Just one town over from the country of Austria, is the Upper Bavarian town of Fischbachau. While you might not have heard about this little gem of just over 5,000 people before, trust me when I tell you, people had been making pilgrimages to it for years.
Today most people come to Fischbachau for its outdoor recreation, no matter what season it is. I guess the Alpine air will do that to you. Because it’s a cool Autumn evening as I write this, let’s look forward to winter — OK? You got the choice to go skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, or even take a sleigh ride.
And don’t worry if you don’t know how to ski, there’s a ski school — and a place to rent equipment, so you don’t have to worry about bringing all that stuff from home.
The warmer months are perfect for horseback riding, or venturing off on some 140km of marked hiking trails. Whew, that’s a lot. Of course, you could always choose to go mountain biking, or something.
Not me, I was on a quest to see some of Fischbachau’s charming chapels and amazing churches. The most stunning of them all is the St. Martin Cathedral, a medieval church from the 11th century. You’d never know with the amazing Baroque frescoes on its ceiling. Heavenly… truly Heavenly.
As grand as it is, that’s not Fischbachau’s Pilgrimage Church (Wallfahrtskapelle). That honor belongs to the chapel in Birkenstein, whose hiking trail was used by many a pious pilgrim back in the day.
I also loved the Leonhardikapelle, an onion-domed chapel built in 1604. Ohh, I also loved the Cemetery Chapel, another one of Fischbachau’s medieval churches.
These fine churches, and great outdoor activities, aren’t the only thing great about Fischbachau. It’s a town that’s steeped in Bavarian culture, right down to its Corpus Christi Processions and Leonhardifahrt, or Leonhardi Ride — where the horses are so gaily dressed.
How did such a town manage to escape such attention for so long? I don’t understand — but I do know that I’ll be back again one day. Hopefully soon. ;-)