It’s not often I get to write about someone specific who lived in a particular place, but it wouldn’t be right to mention the Upper Bavarian town of Pöcking without talking about royalty from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Austrian Empire? In Upper Bavaria?
Yup, you see, Pöcking was where a lovely Empress Elisabeth of Austria spent her summers as a young girl — long before she married Franz Joseph I of Austria, and was just the daughter of a Duke and Princess.
Oh, she had other royalty to play with, her cousin was none other than King Ludwig II. Yeah, the “Mad” king who gave Germany its Neuschwanstein Castle.
Oh, I’m getting off point, sorry…
Anyway, Elisabeth loved Pöcking on the shores of Lake Starnberg and its vicinity strewn with local resorts that offer various leisure ops; and I’m pretty sure to gander that she loved Schloss Possenhofen. It was built a few centuries before Elisabeth was born, and destroyed and rebuilt again long before she was born, too.
Elisabeth was so beloved here, it seemed like the right place to put a museum to her. The Empress Elisabeth Museum is located in the old train station, a mere few minutes walk from her castle. And if you didn’t know, Empress Elisabeth has her own scenic route known as Sisi’s Road, so called for her childhood nickname.
Come to think of it, Ludwig’s got his own scenic route here in town — the König-Ludwig-Wanderweg, or King Ludwig Trail; but that’s besides the point. ;-) Either way, this trail takes you along the foothills of the German Alps, along Lake Starnberg and through some of the most scenic spots in the region. So, put on your walking shoes and let it lead you! ;-)
The good duchess was also the great-aunt of Charles I, the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire — but it was his son, Archduke Otto von Habsburg, who made the impact on Pöcking. He lived here until his death in 2011 (at the ripe old age of 98), with some still thinking of him as the Crown Prince of Austria. When he died, the town laid him in “repose” for some 13 days at Pöcking’s St. Ulrich Church before burying him in Vienna.
When you visit places like the church (or Pöcking as a whole, for that matter), you can think of the human factor that makes towns like Pöcking really come alive.
Being in Pöcking also puts you close to the Roseninsel, or Rose Island, with a population of one. Yeah, one — the caretaker lives on Lake Starnberg’s only island.
Whatever the season is when you’re here, you’re bound to enjoy yourself. A winter wonderland awaits in villages like Maising, which isn’t so bad on the warmer months — it’s even got a nature reserve area if you’re into the whole flora & fauna stuff.
Have I missed anything? Yes, I have. I forgot to tell you about the frescoes at the St. Bartholomew Church, and the 13th century medieval one in the village of Aschering. Ohh, and the tour boats you can hop on around Lake Starnberg, too.
And the town’s medieval charms are best experienced in the old farm houses of Putzbauten and the Flachsatteldach dating back to the 18th and early 19th centuries. These used to be homes of peasant families and still retain the coziness and warmth of a bygone era.
The Town Hall is another architectural delight with a baroque façade, as is St. Sebastian’s Church from the 13th century.
Then there’s the Eßsee, a marsh which in winter starts to resemble a fairy tale land.
All in all, one can see that Pöcking has a relatively calm exterior which often beguiles visitors into a placidity that is a perfect beginning to any tour. So, whether you come to Pöcking and pretend you’re royalty, or come just to enjoy the Upper Bavarian sunshine — you’ll love it, just like Sisi, Otto, and Ludwig.