A couple of years ago I attended a scientific meeting on Lake Chiemsee in Bavaria. The conference lasted a week and it was a week of pure peace. Our lodging, as well as all meetings and networking events, took place on the land-locked island of Fraueninsel (The Women’s Island). The island is home to about 250 inhabitants and the Benedictine abbey of Frauenwörth and its location at the edge of the Bavarian Alps provided for great pictures.
We stayed in the abbey which is run by nuns (very Sound of Music, i know). Our mornings were always filled with scientific presentations and intellecutal exchange, and the evenings had a bit less structure, so sometimes we would have educational presentations and other times we would be free to explore the island and its ‘brother’ island, Herreninsel (Gentlemen’s Island). Evenings, after dinner, were spent in the Catecombs of the nunnery, where we enjoyed the wine and beer (made by the nuns) and just had very spirited discussions.
The island is land locked and a nature made land mass, which made the scenery equally unique and beatiful. The serenity that you experience is amazing, the island was filled with a 1000 year old tree, swans, and colorful flowers so there was always something beatiful to observe.
On one of our excursions to Herreninsel we learned the story of King Ludwig II, who built a palace in 1878 called Herrenchiemsee, which was supposed to be a replica of the Palace of Versailles but was never finished. It’s a pretty interesting story so read up on it if you get a chance. Personally, I don’t think it came anywhere close to being Versailles but it was a nice tour none the less.
If I had to think of one word to describe Chiemsee it would be serene. I don’t remember using my cell phone or computuer, except to prepare for presentations and the island was unexpectadly romantic, so I look forward to returning one day with my family and enjoying each others company agaisnt the backdrop of one of the most beautifully tranquil places that I’ve been blessed to visit.