One of my recent and likely one of my last longer bike rides (until warmer weather) took me to a town about an hour (bike ride) north of me called Ettal. I had driven through Ettal a handful of times, but I had never stopped to appreciate the beauty of the Abbey in the middle of this tiny town. The onion dome of the Abbey can be seen from the road, but the grandeur entirety of this building can only be appreciated up close.
I knew in the back of my mind that the road getting to Ettal was a steep, windy, mountain road, but I had forgotten this tiny detail when I decided to bike in this direction. I looked for a bike path to avoid biking on the road, but I think next time I will choose the road. I found a bike/hiking trail that was so steep I had to get off my bike and push it up the hill.
I ended up gaining 1300 ft of elevation over maybe half a mile. It was intense!
The Abbey is an active Benedictine monastery from the 1300’s. It’s open to the public everyday, and within the grounds of this Abbey is a brewery/distillery. This area is used to make beer and liquor by the active monks. The alcohol is sold and the money contributes to the upkeep of the Abbey. I don’t drink, but if a monk offered me a shot of gin I wouldn’t say no!
The basilica has a beautifully elaborate interior, as do all European churches. I’m not catholic, but I like to light a candle sometimes when I visit Catholic Churches. Sometimes I say a prayer for myself, and sometimes I say a prayer for my mom (she is catholic.)
I spent about an hour here before I continued on to Oberammergau, about 20 minutes from Ettal. Oberammergau is home to the Passion Play, a once every ten year play depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his trial, suffering and death. 2020 is when the next play will be, and this play is from May through October.
The entire town is jam packed that entire time, with people arriving from all over the world just for the play.
I biked around the town just to see it, stopping by the Passion Play theatre before heading back to Garmisch. As I passed back through Ettal on my way home the sun came out, providing a different contrast to the Ettal Abbey. The hotel I work for has weekly tours to this Abbey, paired with a cheese tasting at a nearby cheese factory, but I’m glad I rode my bike here to have free rein while exploring.
The bike ride back was much quicker, as always when going DOWN hill. I took the road so that I could ride my bike instead of walking it down the steep hill I climbed. I flew like a bat out of hell on that road, despite holding my breaks like a wuss. I hate going down hill too fast, I’m a big wimp! I’ve been living in Garmisch for nearly a year, and I continue to discover new adventures close to “home.”
Life here is never dull unless you do nothing with your free time.
Q: Would you have guessed monks brew beer and liquor?! I also saw a monk smoking a cigarette while taking out the trash, and for some reason I felt surprised. As if the monks were immortal beings that don’t do daily tasks.