Kempten day three
26.05.2017 - 26.05.2017
To Wangen and Lindau
After another excellent breakfast at the Bayerischer Hof we made our way to the bus stop opposite the Park Hotel, about ten minutes' walk, where we met up with everyone going on today's outing.
Our comfortable coach took us first to Wangen - a place I had never heard of but which proved to be a really pretty small town with lots of interest in its old centre.
First impressions of Wangen
But before exploring, refreshments were called for, so I joined Steve, Amelie, Kirsty, Claus and Hansi outside one of the cafés where I enjoyed a very good Eiskaffee.
Then Steve and I went off to explore – slowly, as we were both nursing injuries (in my case a sore Achilles caused by overdoing it yesterday). Our walk took us first to the Eselbrunnen, a fountain which depicts Aesop's fable about the man, the boy and the donkey:
A man and his son were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?"
So the man put the boy on the donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."
So the man ordered his boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along."
Well, the man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his boy up before him on the donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?"
The man and boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.
"That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them: "Please all, and you will please none"
The bronze figures on the fountain show five scenes - the donkey carrying no one, the donkey carrying the boy, the donkey carrying the man, the donkey carrying both of them and on the top, the man and boy carrying the donkey strung from the pole.
From here we walked up pretty Schmiedstrasse to Herrenstrasse where we had a view to our right of the Ravensburg Gate, also known as the Frauentor. This dates from 1608 in its present form, although there is likely to have been a gate on this spot since the 12th century.
The Ravensburg Gate or Frauentor
The town was full of eye-catching details – frescoes on so many of the buildings, ornate signs, and pretty flowers.
We walked up to the Marktplatz from where we could see another of the town’s ancient gates, the Lindau or Martinstor. This is named for the church opposite and has a painting of St Martin handing his cloak to the beggar. Like the Frauentor its current form dates from 1608.
St Martin's church
We went into the Catholic parish church opposite, dedicated to St Martin. Known as the Oberstadtkirche or upper church, this is one of the town’s oldest buildings, dating from the 9th century, although elements (including the tower) took their present form only in the 15th century.
Pushing open the striking modern doors we found ourselves in a beautiful space which mixes ancient and modern religious art. The older features include the high altar (late 17th century) and side altars, while the frescoes above the choir arch and a ceiling painting of St Martin by Gebherd Fugel (an artist from Ravensburg) are from the 19th century. The modern stained glass windows, which I loved, date from the 1960s.
Steve and I then separated, and I walked under the Pfaffenturm and down Spitalstrasse.
Here another church caught my eye, the Spitalkirche zum Heiligen Geist. This was built between 1719 and 1723 on the site of a medieval chapel which served the nearby hospital - hence the name.
Although a little less ornate it was still full of Baroque splendour and interesting details including the painted ceiling, again by Gebherd Fugel, which shows Christ healing the sick as a reference to the church's links to the hospital. The ornately painted organ loft must, I think, also be his work and again has scenes on the theme of healing.
The high altar is stunning – it dates from the early 17th century and has an almost life-size statue of the Madonna. Another altar in the south aisle is known as the Christus im Kerker (Christ in the dungeon) and is a focus for prayer and pilgrimage.
The high altar
Detail of Christus im Kerker altar
Outside I found another lovely fountain ornamented with little bronze birds.
Onwards to Lindau
By now it was time to go back to the bus which took us next to Lindau on the shores of Lake Constance (or the Bodensee in German). The town has a lovely setting with wonderful views from the waterfront of the mountains on the far side of the lake, in Austria. The harbour is framed by a lighthouse and a sculpture of a lion. The former can claim to be the southernmost lighthouse in Germany. It dates from the mid 19th century and is 33 metres tall and 24 metres in circumference at its widest point, the base. Unusually for a lighthouse, it has a clock face on the side. The lion references the Bavarian coat of arms. It is made from sandstone, is six metres tall and is also from the mid 19th century.
Despite these stunning views, on the whole I found Lindau less appealing than Wangen had been and too overrun with tourists. However it was a great spot for a relaxing lunch in a café overlooking the harbour. I enjoyed a Weinshorle and shared finger food (chicken, baked Camembert and chips with dips) with Isa, Amelie and Steve.
After lunch we had planned to take a short stroll but when we came across the tourist train opted for that instead - a great relief to my dodgy ankle. The ride around town cost 5€ and showed us a few of the main sights such as churches and some of the older buildings, but it was hard to take photos.
By the time we got off there was no opportunity to explore further as the bus would be waiting for us, but I for one was ready to leave a town that for some reason hadn't really appealed to me – although I accept that I probably didn’t give it a chance to do so.
More images from Lindau
~ the Mangturm and a lovely building near the bus station which may be the main library!
The drive back to Kempten took us through wonderful scenery and our driver stopped at a great viewpoint so we could take some photos.
This meant however that we were quite late getting back, with only an hour or so to go before dinner. I decided therefore to opt out of that and rest my Achilles to be ready for tomorrow.