Friday, August 21, 2009

Mount Angel Abbey, St Benedict, OR

Thursday 8/20/09 Will is filled with excitement, today he gets the RV waxed for the second time since he bought it. He made an appointment with the guy on our first day here in Silverton, OR & he is ready. He will not be going anywhere today as he wants to be here & watch the entire process and of course make sure they do a good job.

After my walk & breakfast and the waxer guy arrives, a BIG New York Yankee fan from the Bronx, I decide to make a day of sightseeing all alone so I take the car & head out for Mt. Angel, OR. This is a little town only 4 miles down the road and is famous for a German restaurant and Benedictine Abbey located high above the city, so off I go to explore.

I arrived in short order, remember it was only 4 miles, and decide to head to the beautiful St Marys Catholic Church, which is designed and looks like the old churches of Europe (that would be pictures I have seen only.) The very tall steeple was visible before I even approach the town so I "followed the steeple" and found the church. When I entered I was in awe of the massive size of this church & the incredibly beautiful stain glass windows & the massive alter. Unfortunately, the entry hall & entrance was glassed off & the doors were lock so I was unable to enter & sit in the church. But at least I was able to see the beauty of the interior.

After I followed the signs to the Mount Angel Abbey, St. Benedict, OR which is a community of Benedictine monks founded in 1882 in central Switzerland. This is a community of 75 monks that live in the Abbey and serve the community through daily prayer, the education of priests, a Retreat House and much more. For over 125 years the monks have prayed and worked on this hilltop. When I started up the hill to the monastery on my right side for about 1/2 were the Stations of the Cross, that were build in little "houses" with the front exposed, so you could see in, and a path winding down the entire way in front of them. This area was beautifully green with lots of trees and a wire fence behind it and low and behold deer just walking along. What a scene!

I continued on my drive up to the Abbey, which sits on a hilltop with an amazing view. At one point, as I was reading my self-guided walking tour brochure I was able to see Mt Hood highest point in OR (11,234 ft) Mt Adams, Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier....all from this one point. I of course started my tour in the gift store and why not??? Incredible beautiful things, many of them actually made by the monks. But I got my brochures & headed off for the Abbey Museum which had many interesting items but one of the most incredible "stuffed animal" collection I have ever seen. Why they have it, it didn't say but it must have been a donation of some kind because ever imaginable animal was there and STUFFED!

Next I headed for the Abbey Church which seemed so very plain after just seeing St Mary Church back down the road. As I was leaving the church the bells in the Abbey Bell Tower started to chime & were beautiful. I have no idea what all the bells were for but I soon found out they were having 12 o'clock mass. I then headed over to the Abbey Library, a library designed by the world famous Alvar Aalto (???) which is very, very modern it actually seemed so out of place with the other traditional brick buildings. They have a collection of over 250,000 books (a serious library) with a very large collection of Civil War memorabilia (go figure!) They have many more buildings to look at, which I did, but I also wanted to just sit outside on a bench and enjoy the peaceful & beautiful surroundings. It truly was a wonderful morning and boy would I love to come back here and go to a retreat. I finally decided I better get going if I want to see the actual town of Mt. Angel so I head back down, stopping briefly at each of the stations of the cross while while never leaving my car. Gosh, I even noted at the bottom of the road leaving the Abbey they have a Senior Retirement Home located they have a few Catholics living there!

When I get into town, which is very small - population 4,500 I decide I will have lunch in their famous German restaurant/pub - The Glockenspiel It is locally owned & operated and in the heart of the Willamette Valley, a small farming town that celebrates its German heritage. The Glockenspiel has music bells and hand carved characters that represent the town's history. I missed the "show" as it happens 4 times a day and not while I was there. I was seated at a table located right at the window on the main street (not that there was much to see) but white table clothes & napkins it felt very fancy. I ordered the fish special, with a butternut/apple soup that was to die for and a speciality German pasta....I know it started with an S...but didn't write down the name, bet Elraine knows what it is! Anyway, the lunch was delicious & having this morning to myself was delightful. After a short walk around the town & decided I better get back home, Will would probably start to worry about his car.........

Perfect timing, just as I arrived home the waxing crew was leaving and Will was very happy with the job they did. They washed & waxed the entire RV for $155 which he thought was a very good deal, plus the fact they did a good job. A win-win situation. Well the rest of the day was one of relaxing...and no dinner for me. A little computer for me, a movie for Will & then reading for both of us.....then fall into bed....another tough day in retirement. Signing off with much love to family & friends.

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