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Das Buch zur Reise: "Deutschlands alte Bäume"»Deutschlands alte Bäume«

Freitag, 20.7. - Sonntag, 29.7.2007

The following German texts to the individual trees were taken with kind permission by BLV Publishers and translated into English by us. The texts can be read in the German Book "Deutschlands alte Bäume", BLV Verlag, München, 2007.

Tour Review

  • Wednesday, 25 July

This morning we had a long coach journey ahead and therefore we leaved the state of Baden-Würtemberg behind us and arrived in Bavaria. Around lunchtime we arrived in Wessobrunn in the District Weilheim-Schongau and visited the beautiful monastery of Wessobrunn.

Sister Georgia took us around the building and we were amazed by the decoration in the Bavarian church. After the tour in English language we went for lunch in the nearby pub "Zur Post".

In the early afternoon we had time enough to walk to the other side of the monastery and view the famous Tassilolinde (Tilia cordata) (No. 153)*. The tree has an age of 700-1,000 years and in 1988 the circumference measured 13,20 m.

TassilolindeThere is a whole network of legends and sayings from Old Bavaria woven around this legendary Tassilo Lime near Wessobrunn. The knight Tassilo, the last offspring of the Agilofing dynasty who ruled Bavaria from 590 to 788, often used to go hunting in the Thesselbach area, which is densely forested and full of gorges. In a dream, legend has it, he once saw singing angels going up and down a ladder, taking water from a spring to drink from. This spring, so a longer version of the legend says, came out of the ground in three different places and joined in the shape of a cross to form a stream. When Wesso, Tassilo's hunting companion, found this spring in the real world, the young knight decided to erect a monastery in the same spot, at 'Wesso's Well'. The Benedictine monastery was built in 753. The planting of the Tassilo Lime is often linked to the founding of the monastery, even though it is located east of the monastery walls, on an open hill slope.

In a supplement to the 'Munich Newspaper' from 1933, we find this:

'Time-honoured is this soil and suffused in history. Suddenly our eyes are opened. At the sloping meadow above Thesselbach, there is this lime of a thousand years which Knight Tassilo planted, this bold, noble gentleman, feudatory of the Emperor Charles, the Bavarian knight who refused to follow the Franconian king and, when called to justify his acts, was disarmed at the congregation in Ingelheim, tied and sentenced to a life in the monastery.'

The history of the monastery is extraordinary. In Medieval times, the Benedictine Abbey developed into one of the spiritual and cultural centres of Europe. The 'Wessobrunn Prayer', an idiosyncratic creation myth and one of the oldest pieces ever written in German (9th century) was written here. In the Baroque and Rococo ages, over 600 artists set out from here in order to build and adorn in the finest stucco more than 3,000 churches, castles and monasteries in Bavaria, but also on Lake Constance, in Northern Germany, France and Russia. Secularisation put a sudden end to all these activities. In 1810, the monastery was pulled down almost entirely. By the ruins, the ancient small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata) keeps alive the memories of history. From its trunk, which measures 13 m in circumference and has been restored several times, ever new, strong branches grow upwards, creating a crown of 23 m in height and 20 m across. Its regenerative power has meant that the dead wood in its centre has again been covered in living bark.
Location: Pfaffenwinkel, east of the wall of the Wessobrunn monastery.

MarienlindeWe departed south of Wessobrunn and after a short drive we arrived at St. Leonard again in the District Weilheim-Schongau. There is an agglomeration of number of very small villages and we were looking for the Weiler Linden. Here we visited the Marienlinde (Tilia spec.) in Linden (No. 152)*. The tree has an age of 400-550 years and in 1997 its circumference measured 9.95 m.

Was it the hollow lime at its entrance that gave this village its name? The villagers have certainly long felt close to this old lime. Towards the valley, a small wooden niche has been carved out of its wood, housing a statue of the Virgin Mary. Above it, a cross. This has made the lime a natural place of sacrifice, where fresh flowers and fruit are offered.
Location: At the entry to Linden, south of Wessobrunn.


Our journey continued and we arrived at the end of the afternoon in the beautiful Bavarian city of Bad Tölz. "Bad" in German refers to a "bath" or "hot spring". There are numerous places in Germany called Bad (Bad Godesberg, Bad Sinzig, Bad Neuenahr, Baden-Baden, etc.) These places all have the presence of hot springs in common. These hot springs are medicinally used to take "Kur" - a special form of treatment.

We stayed in the beautiful Landhaus "Iris" for two nights.

Next: Thursday, 26. July