Angels, Busts and Saints Dressed in Snow: A Wintry Visit to Oberammergau’s Cemetery

Perhaps it is a bit macabre, but I find cemeteries – particularly those in foreign locales – to be fascinating and fitting spots to reflect upon a place’s culture and history, and upon life itself.

When my husband and I last visited Paris, we spent several hours strolling through the city’s famous Père Lachaise Cemetery, passing headstones of the famous such as Edith Piaf, Chopin, and Jim Morrison, and wondering about the lives of others buried there. Autumn leaves danced on the ground. The sun shone through the kaleidoscopic stained glass that adorned the windows and doorways of ornate mausoleums. Parisians on lunch break sought refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city by escaping within the cemetery’s peaceful walls; they sat on benches with books or lunch bags in hand.

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Snowy Vignettes from an Alpine Paradise

oberammergau church in snow snow paths in germany

Having ‘escaped’ winter by spending five wonderful, but scorching months in Asia last year, I must admit – it’s been a bit of a shock wintering in the Alps these past months. Fortunately, there are the visual elements that make sidewalk slips, shoveling and shivering so worthwhile: chalets peeking out from under snow blankets, Mother Nature wearing her finest maquillage, and graceful icicles about to rappel from rooftops. Here are more scenes from Oberammergau, Germany, and inspirational quotes attesting to the magic of winter.

snow on the ground with kofel mountain overhead quote evergreen dressed in snow quote

Oberammergau in snow

birch in snow quote

snow quote Oberammergau icicles and quote mountain with snow quote

snowmen fall quote

snow evergreen quote

What do you think of winter? Do you embrace it or long for balmier days? Can you share any tried and true activities, rituals or pilgrimages that help you bridge the cold impasse to spring?


Where in the World?

Planning Pointers:

  • The town of Oberammergau is located about 90 km southwest of Munich. To get there by rail or by bus, research the Bayern or Regio Ticket (website in German, but you can use Google Translate). These special tickets start at €20/25 for one passenger, and cost €6 for each additional passenger. You can use them to travel via bus and train throughout much of the region, making them a better deal if you want to make a few stops in a day. You can purchase tickets online, via a ticket machine, or in person.
  • Are you looking for a guesthouse or hotel in Oberammergau? Before my parents moved there, Shawn and I spent two nights at the Gästehaus Hildegard (affiliate link). We thought the beds were comfortable, the owners were helpful and kind, and the breakfast was tasty. The guest house is centrally located in the town too, and it’s not far from the Tiroler Gasse bus stop. The train station is also only about 1 km away.
  • This page indexes all my posts from Germany.

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany

The sign declared, Bitte Esel nicht füttern, and in Germany, the land so famously-known for its rules, I obliged. 

Even though visitors to the Christmas Market in Oberammergau, Germany were asked not to feed the photogenic donkeys (to keep the live Christmas props from developing upset stomachs), rubbing of the animals’ cotton ball-like ears seemed to be encouraged. Before I approached the stable, I had even noticed that Saint Nicholas was giving the cuddly beasts a head massage.

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Winter Wonderland Wisdom

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand. -Henry David Thoreau

With craggy mountain peaks and evergreens on the hillsides dressed in a confectioner’s sugar-like snow to command one’s attention, it is easy to miss the smaller details of winter in the alpine village of Oberammergau, Germany. Before we embarked on errands in the city center of the frescoed town the other day, I was struck by the loveliness of the delicate designs Mother Nature had etched on our windows in frost.

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