Sunday, 30 November 2014

Seeon Abbey

Surprisingly, our first few days were spent together... kind of.
We traveled over to Europe together in time for a conference Mum is attending at Kloster Seeon, just south of Munich (as she puts it).
Having arrived at 17:00, long after the sun had sunk below the horizon, we didn’t gain a very good idea of what this Abbey and its surrounds actually looked like. Supposedly, it’s an abbey on a small island in the middle of a small lake. At least that’s what Google told us. 

The abbey is unusual, a mixture of corporate function centre and old cloister with modern monochrome lines mixed in with the occasional vaulted ceiling, wood paneled ceiling and useless sundial fresco.  

In the reception hall the grey stones of the vaulted ceiling have been left bare standing out against the white wash of the walls. 

And more time was spent at breakfast leaning out the window looking at the quaint old features and photographing the ceiling than eating I think. 
Something about this abbey has a connection with Eugene de Beauharnais (son of Empress Josephine of France) though I’ve yet to work it out. In amongst the history (all in German unfortunately) displayed along one of the lengths of the cloister is the family tree, dating back to Josephine, and the nearby cafĂ© is named after the title of Eugene’s wife.

Leaving the island of Herrenchiemsee early on Friday we had time to make a loop around this particular lake and attempt to photograph the Abbey across the water, through the ever-present mist and fog. It was a pretty though again the camera had some difficulty distinguishing the silhouettes from the fog. 

The village of Seeon (as separate from the Cloisters) was quaint and picturesque with the suitable winding road scarcely wide enough for one car let alone the dual carriage way it was supposed to be. One got the impression that it was one of those towns that became a popular ‘beach’ resort in summer, but the remainder of the year,(including when we were there) it was more like a ghost town.

The one last place of note at Seeon Abbey was the church. 

Opened only from 10 until 5, I was worried that we would miss it, but on the final day had time to pop in for a glimpse before we made our way back to Munich. 
After the opulence of the day (Herrenchiemsee) it was delightfully simple; flat white washed walls lightly painted with vines and pseudo-trompe d’oeil.

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