The Lüftlmaler of Schliersee….Peter Wimmer

I have been chasing the tail of the elusive and ever busy Lüftlmaler, for over a year now. With so many historic homes and new buildings, his work load never seems to ease. Thankfully we were able to carve out a few hours to meet.

When you think of the typical picturesque Bavarian or Alpine village you can’t help but think of all the beautifully painted building facades that decorate houses. Having once been an art restorer in my former life myself as well as a decorative painter, I have an endless fascination and respect for this timeless art form.

Peter Wimmer, Schliersee’s most esteemed Lüftmaler is known far and wide for his skills. I had the greatest pleasure to have this short visit with him while he worked on a small project near his home in Schliersee. Bathed in sunlight, he was working high on a scaffolding when I first approached him. His warm and jovial energy is quite infectious and I immediately felt comfortable talking with him.

He explained that there had been some damage to the stucco of the side of this historic home so he was replicating the Florentine detail painting around the windows. This for him was a simple repair. I can only imagine the scale of many of his other structures in his work experiences. Oxblood and ochre were his color palate on the day. These tones brought be right back to my mind t a trip I took to Provence and the village of Roussillon. These ancient colors are of the earth and their influence reached all the way to this lakeside alpine village.

What is a Lüftlmaler you ask? Well, in Peter’s case, he is a Master of the handcrafted method of wall-painting that became popular in alpine villages in the 18 century. Its popularity grew in Italy and Southern Germany during the baroque period as a way of showing wealth. These opulent paintings featuring many times religious figures were painted using the fresco technique.

The Fresco technique is much like it sounds, you have to work on a “fresh” or wet plaster surface. In doing so the paint is absorbed and becomes permanently impregnated into the wall surface. I found an interesting bit of “his-story” that details how the term ‘Lüftlmalerei’ came to be. It states that “Franz Seraph Zwinck (1748-1792), probably the most well-known craftsman of his guild. The story goes that he lived in a house called ‘Zum Lüftl’ in Oberammergau (such house names can still be found there rather often) and because of his profession, was called ‘the Lüftlmaler’ (the ‘Lüftl’ painter). The name of the whole guild most probably developed from this name during the 19th century”.



I hope you will take the time to look up Peter Wimmer and learn more about his magnificent talent.

Peter Wimmer
Seestraße 37
83727 Schliersee

Tel.: 08026/94844




Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).




Hunting Warm Holiday Cheer

Some people spend their lives tracking the Yeti, but I am on the trail of the most delicious and creative Glühwein stands Schliersee has to offer. This year I am excited to announce some new wonderful places to warm your hands and ignite your Christmas spirit.

On first Advent, I made our plans to visit Schliersee’s Seeweihnacht market at Sunset. We hoped to capture all that Christmas magic gathered before the majestic backdrop of alpine glow on the Brecherspitz. Once the chill hit our bones we decided a wander up to the Ratskeller for a delicious meal. First Advent is all about light and the Ratskeller did not disappoint. Matthias Gercken has pulled out all the stops with his incredible holiday decorating. The Ratskeller Glühwein stand which is nestled along side the Rathaus in Schliersee, was handmade in Austria and so, has encapsulated Tyrollean charm. While we ate,   we were serenaded by a local traditional Bavarian band creating a romantic atmosphere. Such a wonderfully typical German start to Christmas. Let’s not forget the delicious fireside mug of spiced fragrant Glühwein. It is holiday perfection inside and out.

Another warming thirsty stop is Lehmanns Neuhauser Stuben. It is located right in the middle of Neuhaus on the bend. Beneath a giant illuminated Christmas tree is their magical little Glühwein hut. All decked out in twinkle lights, with jazzy Christmas tunes playing it is the perfect spot to break your wander and warm up from nose to toes. Either heading up the slopes or while returning home, a stop at Lehmanns is a must do. Chris Lehmann has really gone all out to make his special corner of Neuhaus festive.


And lastly but definitely not least is the remarkable Glühwein stand on Obere Firstalm. While doing some moonlit sledding last full moon a friend and I discovered this wonderful gingerbread stand straight out of a Grimm fairytale. I had to find out the secret of when this Christmas mirage appears as I had never before seen it. Marcus Votteler of Obere Firstalm explained to me just how you can make this magic a part of your Christmas cheer. You can reserved this picturesque Glühwein stand for birthdays or office Christmas parties. Just contact them directly for more information. I don’t know about you but I can’t imagine a more perfect way to enjoy a December birthday than to be together with great friends under the stars, as all snuggle close around an open fire.

Now go forth and gather your friends and lets kick off this holiday season in the Bavarian way, fireside, Glühwein in hand.

For more information on how you can visit these huts for yourself.

Ratskeller Schliersee:

Lehmanns Neuhauser Stuben:

Obere Firstalm:





Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).




Schliersee…So Much More Than Cows

After several years of obsessively photographing the various local Almabtriebs, this year I was sent a very kind invitation to come and experience another lovely local farming event. The Schafprämierung, in english we would call it a sheep “Best in Show” which, also included goats. This event is held each year in Tegernsee at Kohlhauf-Hof.

Sadly, after many years of great weather, this year the event received a complete soaking due to the remnants of hurricane Maria. Though the weather dampened everything, animal and people alike, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the farmers and young breeders.

Despite the weather, the atmosphere was a festive one. Of course there was a small local traditional band playing and the air was fragrant with hot homemade stews, sausages and lamb steaks. Never to be forgotten at any German gathering, an entire table of delicious homemade cakes. Local vendors set up booths and sold various hand made products like  cattle bells and sheep’s wool items.  An amazing weaver from Miesbach brought her traditional Bavarian style loom carpets while women carded and spun wool. For the children a class was offered on felting wool and they really enjoyed.

Representing Schliersee was Franz Leitner (junior). His families beautiful farm, Kirchbergerhof is located in the  Fischhausen part of Schliersee. Franz was showing his magnificent Alpine Steinschaff. Through this event I learned In 2009 the Alpines Steinschaf was named “endangered livestock breed of the year” so its cultivation and care are very important to the breeds survival. It was great to be there in support of a fellow Schlierseer.

What stole my heart were the happy faces of the young breeders, Jungzuchter, who were showing their sheep for the first time. Watching the connection of these young children and their much loved and trusting sheep was precious. The joy of the parents and grandparents who could share their passion for animal husbandry was written all over their faces. These traditions of local farming if not taught and shared might one day might sadly die out. Sharing and teaching them to the younger generations helps to keep the traditions alive. Their joy just fills you with pride for this beautiful alpine land and its people.

I am sure there were technical aspects of a Schafprämierung which were very important for the health of these local breeds but for me it was the joy of community that I most took away from the day. The excitement of seeing the results of the years hard work, breeding and caring for these sweet faced creatures. The sheep were definitely the stars and their personalities shined through. Many of the sheep tried nibbling on the serious judges aprons causing them to break from their important stoic roles into warm laughter.



The judges took great care to check each animal thoroughly for particular signs of good breeding. The health and care given to every animal was judged accordingly to a strict standard.


Unfortunately, although I was properly attired for the weather, myself and my camera encased in gore-tex for protection I ended up getting soaked to the skin which sadly brought and end to my visit.



For more information on Schafprämierung and events:

To learn how you can stay at the beautiful Kirchbergerhof farm:



Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).




The Secret Side of the Maypole Tradition

As you might have already noticed, I love everything about ancient cultural traditions.  One of my personal favorites, the Bavarian tradition of the Maypole, I believe might just be one of the most fun.

A Maypole or Maibaum is a tall tree that has been stripped of it’s branches and is either left natural or painted with the classic Bavarian blue and white.  Besides the decorative stripped and checked painting a Maypole has either crests symbols or figures jutting off the sides which represent the many different craftsman guilds of the village. The Maypole is erected by the young men of the “Burschenverein” a kind of Maypole club. They are placed in the village square on the first day May. The t of May or Mayday is often called Workers Day.

Much of what I have already written is common knowledge so I won’t bore you with more facts. But were you aware that much of the work that goes into making a Maypole must be done in secret? For the its own safety? This is absolutely true! It is tradition for the young people of other villages to stealthily steal the Maypole from another town and to hold it hostage for unbelievable amounts of beer and food. There are many famous thefts of Maypoles including the legendary 2004 theft of the massive one on the top of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze which was done by helicopter.

I learned firsthand how much effort is put into the safe keeping of the pole when I first moved to Schliersee and was motivated to stop and take some photos of a Maypole in progress in one of our neighboring villages. I would stop by from time to time to see the various stages from natural tree to hand hewn pole and onto the finish painting.  On one of my last visits I had the definite feeling that I was being watched. Just behind me was a mobile wagon used on construction sites, peering out of each window were nervous faces of young men. I had to laugh to myself thinking t they must be wondering if I am doing reconnaissance for another village to come steal their Maypole.

Every effort is made to secure the safety of the Maypole and therefore the honor of the village or town. I have seen 24 hour video camera coverage. Recently here in Schliersee a radio personality moved in and kept watch over the local Maypole 24 hours a day. It was great fun to watch as he was visited by various people, blessed by the local church and even pizza was delivered to him so he didn’t have to leave his post. You are required to pay the ransom for the stolen Maypole and with astronomical ransoms being the norm, guarding that pole is a serious business.

As with everything in Germany there is a list of rules and basic decorum for stealing another villages Maypole which must be followed. I have acquired the list for you incase you are feeling the need to invade your neighboring town.

Bavarian rules for Maypole Theft:

  1. No rooted trees must be stolen, the tree must have already been felled.
  2. Trees must not be stolen from the forest, since wood theft is otherwise punished.
  3. The maypole must be stolen only when it finds itself within the place, for it is only then that it is a maypole.
  4. You cannot steal your own town’s Maypole. It is forbidden.
  5. The tree must be stolen secretly and undetected.
  6. The tree must not be sawn or damaged.
  7. Violence against guardians must never be applied.When a guardian from the village puts his hand on the tree, he cannot be touched by the thieves.

If violence is used, the police are often switched called, which is always unfavorable for the preservation of the custom.  So basically keep it a clean.

  1. If the thieves within the municipality boundary are surprised at the transport, they must return their prey without a fight. If you are found within the town stealing the Maypole you have to give it back.
  2. Once the Maypole is erected it can no longer be stolen.
  3. Boards and wreaths must not be stolen, only the tree itself. So the decorative attachments must he stay
  4. If the theft was successful, the parties enter into ransom negotiations.No extreme claims may be made.
  5. It is permitted to steal a stolen Maypole back, either from third parties or from the defendants.The rules must also be strictly adhered to.
  6. Traditionally, the Maypole thieves help to erect the trees and help with decorating as well.
  7. If negotiations fail, it is considered additional blessing to those who stole the Maypole.After a few weeks, the Maypole sawn and auctioned.Before that on the “ Schandbaum” or “Shame-Tree,” a panel is often affixed, on which the thieves express their disappointment by mocking.
  8. After reconciliation peace is restored.The tradition of the maypole should be handled in such a way that lawyers are unnecessary.

Let this be a reminder to anyone who might be interested in attempting to steal a Maypole this year….always follow the rules and keep it fun.


Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).