Freising, Bavaria, redux

Freising is a town near the Munich Airport where the airport hotels are located.  But it is an old city.  It had a cathedral before Munich, a brewery too.  It is a place I lay over on trips to and from Tbilisi for jet lagging.  I have posted from this delightful town before, including a post about the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world.  These pictures are from an afternoon stroll around town.  Suzi had never been here and I wanted her to see it. Continue reading Freising, Bavaria, redux

Domberg, The Cathedral Church in Freising

Domberg is dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  The current structure is a Romanesque building from the 13th century.  When you go in, however, it is a shock, because the interior had been redone in Baroque style in the 17th century.  It almost seems like a disconnect.  I once had an architecture professor who called the Baroque “Eclectic clutter.”  My reaction was “majestically bizarre.”  Elaborate frescoes, pink stucco, gilt and an alter piece originally painted by Rubens (The one there now is a reproduction, the original was carted off somewhere.)  The organ is really a baroque organ, the decoration is so … Continue reading Domberg, The Cathedral Church in Freising

Sometimes flying becomes the theatre of the absurd.

The taxi driver from Clontarf to the airport offered to take me a different route, around Dublin Bay, along the coast pass the fishing village of Howth and then into the airport.  “It’s more miles but with school getting out it now may be less time.  At Howth he said “You’ll be flying right over that when you take off.”  (We did.)  I think he wanted the longer ride so he could ask me what I “really” felt about Sarah Palin.  He rather likes the idea of a governor named Sean Parnell. Aer Lingus charges bags by weight.  15 kg … Continue reading Sometimes flying becomes the theatre of the absurd.

Weihenstephan Abbey, the oldest brewery in the world

After a good night’s sleep in Freising, Germany (on my way to Tbilisi) fueled with two double espressos, I took off to see the oldest brewery in the world, Weihenstephan.  This brewery has been in continuous operation since 1040.  People have been brewing beer a lot longer than a thousand years and there is evidence of brewing at this site since the mid-700s, however the monks in this monastery kept records of their beer going back to 1040.  In 1802 the Bavarian Kingdom nationalized the monastery (before Marx had the idea) and it is now part of Bayerische Stattsbraueri. I … Continue reading Weihenstephan Abbey, the oldest brewery in the world


Strasbourg is one of the “Capitals” of Europe, every year the European Parliament packs up from Brussels and heads for Strasbourg, which is also the home of the European Court of Human Rights.  I suppose it is appropriate, being on the border between France and Germany, and having changed hands several times in the past two centuries.  We visited in 2001.  I found these slides going through my archives.   Continue reading Strasbourg

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Metz

Modernist Marc Chagall, cubist Jacques Villon, and tachist Roger Bissière are all there, mixed with art from the Gothic, Renaissance and Romantic periods.  It’s the play of light on the works that I find so fascinating.  They are the stained glass windows in St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Metz.  Gothic does away with the need for structural walls, allowing artists to work in walls of glass.  The cathedral soars with light coming through colored glass, creating shadows and shafts.   Outside the light plays against the exposed structural members, the flying buttresses.  At night the outside is floodlit to stunning effect. Pictures from … Continue reading St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Metz

Soft Borders, Belgium and the Netherlands at Baarle.

Our friends Dave and Carol Lam took us to Baarle when we were working in the Balkans.   We wondered about the possibility of ever being able to draw borders that reflected ethnic realities.  Dave said he had something he wanted to show us, the municipality of Baarle in Belgium, or is it the Netherlands?  The map of Europe has many geographic anomalies. But one of the strangest borders runs through Baarle.  The town is divided between the countries, Baarle-Nassau is Dutch and Baarle-Hertog is Belgian. The dividing line is anything but straight, or rational.  The border was set in the Treaty … Continue reading Soft Borders, Belgium and the Netherlands at Baarle.

“A Mighty Fortress” The fortified churches of Thierache, France.

In Eastern France there are several war related “roads” to follow, the “road of the fortified towns,” “The road of the battlefields” linking battlefields of the two world wars, and “The road of the military cemeteries.” Wars happened here with alarming regularity.   The road I found most fascinating was the “The Road of the Fortified Churches” celebrating about 65 churches (God’s castles someone called them) built in the Thierache region for the protection of the civilian population.  These towns sat on the border between Champagne and Picardy near Flanders.  They could not afford to wall themselves.  Many did not have … Continue reading “A Mighty Fortress” The fortified churches of Thierache, France.

Freising, Bavaria, Germany

Freising, the town closest to the Munich Airport is a nice place to lay over between two overnight flights.  Pictures here are from this winter and this summer, different views at different times of the year.  It has, that it claims to be the oldest brewery in Germany, a friendly Marriott airport hotel and shops and cafes that allow for a restful stopover between flights. Continue reading Freising, Bavaria, Germany