Updated: Oct 20
2023 年 10 月 20 日
Hello and welcome !....... to a view of the Towers...a mural on an electricity board building showing famous sights in this ...er...historic town of Langen, Hesse.
If there is a Deity of weather, then last week it spoke to us in Europe. "Hello you Europeans, there are seasons you know, and it's now October for heavens sake. It's time to flip the switch. It is now Autumn. That's official."
Last week I was sitting in the sultry heat of my garden in a T-shirt. When I came indoors, a huge buzzing monster had invaded my flat........I managed to get it out of the window. But then it just came in the other window. Imagine me running around my flat slamming all the windows shut. Ridiculous.
ドイツは先週はとても暑かったですね！ がとつぜん きおんが おちました
sunflowers were still flaunting themselves......
But the next thing I knew was that I was scrambling up into the attic in search of a woolly hat.
We had plunged from 26°c 🏖️ down to 11°c 🥶 in 24 hours.
But it takes more than a temperature dive to stop hiking plans.🚶
It was time to visit the Rhein valley again. After all, it would be"Golden October" there. In reality, the vineyards were struggling to keep up with the stereotype, and were only half- golden 😂
Very nice all the same!
The grapes had been harvested, so we couldn't have a nibble here and there like you sometimes can. Strange flowers had appeared. They seem to like the vineyards.....
We had started at Geisenheim, where every second building seems to be a "Weingut" or "Weinkeller".....a smell of mouldering grapes hung in the air......
After a steep climb through the vineyards, and talking to some chickens on the way.......
........we reached the woods, where the Franciscan monastery of Marienthal hove into view........This is an ancient pilgrimage spot....like a mini Lourdes or a stop on the Kumano Kodo....
マリエンタール - 巡礼の地
We heard the sound of a trumpet playing....must be a recording, said I........🎺
Although it was a Sunday, it was obviously not a wildly important day here, judging by the empty benches......
This place is old.....and there are some nice medieval sculptures over the door.....Not quite sure what the potted plant is doing in the middle though......Indeed I found it very difficult to find any information on this little group - any medieval historians reading this? I love the way Mary (?) just fits her head in under the "roof"...
The recent "Anbau" (addition) to the chapel is rather a disappointment.......
But to my astonishment, the trumpeter was real. Phe nudged me as we were passing the chapel entrance.There he was sitting with his instrument case on a bench in the sun. You could have blown me down with a....🎺...(!).
For Wiki fans......https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kloster_Marienthal_(Geisenheim)
So, after feeling duly penitent (and making use of the loos) we strode off along the pilgrimage path through the woods.
.......heading for the "Mecca" of Riesling.....Schloss Johannisberg. Approaching up a grand drive we felt rather small in front of this......
But just down the track to the side there there's a wine stand, with benches and sun umbrellas. Very civilized.
Before us the gently undulating slopes of vineyards under a perfect sky, a buzzard circling high above.......
Never believe weather forecasts.
Unbelievably, over the hills a bank of rain suddenly approached at alarming speed.....where to go? what to do?......🌧️....The carefree groups of drinkers under the sun umbrellas had by then quickly disappeared back to their cars, or to the wine shop.
"...to the church!...I cried....quick....".
It's true, next to the Schloss is an old church........As the rain intensified we reached the rather forbiding metal door...(It will only be open if it's Catholic, I remember thinking....). To our great relief the heavy brass handle moved. It was warm and dry inside.
👉Flashback: I had sat here many years ago listening to a 'Cellist in a silk shirt playing Bach Suites. He was very good. His name was Mischa Maisky.
The church is still used by the Rheingau Music Festival, and has a great acoustic......
It is in fact a Romanesque basilica with a long history....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schloss_Johannisberg
When I visit an old historic building like this in Germany I am often brought up short by the question..."...but why does it look like this?...." The rugged interior, the restored outlines of the outside. Inevitably we are confronted by events 80 years ago. It is with no joy or morbid fascination that I show the following pictures. It's the past. And it is not fake. Schloss Johannisberg and its church were reduced to a skeleton by incendiary bombs in 1942......
The 1950s restoration obviously aimed at simplicity......
A view from across the Rhein, 1942
In one aisle, powerful sculptures relieve the austerity of the interior.......
....and there is a request for donations to maintain the organ.......
Julia asked at the Schloss where you could buy a bottle of this "Organ" wine, only to be re-directed to the church. Presumably you have to attend mass before you can lay your hands on a bottle, ........or go to confession.
I don't know about you, but I can't drink wine when out on a walk through the countryside. However, with our next port of call emerging through the vines............
It was a natural moment for the early October wine.....the fresh, still fermenting Federweißer......mmmmm 🙃...
Schloss Vollrads does things well.
There are benches and tables to sit and pause; there is a nice little pond overlooked by a castle tower......all very gemütlich....楽しい........
and our merry band.......I was not the only one who had found their winter hat!
ハイキングのなかま 仲間 (ウールの帽子!)
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Somethings don't change. Chesnuts.
And Nature's design