I have recently come back from holidaying in deepest Bavaria. My partner comes from just south of Munich, so it’s a regular destination for us. Much of our time is spent cycling through forests and around lakes, with regular refreshment stops at one of the many beer gardens. As for cultural sights, I can never resist popping into the churches along the way. If you are really lucky, you’ll find some ancient abbey with its very own beer garden.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that as the birthplace of Martin Luther and the Reformation, Germany was purely a Protestant country, but Bavaria remains, to this day, staunchly Catholic. This is apparent in the style of many of the church interiors. While comparatively sober on the outside, the insides are often a riot of Baroque or Rococo. Swags and curls, gold and marble, festoon every inch. In amongst it are depictions, not only of Christ and the saints, but also of death and destruction. The stories of hell and horror on the one hand, and glory and salvation on the other, must have made these spaces the cinemas of their day.

Kloster Andechs


Asamkirche, Munich

The wonderfully named St Johann Nepomuk church will either take your breath away, or have you retching, depending on your taste.

Hofmarkkirche, Bernried

I was however, puzzled by this saint in a pretty little village church on the shores of Starnbergersee. He stood above  and to one side of an altar with St Sebastian (he of the flesh pierced by arrows), perched on the other side. Quite why he is raising his tunic to show a little leg, I have no idea. If anyone knows who he is, please enlighten me!