The Romantic Road - part IV
Trip Start May 31, 2006
170Trip End Ongoing
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We drove south towards Steingaden, a lost town deep within the Bavarian countryside. Apart from the quiet alpine feel to the town, with its long roads of orange trees and drums of fresh milk, there wasn't much of this rural town that made it stand out. Except for the magnificent opulent 18th century Rococo church stuck out on a grassy field, pretty much in the middle of nowhere.
How this church ended up here in this empty farmland was what mainly intrigued us. It's not like there were any other exuberant buildings in the vicinity. As we walked up the pathway I began to like the idea that it may have been thought out as a hidden retreat for prayer and contemplation, surrounded by the tranquility of green meadows and low foothills announcing the Alps. Very Romantic indeed.
Wieskirche, meaning White Church, was actually a pilgrimage church built to shelter a dilapidated statue of Christ which had reportedly cried real tears and healed the diseased. Once we crossed its heavy iron doors, we were taken aback by the white light that flowed in the large oval interior. Storms of gilded clouds mounting cherubs with garlands and trumpets swirled upwards on the immaculate white walls and pillars, as if traversing the skies to ascend into heaven. It was as if we ourselves were floating on white space, reaching upwards where the impressive dome frescoes depicted the Gates of Paradise in light, jovial pastel colors, as delicate and airy as the rest of the church.
Mass was being held so we crept inside and sat until the service was finished to start wandering around and photographing everything. Although outside it was a grey and dreary day, huge windows let daylight pour in and reflect on the white walls, flooding the church with bright natural light, which made it easy for photography. The incredible white and brass organ on the second level was playing church music which proved the fabulous acoustics of the building.
Tour groups began to enter and interrupt the placidity with their camera flashes and chatter, so we took that as a queue to leave. We took one last look at the dome, as if wanting to permanently burn the image in our memories. We hadn't realized it but we had spent about an hour inside that church, which was more I could say for any other church we'd visited. This one was just...well, light. As we walked out into the cold frosty meadow, I couldn't help thinking that if heaven had to be re-designed, the saints would turn to Weischurch for influence.