Last Thursday was my last day as a free woman – I know, I’ve been married for a while now, but that’s not what I’m referring to, crazy you — it was my last day before starting work. So I was very excited when there was an activity planned by the other spouses in the squadron for me to partake in since I won’t get to do that very often.
Every month, the wives go out and have a celebration lunch celebrating birthdays and anniversaries in the squadron. Several (not me) of the gals had one or the other in the month of August. I don’t know if they have all 12 months covered but this group of gals is so tight-knit and so much fun, I’m guessing they have the lunches no matter what and celebrate anyway.
We went to the Himmerod Abbey just down the road in Grosslittgen. It’s a beautiful abbey, now a Cistercian monastery, tucked away in the green folds of the flowing waters of the Salm founded in 1134. There are still 14 monks who live, work, and pray there. It became home to a famous organ by Johannes Klais when it was re-built in 1962. There is a stone wall that surrounds the entire property, and I am guessing it was built in Roman times, because it is crumbly and very old. Doesn’t this totally redefine the word “old” for us Americans? Don’t get me wrong, we have some beautiful “old” buildings, but this stuff is old old…
I rode with my friend Helen and her bebe and we arrived a bit early, but that gave us time to wander around and enjoy the beautiful grounds.
We went inside and though it is the first church I’ve seen in this region of Germany, I must say, the simplicity is astounding. Inside is such a holy place, but so simple and peaceful. I believe it is very baroque in style, and it certainly won my heart over. The ceilings are high, and the drop of a pin makes the most glorious echo off the high arched ceiling. I can only imagine how pure and beautiful a choir might sound. Out of respect, I did not photograph the interior of the church.
In 2006, they opened a museum (which I did not see), a book and art shop, fishery, guest/retreat house, and a cafe. And that is exactly where we dined for our celebratory lunch. Something you may or may not be aware of about monasteries and abbeys is the beer, or abteibier.
It is very common for monasteries to brew their own beer. They also make liquors, honey from their own bees, and apple spritzer from their apple orchard. I’ve heard of monasteries that make their own chocolates too. But mostly, they’re known for their brews. I guess that keeps the monks happy… 😉 I am learning to enjoy beer again. I drank the good stuff in Colorado when we lived there, but Mississippi and Texas don’t have a whole lot to be proud of — just my personal opinion, don’t hate! –so I haven’t really got an acquired taste for the stuff. Here, on the other hand, it isn’t difficult to like the stuff. Tasting beer is much like wine tasting or coffee tasting. When you take a sip and let it splatter across your palate, you pick up different flavors that stand out. This beer was mild in flavor, but had strong effects. It also provided quite a buzz (10.5% alcohol) but that’s not really all that uncommon for German beer. One and donskie.
For lunch, I dined on Wildlachsfilet, gedünstet, an Bandnudeln mit Blattspinat, which is steamed wild salmon filet, with fettuccine and spinach. It was delicious. I think I may need to learn to replicate this one at home…