In July we joined Big Art (Arthur's Father), and Marji (Arthur's wicked stepmother) for a delightful trip to Switzerland with all of their children, spouses, and grandchildren. We based ourselves in Meiringen, a delightful village south of Luzern. Over the next days and weeks I will share my journal, photographs, and other goodies from our trip.
I wake up at 6:00, lie in bed for a while and then shower before Arthur gets up. He'll meet me in the breakfast room. I take some coffee and write. There are a couple of interesting British men who are a bit hung over, and have no idea of how to use the resources of the breakfast table or how to behave in public they absolutely dominate the room. There's a lot of belching, and loud sexual talk. It's somewhat amusing, actually. Arthur comes down, and we have our breakfast. There are a selection of jams and breads, soft-boiled eggs, yoghurts, quark, butter, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced meats, patés, and cheeses. Breakfast on a European vacation is just wonderful.
On our way to Asamkirche (St. Johannes Nepomuk) for Mass we have a course correction, better sooner than later. My NF has run into Arthur's SJ. It will be necessary for me to communicate well, and to stick to what we have decided.
Well, in the light of my readings from The Reform of the Roman Catholic Liturgy, the Mass at Asamskirche is quite interesting. It's very elements seem to be part of the argumentation that Msgr. Gamber has lined up in his book questioning the liturgical reforms of Vatican II. A nun (is this church run by an order?) gets things in order, setting up the altar, and putting numbers on the hymn boards. There is no central aisle, a feature that we will see repeated in other churches as well. It is a Liedermesse of the kind that Fr. Gamber finds so reprehensible. The priest gives an extensive and rather lengthy introduction to the liturgy almost a small sermon, or homily at the least. He has "googled" (who knew it was a German verb as well) the word "prayer", and begins to build the themes for the day. The introduction begins an amazing convergence of Msgr. Gruber's complaints and what we experience during the mass:
1. It is a liedmesse where all the parts of the ordinary are in versified, or hymnic form. (Gamber hates this)
2. The psalm is versified as well
3. The sermon, based on the Good Samaritan would have been proudly preached in any Lutheran or Episcopal church. The theme is roughly "What would Jesus do?", but with none of the cynicism that we have associated with the phrase here.
4. Communion is only in one kind, and the peace is not passed.
5. The hymns are introduced with a brief vorspiel , a pause, and then the hymn.
6. There are extensive comments following the mass on Benedict XVI's new pronouncements regarding the Latin Mass. They're not all that positive. (Gamber would certainly not like this)
7. The priest leaves, there are no greetings at the door.
After mass we go over to the Haupt Bahnhof and Arthur buys our tickets for Zürich, negotiating the entire transaction in German. Hurray for Arthur! (In front of us area two young American girls who approach the counter, don't even ask if the agent can speak English, and just launch into their request in English such arrogance). We stop and have a coffee and a mint tea at a little coffee house across the plaza.
We walk to the Residenz but stop at Theatinerkirche first. This is one of three locations in the city where the Wittlesbach buried their dead. They are closed , so we will need to wait until tomorrow. We decide to avoid the Residenz for today and instead make our way over to the Haus der Kunst, but first we need to eat. I notice a very unique façade, something akin to the deYoung Museum in San Francisco. It is a front of pierced metal screens. When we explore further, the building is called Fünf Höfe, we discover that it is really more than the one simple façade, but wanders through a series of buildings. One of the hallways empties out through a Baroque façade a quite remarkable transition. The center of the building is a maze of stores, all unified by the pierced screens. Later when I google the complex I discover that the complex was indeed designed by Herzog et Meuron. We have lunch at a restaurant there quite delightful.
We wander around the perimeter of the Residenz
and walk past the Opera and then find ourselves walking through the Hofgarten
and noticing the tomb of the Bavarian "unknowns" and the old water
works that provide the garden with fountains, ponds, etc. It is fascinating.
The Haus der Kunst is a mess. It was a building commissioned by Hitler and designed by Troost. I've always rather liked its simple lines, and so this is an opportunity to see it first hand. The building is a mess, because it seems that the current administrators, who are operating a contemporary art museum (an odd situation, given that the building was devoted to the Nazi principles of realism, and anti-modernism) are unwilling to keep up the detailing of what once was. The quality of the materials and the design are still evident, so I take photos of details. We look at the restaurant, which is pretty much been left alone. I purchase a book on the building, and we retreat across the street to have some refreshment.
We walk over to St. Anne's Church, a 19th Century building, largely destroyed and then reworked after the war. There are nice wall paintings, especially the pieces in the Taufkapelle, and the Denkmalskapelle, both dating from the 50s. The apse paintings are older, perhaps original with the building. We leave St. Anne's and find the folk art museum, but it is closed, so we continue our way back into the old part of the city.
We pass St. Luke's, a Lutheran Church, a big 19th Century hulk, with some interesting contemporary sculptures, and posters advertising a Thomasmesse a liturgy for doubters! There's St. Peter's Church, where they are doing the rosary, and Damenstiftkirche which is closed. But there is one great surprise, the new Jewish Synagogue and accompanying buildings. The synagogue is glassy superstructure perched upon a rough hewn stone wall. The museum building is entirely of glass printed with German and English conversations about Germans and Jews. In the stones of the synagogue prayers have been stuffed between the stones of the wall. A man walking by says, "du kanst einer Mohel haben!" Not much has changed.
I take some pictures at Asamkirche and the house, and then go back to the hotel. We have dinner at Bodo's (kartoffel salat und ein Paar, Arthur: bratwurst). Afterward there is a wonderful dessert that Bonnie had told me about, a kirschbeizer, a cake covered with sour cherries and topped with a meringue.
Home, and sleep.