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How delightful – coffee, freshly baked scones and Doris Day too; and all on a sunny October day!

So next time you’re visiting Staithes…

Photograph Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

Stams

Sometimes the beauty of a place simply takes your breath away. The monastery at Stams near Innsbruck in Austria nestling between the mountains in the valley of the River Inn certainly took mine. Originally built in the 13th century by Cistercian monks the monastery fell into ruin in the 15th century before being rebuilt in the early 17th century in its present baroque style. After a chequered history in the years that followed it was re-settled by Cistercian monks at the end of the war. Today as well as being a religious retreat the monastery is also an educational centre and home to a famous ski school.

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

 

 

 

 

King Ludwig II of Bavaria was born in 1845, inherited the throne upon the death of his father Maximillian in 1864, engaged and almost married in 1867, declared ‘mad’ in June 1886 and found dead in the grounds of Castle Berg the very next day. He witnessed the growth of Prussia under Bismarck, war with France, the unification of Germany, lavished support on the composer Richard Wagner and drew up plans to build three castles, the romantic and ‘fairytale’ castle of Neuschwanstein being the most famous.

One of Germany’s top tourist attractions visited annually by over a million visitors Neuschwanstein Castle does not disappoint, even on a wet day when shrouded in cloud. Despite its romantic neo-gothic ‘fairytale’ exterior and lavishly decorated and art encrusted Wagnerian and Romanesque inspired interior, the castle was not completed and Ludwig’s visionary creation never fully realised.

 

 

 

 

Built from sandstone, red brick and limestone on the site of medieval fortifications, construction costs were met from the royal purse, albeit with additional loans taken out by Ludwig and later repaid by the family. Ludwig oversaw the building work and interior design, the detail coming from his love of the arts and effectively dedicated to the life and works of Richard Wagner.

Ludwig lived in the castle for 172 days, an increasingly embittered, withdrawn and shy figure, until his arrest at the castle in his bedchamber. Declared insane by the Bavarian government and a doctor who had never treated him and indeed met him only once some 12 years previously; the bodies of Ludwig and the doctor were discovered the following day at the water’s edge of Lake Starnberg after an evening stroll in the grounds of Berg Castle south of Munich. The official verdict is that Ludwig strangled the doctor before taking his own life, ‘suicide by drowning’. Unofficially it is ‘case not proven’ with many theories existing as to the actual demise of King Ludwig.

 

 

 

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

A visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is always a good day out, and never more so than on a sunny, warm October day.

For more information visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park https://ysp.org.uk/

 

Photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://ysp.org.uk/

No visitor to Bavaria to southern Germany can fail to notice the number of houses decorated with biblical scenes or depicting images of daily rural life. Known as the ‘Luftlmalerei’ or ‘Luftl’ the tradition of painting these pictures or frescoes dates back several centuries. It possibly started as a way of embellishing window surrounds and doors but soon became a fashionable way for local people to display their wealth by decorating the houses and businesses with ornate frescoes. The colourful paintings were originally applied by mixing colour pigments into the wet lime plaster whereas nowadays the images tend to be painted directly onto the render by skilled artists. It is a testament to these skills, ancient and modern these wonderful images remain for all to admire. Here are just a few:-

 

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This picturesque Bavarian town on the River Isar and in the shadow of the Karwendel mountains lies on an old trading route linking the medieval towns of southern Germany with those in Lombardy, northern Italy. Famous since the 17th century for the making of musical instruments the town today is a place where tourists come to stroll along the Obermarkt admiring the painted old houses, inns and shops or to ski on the nearby slopes.

 

Matthais Klotz settled in Mittenwald in the 17th century after studying and training as a ‘luthier’, a maker of stringed instruments, in Padua and Cremona under the master luthier Nicolo Amati. Klotz founded the Mittenwald school of violin making and the town began to prosper as a centre of excellence for the making of string instruments, a reputation which lasts to the present day.

However, Mittenwald also has another possible call to fame, or perhaps infamy, when wealth or gold is mentioned. In 1945 with the end of the war in sight the SS, removed quantities of gold bullion, currency and jewellery from the Reichsbank in Berlin; their whereabouts a closely guarded secret hidden it is rumoured by Martin Bormann  encoded in a piece of sheet music which in turn possibly includes a reference to Matthias Klaus and hence Mittenwald. So far attempts to find this buried loot have proved fruitless, but the search goes on!

In the meantime here are a few images from a recent visit to Mittenwald.

(click on individual images to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

“Our special guest today is a Roman general and statesman, so a warm salutation and ‘Salve’ to Julius Gaius Caesar. So Julius Gaius, if I can make so bold, welcome home from your latest campaign in Asia Minor and please tell us all about it. Where did you go, what did you see and what did you get up to over those long months away?”

“Veni, vidi, vici.”

“Haha, very ‘ad rem’, to the point. Seriously Julius, there must be a little more to your campaign. I’m sure your audience is dying to know.”

“Well, no, that’s about it really. One campaign is much like another. ‘Audere est facere’, to dare is to do as we say in the military. You set off with the lads from Legio Decem; a few forced marches; a little sightseeing, getting to know the lie of the land; mingle with the natives; negotiate with their rulers, which on this occasion  culminated in a bit of slash and bash and a battle at Zela. Then we split a few amphora of wine, had an impromptu bacchanalia before a triumphant return home to the adulation of the plebs.”

“Oh ‘mea culpa’, such modesty, Jules. There must have been one or two hairy moments, a few escapades and incidents you can share with us. You know, anecdotes from the edge of the world. You must have kept a diary or despatched the odd wax tablet or papyrus to Rome you can let us in on? Just between us, ‘bona fide’, it’ll go no further.”

“No. As I’ve already said. ‘Ceteris paribus’, all things being equal, it was all in a day’s campaigning. ”

“Oh. Well you must have been showered with tributes, looted and taken treasures from conquered tribes, brought back captured chieftains in chains and cart loads of slaves for the glory of Rome?”

“Err, ‘ars gratia artis’, art for art’s sake, the usual trinkets, some gold for my own coffers, a couple of good horses. That’s about it. The lads in the Legion laid waste the odd settlement or two, got smashed and raised merry hell, as I said earlier, and generally subdued the populace leaving our ‘Roma invicta’ stamp on society. Like I said earlier, all in a day’s campaigning.”

“So, no new discoveries then. No exotic creatures, wild animals, foods and spices, drinks, customs, wonders of the world?”

“No, ‘nihil novi’, nothing new.”

“Oh. So what’s next for our glorious commander in chief? A Gallic charm offensive, silencing the Germanic hoards, ‘Pax Brittanica’, or something closer to home?  Anything you’d like to tell your audience today, Jules?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“So back to work then, Roman nose to the grindstone haha. No time in your schedule for a few weeks off; perhaps a well earned trip south to the Bay of Naples, a spot of R and R, chillaxing in Pompeii or Baia?”

“Well if you must know. I’m looking to further my political ambitions. ‘Lacta est alea’, the die is cast, as you might say, I’m crossing the Rubicon. As for you; you are the stench of a low-life latrine with the brains of a sleeping two year old. ‘Vade retro me, Satana’, get behind me Satan. No, sod it, here, you deserve this; suck my gladius. ‘Valete’.”

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2018 by Antony J Waller

 

Written for ThirskWriteNow, a group of talented local writers meeting every two weeks at The Golden Fleece Hotel, Thirsk. (If you would like further details please contact me.)

 

 

 

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