Kempten in the Allgaeu

old latin name: Cambodunum

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Just in the middle of one of our most lovely recreation areas in Bavaria, the Allgaeu, you will find the town Kempten. It is an over 2000 years old center of that region. A town, worth to visit in a one-day-trip, to stay there longer for vacation and from where a lot of roads are going to Austria, Switzerland or even Italia.

You can reach the Town Kempten by train, it is a regional knot-point, or by car. One highway, the A 7 from Wuerzburg-Ulm-Fuessen is direct connected, another highway, the A 96 from Munich to Lindau, is not far away. The distance Munich-Kempten is about 180 km/120 miles and in nearly two hours to make.

International and regional food will satisfy every taste, a well known speciality are the "Allgaeuer Kaesspatzen". This is a meal from noodles baken with regional cheese and onions. You have to try! By the way, cheese and milk products out of that region are worldwide known, surely you have heard sometimes from "origininal Allgaeuer cheese". The town Kempten is the center of milk digestion, that's why in Kempten the "stockmarket for south German milk and cheese" is placed. But you can also find a lot of electronical engineering, machine manufactures and other products, send all over the world from that town.

A one-day-trip to Kempten will be nearly to short for discovering all the hidden jewels in it. Especially in summertime a lot of nice places invite to stay, have a good meal and get in touch with the inhabitants. Musical and cultural events in the original old buildings like the "Residenz" or the "St.-Lorenz-Basilika" are delicious for eye and mind.

If you decide to stay some days for vacation, there are enough choice quality accommodations. From the Town Kempten you can start to a lot of nice places for visit, to the Bavarian castles like Neuschwanstein, the lovely island Mainau in the Bodensee/Lake Constance or the mountains. In Winter the whole region is a paradise for winter sports, each level has his chance.

A little bit history of Kempten

A long time before the christian calender starts this area was settled by the Celtics. The first written historical documentation about that town was made by an Greece geographer named Strabon in the year 18. He wrote about the town "Cambodunum", conquered by the Romans 15 years before Jesus Christ, in that time named as the Celtic "Polis".

A lot of relicts were found from these times and the archaeologist are still discovering more and more. People can visit a part of the old Roman village. The picture show a statue of Herkules.

Because Kempten was since founding a regional center it had a lot of visitors from all European tribes, in earlier times mostly not peaceful. Even russian troups were staying in the town as Europe was fighting against Napoleon from France.

The monastery of Kempten was the first one in the region, it was founded in the year 752. The Town Kempten had from 1289 till 1803 the status of a "free imperial city". After that the town belongs to the State of Bavaria. More and surely interesting informations can get by a visit or if you contact the homepage of Stadt Kempten direct.

I found a legend from one orphan from Kempten I will tell you now because his footprints you can always see if you pass over the Arlberg pass to Austria:

Henry, the poor orphan from Kempten

In olden times, several hundred years ago, there was a man named M a y r in Kempten. This guy was very busy and devout, was liked by his ruler and his moneybag was always full. He had nine sons, but one morning he finds another boy at his door, an orphan somebody left in the hope he would help that poor worm. His wife was not thrilled by this, but he took him as his own and everything was fine.

But, he was standing surety for a friend of his and that was his fall. This friend was unlucky in business, was wiped out and our Mayr has to pay for all of it. So he also lost everything, became an enemy of humans, and started to hit all of his children until they ran away. The little orphan, Henry was his name, was afraid for his life and running away too, when some priests found him on the street as they were walking to Roma. They consoled him, gave him food and took him with them. After they had travelled the mountain passage called Arlberg, they stopped at a castle nearby.

The knight living there was a rough man but with a soft heart and belief in God. He gave the priests food and money for the long travel and asked about the child. They told him the story of poor Henry and the knight offered him to stay and watch his pigs for money. The young orphan agreed and so he had a new home, was proper, worked well and earned two dollars a year. Once or twice each month the knight visited the church and poor Henry from Kempten liked it too.

As you know, most of the castles are on hills or mountains, so was the castle where Henry lived now. Several times in winter,as they were coming downhill from the castle to the church in the valley church, they saw bodies of dead pilgrims who had lost their way in snow and storm. And our poor orphan Henry, remembering his own fate, was very sad about that.

Henry had, in the ten years of working for that knight, only spent five dollars totally and had left fifteen from his money. So one day after church he talked to the other visitors and asked if they would take his fifteen dollars to begin help these poor pilgrims survive the mountain pass in winter. But, you know how people are, they laughed about him and nobody wanted to help him. So he pray to the Lord and Saint Christopherus and tried it alone by himself. With their mighty assistance, Henry, the orphan from Kempten, saved seven lifes the first winter and fifty the next. Based on this he founded the brotherhood of Saint Christopherus on the Arlberg Pass and went to all rulers in the region to beg for supplies and money.

The dukes and church princes of Salzburg, Augsburg, Wuerzburg (there too many to name them all) saw the good sense of that brave poor man and helped him with money and supplies. The Duke Leopold of Austria, he had the honourable name The Proud One, gave order to all his soldiers and captains to safe Henry the orphan of Kempten, and to help him build a house on the mountain Arlberg for the lifesafing of people. And so thousands of people were saved during the winters and this important mountain passage was secured for pilgrims and traders.

(Thanks a lot for the corrections, dear Anya, it sounds really better)

Script by J.W.Lohfink, for any mistakes in spell or grammar I apologize as a precaution, corrections, questions or comments please mail to me.

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