May 15, 2019 Reichenau GE

We have been enjoying Lake Constance so we decided to spend another day on the lake at a UNESCO World Heritage Site on Reichenau Island.  Yesterday we visited “Flower Island” and today we are visiting “Vegetable Island”.

The drive over was quick and uneventful except for a diversion to the ferry terminal as Greta Garmin decided that was the quickest way to Reichenau, she was probably right but we decided to skip the ferry fee, and after some resetting of Greta, we were on our way by road.

World Heritage Sites are usually pretty spectacular, so when we pulled on to Reichenau it seemed that the emphasis was on vegetables and not memorable architecture.  For our friends from Oregon think of Sauvie Island with three small churches.  After settling in to the Stellplatz we decided to walk on over to the Abby which is the largest of the three churches that make up the UNESCO site.  The walk was thru a bunch of vegetable fields where we played guess the vegetable, Ton won.

A field of different types of Lettuce on Vegetable Island.

We arrived at the Abby and it was a nice enough church but nothing spectacular. We finally figured out that the smaller church called St. George Church had the paintings that were what caused the UNESCO designation, and we had a couple of hours to wait until the next tour.

Part of the Abby which was the center of the religious order on the island in the middle ages.

The island this time of year is really very quiet and peaceful, and we spent quite a bit of time just wandering aimlessly around the streets enjoying the views of the lake and enjoying the ambiance and the greenery, it really reminded us of Oregon.   We visited the museum to try to understand the history of the Abby as the tour was in German so we needed to prep.

A reproduction of some of the art that we would see later in St. George Church.

Finally what we thought would be the highlight of the day was the tour of the interior of the church which has artwork from the 10th century that was rediscovered in the 1880’s  when the white wash that had covered them was removed.  The paintings are in the process of being preserved, access to the church is limited to help minimize the humidity in the church.

An example of the paintings from the 900’s that are being preserved at the entrance to the church.
Some of the art inside the chapel, this type of painting is very rare and this is the northern most church in Europe that this style is found.

The explanation of the on going work to preserve the paintings and the meaning of the paintings was quite extensive, but we did not understand much as it was of course in German.  But the guide was quite obviously proud of the work and very knowledgeable.

The exterior of St. George Church, sometimes modest structures hide real treasures.

We had planned on taking the bus back to François after the tour, but I was unable to figure out the bus system, and the bus guide we had did not match the one at the bus stop.  So being unsure whether the bus was going to take us home, or into Konstanz I talked Ton into walking the 2 miles back.  On the way she saw a sign for a grocery so we detoured down a side road where we saw a small brewery.

Being a little curious we crossed the street and were peering in the door when a man waved us in and welcomed us in German.  We were a little shy as we do not speak any German, but the man switched to English and asked us where we were from, when we told him Oregon he laughed and his wife smiled.  He said he got his Masters Degree from Southern Oregon University!  They have been operating the only microbrewery in the region for about 3 years.  Thomas insisted on giving us a tour of the facilities and a couple of beers to taste.  His beers are excellent.  We were also invited to a special event the brewery is having on Saturday including beer making, bands and food.  It looks like we may be staying in the far south of Germany for a few more days.

Thomas the owner of Insel Brewery on Reichenau Island.
We ended the day by walking down to the beach for a romantic sunset over Lake Constance.

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