Ok,…..time to introduce you to two sisters….
One is hard working and virtues, she is neat and tidy, prays a lot and is a very regular church goer. The only man she ever loved went on to become the Pope.
The other one is naughty, she doesn’t know if it is better up on a hill or down on the river, she likes to joke and enjoys good music. An angel was so in love with her, that the rest of the world just saw his naked backside.
The sisters I am talking about are the Bavarian towns Altötting and Burghausen, situated in the fare Southeast of Germany, right at the border to Austria.
Just before the lock down I had an opportunity to visit these places and after three months of social distancing in the UK, I am enjoying here again some of my first restaurant meals and something that resembles what I would call “normal” life.
Altötting is probably the closest thing catholic Germany has to places like Lourdes or Krakow: a multitude of churches, cathedrals and chapels, of which one – right at the town square – is dedicated to a small statue of Maria, the Mother of Jesus. Not less than eight pilgrimage ways pass through the town center. They even appear to have one for me!…..
Tilly – General of the catholic forces during the Thirty Years – has his own crypt in the local cathedral and if you are exhausted from shopping for the right crucifix, candle or other devotional equipment
in the multitude of dedicated outlets, you can do so with a coffee and a few incense truffles…..
Monks, nuns and pilgrims, some of whom are carrying crosses of various sizes are frequently encountered on the streets and the regular ringing of church bells makes it unnecessary to wear a watch.
Joseph Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI as born just around the corner in the small town of Marktl.
Just 10 miles away from Altötting, hugging the border to Austria, is Burghausen – divided into an old part in a gorge, next to the river Salzach and a new part on the hill above it. It not only features Europe’s longest castle, but also a renowned annual Jazz Festival, a selection of Tattoo parlors and a cabaret. When walking through its medieval streets, you come across a lot of small and often hidden features which tell a tale of mischief and of a great sense of humor….
Apparently the two sisters are planning to see more of me in the nearer future, but I am wondering how veterinary life is going to turn out in this part of the world……