positioned towers, still shines brilliantly white. A cool breeze creeps into my half-open leather jacket as the next morning I worriedly after the heavy cloud cover over the hills on the horizon Scan the sunbeam. It looks dangerous, as if all driving pleasure will soon be drowned in a downpour. Close by, the glory of the Upper Swabian Baroque rises into the gloomy firmament: Weingarten Monastery, the largest baroque church north of the Alps and famous for its “blood kick”. Up to 2000 pilgrims ride every year on “Blood Friday”, the day after Ascension Day, in their procession through the city. The faithful are led by the “Blood Rider”, a priest on horseback in a wide red cloak, who incessantly blesses the pilgrims and finally brings the gem back to the monastery church. We pilgrimage purified ?? now again in bright sunshine? via Ravensburg and Heiligenberg towards Meersburg. Our program for the rest of the day: Just drive, look at nothing more than the extensive orchards, fields that are still fallow and tranquil villages in the quiet hinterland of Lake Constance. Off the baroque path, we treat the bikes to the many curves, swing back and forth, and finally roll on a narrow road between vineyards and the lake shore from Uhldingen-Muhlhofen. Pure nature instead of a culture tour. From the walls of the Meersburg Castle we finally enjoy the view down to the sparkling water. In the warm evening light, the old, rust-brown tiles of the crooked roofs shimmer like copper. A romantic half-timbered town, the charm of which can be enjoyed particularly intensely outside the season without the crowds of tourists. Somewhere in the sun-drenched haze, a ferry stamps across the lake and rocks the sailboats against the piles of the jetty with its bow wave. A worthy end to today’s stage. The next morning, after a short drive, we discover the baroque Wolfegg Castle, which is located on a mountain ridge and can only be reached via a small side street. The first noble family of the Counts of Waldburg have resided here for 200 years. Curious, we approach the massive gate with the motorcycles. Unfortunately the drawbridge remains closed. “Visits are currently not possible.” Hermann Harrer smiles at us friendly. The nice porter has been guarding the entrance to the baroque residence for 34 years and talks about “his count” and the princely festivities with up to 300 guests. It’s a shame he’s not welcoming any guests today. A heavy gust swept over our heads as we hit the electric starter again to head north. Without sunshine, the constant alternation of pastures and forests looks coolly romantic at best, and the typical baroque yellow of the castle-like former Benedictine imperial abbey in Ochsenhausen does not glow nearly as strongly as in the travel guide. As soon as I have closed the visor to ban the cold airflow, the first drops collect in the field of vision. Gray cumulus clouds are looming over us, and we make it dry to the Wiblingen monastery library. Stately female figures symbolize what it is important to know in life, such as the representative of mathematics with a square, pen and compass or that of theology with the eye of God in the triangular nimbus on her chest. Again a theater-like setting? but this time it is a »theatrum scientae«. “This is where all the treasures of wisdom and science are hidden!” Reads the inscription above the library portal, where putti with compass and telescope or pulley system and burning mirror demonstrate the wonders of technology. The bright reading room sees itself so much as a Baroque total work of art that even the books have uniform white spines? because the ?? Divine Wisdom ?? The mighty, Gothic cathedral looks ghostly in the glow of the full moon as we stroll through the quiet alleys of Ulm’s old town on our last evening. “The wicked perish in darkness” ?? this is also an inscription from the monastery library.

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Sensual feelings instead of cool reason, beautiful appearance instead of dreary reality? The exuberant Baroque once wanted to impress people with this concept. If you are out and about in the Upper Swabian hill country, you will pass the most beautiful buildings of this era.

ArrivalUlm is the ideal starting point for a trip through Upper Swabia. You can get there via the A7 from Wurzburg or via the A8 from Stuttgart or Munich. The “Upper Swabian Baroque Road” is very well marked. Signposts with the emblem “Yellow putti on a blue-green background” are attached to almost all important intersections. The tourism association Bodensee-Oberschwaben (phone 07524/941343) has worked out a main route as well as an east, west and south route.AccommodationOnly a stone’s throw from Ulm Minster you can sleep comfortably in the Hotel “Roter Lowe”, Ulmer Gasse 8, 89073 Ulm, phone 0731/62031, fax 0731/6021502, http://www.akzent.de/hotels/ak165.htm, e-mail: Hotel.Roter.Loewe@akzent.de. A single room costs 138 marks, a double room 155 marks. The hotel »Gruner Baum«, Hauptstrasse 34, 88339 Bad Waldsee, phone 07524 / 9790-0, fax 07524 / 9790-50, http: // www. gruener-baum-voll-leben.de. Here a single room costs 91 marks; 140 marks are to be paid for a double room. In Wangen, we recommend the hotel »Mohren-Post«, Herrenstrasse 27, phone 07522/21076, fax 07522/4872. A single room costs 70 marks here, a double room 130 marks. All prices include breakfast.SightsA cultural gem is hidden somewhere, even in the smallest towns in the region. The sheer unmanageable abundance of baroque monuments in Upper Swabia makes the selection itself an art. The pompous sacred buildings of the Zwiefalten Minster and the Weingarten Monastery are highly recommended. The bristles in the Mochental Castle’s broom museum offer a small but fine and tangible change from the pathetic baroque. There should be no way around the baroque library in Wiblingen Monastery. LiteratureThe HB art guide “Oberschwabische Barockstrabe” offers a good introduction to the region and the baroque monuments. In bookshops for 18.80 marks. The HB image atlas “Bodensee Oberschwaben” for 16.80 Marks may seem a bit outdated, but due to the large amount of information and route tips, it is still a good choice if you are planning a trip through this region. Art lovers should get the “Oberschwabische Barockstrabe” travel guide from Schnell und Steiner (ISBN 3795411246) for 28 marks. Map: Sheet 6 “Baden-Wurttemberg” of the Marco Polo general map for Germany on a scale of 1: 20000 Tickets) costs 19.80 marks. Or the ADAC regional map of southern Germany, scale 1: 500,000 for 12.80 marks. Distance: about 550 kilometers, time required: two days

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