It takes more than two handfuls of villages to make up the spa town of Bad Kötzting within the Bavarian Forest, and pretty gosh-darn close to the border of the Czech Republic.
Bad Kötzting’s magnificent geographical location is nothing (yes, I just said that) compared to its annual event known as the Bad Kötztinger Pfingstritt (Whit Ride).
One caveat, you must be a man to participate.
Wait, before the ladies get themselves in an outrage — let me tell you what it is.
The legend (story, historical event, whatever) says that a man was out in the woods, calling for a priest to give him last rites sometime in the 15th century. Kötzting’s priest was afraid to venture out into the woods all by himself (there were wolves and other sorts of creatures out there), so he asked the men of the village to give him protection as he set off to tend to the dying man.
In his (and the medieval men of the time’s) honor, this pilgrimage of sorts takes place every year on Whit Monday (the day after Pentecost), where the men (and their horses) make the annual procession — with church services and other events along the way.
Bad Kötzting’s Pentecostal Rider Museum (Pfingstritt-Museum) is a great place to learn more about this annual event (housed within the Castle Church). And for those men who’ve made the trip a minimum of 50 times (that’s 50 years) their name is engraved on the Pentecostal Rider Fountain.
Other events in Bad Kötzting aren’t just regulated to the guys. The Forest Festival offers classic theater performances (you know, like MacBeth, Faust, etc), and during Pentecost Week there’s a yearly Folk Festival.
As if the Pentecostal Ride isn’t historical enough, some historical buildings in town to see would be the Assumption Parish Church (built 12th century) — whose parts are still attached to its Stadtmauer; the St. Anne Cemetery Chapel (built 1680s); St. Vitus Church (originally built 1250 — but rebuilt after a fire in 1633); and the Alte Rathaus whose bell chimes everyday at 11am.
Plus, this is a good thing that Bad Kötzting is a spa town (with a Kneipp spa) because after all the sports to be done here — you’re gonna need it.
Let’s see… there’s Alpine skiing, paragliding, hotair ballooning, tennis, skating, riding, fishing, bowling, canoeing, kayaking, golfing (18-holes), 900km of biking paths, and 200km of hiking lanes.
Tired yet? I am, so I think I’ll sit under the 1000-year old Wolframslinde tilia tree with a nice book and a beer. ;-)