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Water Power and Art

June 27, 2009

Written July 8

Friends and Families ,


We didn't let another rainy day stop our exploration of southern Bavaria but we did look for attractions that were, mostly, indoors. As it turned out, we did a nerd-thing for John and an Art-thing for Marianne. First, the nerdy.

The area we were visiting is, of course, filled with mountain lakes. Almost 100 years ago, Oskar von Miller recognized the opportunity to use those lakes to provide electricity to Munich and all of Bavaria, especially the railroads. Between 1918 and 1924, more then 2,000 workers built the Walchensee power plant and 85 years later, it is still a significant contributor to the local power structure.

Our visit started in heavy rain but the walk to the bright and cheery exhibition center wasn't too bad.
Along the way we could see the riveted water pipes coming down from 200 meters (650 feet) above. Just across from the exhibition center, we joined the other tourists to the observation deck above the machine hall. For an engineer, it was fascinating to see these machines spinning almost to their second century. Outside, a spare "Pelton wheel" turbine waited to contribute to the long service.

For the technically curious, Walchensee has eight turbine generators, four each of two basic types. The AEG machines nearest the observation deck are driven by "Francis" turbines and the others utilize "Pelton wheel" turbines, iron water-catchers almost as simple as old, wooden, water mills.


After our exploration of technology, we drove across a small valley to the town of Murnau. Our target here was the Schloßmuseum Murnau and it's exhibition of painters from the early 1900's. A group of painters, including Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter formed in 1908 and split their time between Munich and the Alpine village setting of Murnau.

For our tour, we can offer no photos, but we can assure you that we saw all seven floors of the exhibition. It was an impressive collection I suppose, but a bit too disjointed for my understanding, and featuring too little Kandinsky in favor of too many fellow travelers.

But, that's just one opinion and if you are wandering around the neighborhood, it is certainly worth the stop to form your own opinion.


John and Marianne


Websites: eOn power company: http://www.eon-wasserkraft.com

Schloßmuseum Murnau: http://www.schlossmuseum-murnau.de



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