Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Walk Through Oberammergau.

"Some choices we live not only once but a thousand times over,
remembering them for the rest of our lives."

~Richard Bach

The next morning after the amazing experience of The Passion Play, we (Fred, Linda, KDJ, and I) took a lovely walk through the town. The air was crisp and fresh. The mountains were beautiful and green and some of the trees had already begun to take on a more autumn-like hue.

This image will be forever ingrained in the photo album of my mind.

The Köfel, Oberammergau's Signature Peak.
I can't remember what building this is.

We chatted about the play, life, our dreams and goals, where we'd been and how we ended up here. Fred told us about his stay at the NATO School in Oberammergau fifteen or so years ago, and how he and Linda had fallen in love with the town. They were on a walk back then, talking about their lives, when Linda turned to Fred and said, "Wouldn't you love to live here?" (or something to that effect) They marveled how this small corner of the world had quickly etched itself a place in their hearts, and they day-dreamed about living here someday. Little did they know then, that their dream would come to fruition. Now, Fred and Linda don't actually live IN Oberammergau, but they live within a couple of hours, in what is still beautiful southern Germany. They travel down to Oberammergau often, staying at the same Bed & Breakfast, where they have made friends with the owner.

Frau Kühl (who I thought was just affectionately dubbed Frau "Cool" -- I learned the true spelling upon arrival) runs this wonderful little hotel (B&B) in the center of town. She's an excellent host and told us lots of interesting things about the Passion Play that only an "insider" would know. I loved staying here. If you're there (say, in 2020?!), I highly suggest looking her up!

Take a look at the fantastic way Germans make a bed! Love it.

Sitting on our balcony was so pleasant. And you wondered why I described the town as picture-perfect!

Such a quaint little town, where time seems to stand still, where dreams and daydreams seem to multiply exponentially, and the serenity we all hope for and the break from our routine lives can be found. I know I sound a little dramatic, but that's how it was for me. This could also have a lot to do with the company I kept. There is nothing like being with people who know you, who get you, and love you anyway! There is something calming in the knowledge that they held me as a baby, that they were (and are) such dear friends of BOTH my parents. That's a rare thing in my world, since my parents have been divorced since I was two. There's a connection you feel with those who have seen you through all your years and love you (and your family) just the same now, and probably even more. THIS is what Oberammergau means to me. I'm not sure how to explain it, but there was something magical about this trip.

So we continued our walk, arriving at the Catholic Parish Church of St. Peter and Paul where the very first Passion Play was performed in the yard, atop the fresh graves of those who had died from the plague, in 1634. This PDF slide show has pictures and more information about the church. There was a definite peaceful feeling about this church. I wondered how many people in Oberammergau have had a spiritual reawakening during the Passion Play years. This beautiful church warmly welcomes them, I'm sure.

Strolling through town, it's easy to see that one of the things Oberammergau is known for (aside from The Passion Play and the NATO School) is woodcarving. Beautifully carved wood is everywhere from delicate Nativity scenes in the souvenir shops,  to the balconies, to banisters, to benches, to small wood carvings like this one of St. Florian (below the longest row of cascading flowers on the corner of the building), on the side of buildings.

For some reason, I didn't get any pictures of the masses of wood carvings for sale and the evidence on buildings, so watch this video about one talented woodcarver in town, and you'll be able to see what I'm talking about.

Pretty cool, huh?

Walking through the town center, we stopped in several souvenir shops which were overflowing with carved wood figurines, Passion Play paraphernalia, linens, Christmas ornaments and decorations, and other trinkets.

Oberammergau is also full of decorative scenes painted on the facades of buildings. They are called Lüftmalerei. They vary from children's fairy tales to false architectural details.

The building on the left has two paintings above the windows.

This is an illustration of the Hansel and Gretel story. It's actually an orphanage.

A close-up of Little Red Riding Hood.

Little Red Riding Hood.

This was another sight I saw all over town.

A sure sign that the winters here must get very cold.

Can you see why I want to go back?

Next post will be the last part of our stay in Oberammergau when we took the Laber up the mountain (great views) and the morning drive back home when we stopped at the Ettal Abbey along the way.

1 comment:

Lydia said...

Looks amazing! Great photos.