Monthly Archives: October 2009

Prayers and Thoughts for Aunt K.

Most of you probably know by now, but my older sister/Aunt K. was in a serious bicycling accident on Saturday. She is showing continued improvement but has a long road to recovery. We are hopeful that she will fully awaken within the next few days. My younger sister and I have been posting updates to our Facebook statuses, so if you would like to be added there, please let me know.

Here are some pictures of Aunt K. from this past May, when we were hiking in the Ahornboden – I wanted to post them (again) because they are such happy, positive pictures and I want to keep that feeling going.

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Auntie K and Rosebud in the Karwendel

Chicken-Piggie-Cow

Rosebud has been adding more and more words to her spoken vocabulary. In the past few days, she added the word “cow” to her lexicon. She can say piggie, although in this video, she chooses not to.

I have been keeping a list of her words and expressions; she has over 40 different things she can say!

She understands a lot of what we tell her. The other day, I asked her to bring me her “Five Shiny Stars” book, by reciting the first few lines of the book to her. She knew exactly which book I meant, fetched it and gave it to me so I could read the book to her. Smart girl!

The First Snow

A week after our visit to Walchensee, on a warm and gorgeous day, the weather drastically changed and we had our first snow.

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On this morning, Rosebud and I went into the city of Penzberg very early, for she had an appointment to get some vaccinations.

Rosebud was very confused when we woke her up at 6 am, and bundled her up that morning in her winter jacket.

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We took the bus at 6:30 am. The ground was collecting snow, and the trees already looked like they had been dusted in powdered sugar.

Once in Penzberg Rosebud and I had some hot chocolate at a café, and then we walked to her doctor’s office to arrive as soon as it opened. She was very brave at her appointment, and then we caught the bus to return back home. Since she had been to the doctor’s for two shots, I thought it would be nice for us to walk to the bakery around the corner, and get her eine Breze, or Pretzel. In this video, you will see Rosebud all bundled up as we get ready to go for our short walk, and also the first snow falling.

We have had several days of snow since I took this video.

Today was, in fact, a mix of rain and snow all throughout the day. For about half an hour this afternoon, the sun came out and we decided to take a quick walk in our neighborhood before the weather turned again. We put Rosebud in our backpack carrier and walked briskly. We noticed the stark demarcation between snow that had gathered on the trees on the mountain, and where the snow tapered off. As the weeks lead to November, I am sure the snow line will creep down toward our neighborhood.

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Crystal blue waters

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A week and a half ago, we had some gorgeous weather – the sky was clear and we had temperatures in the 70’s. You never know when the weather will turn for the worse here in upper Bavaria, particularly as the fall and winter months approach, so Mia invited Rosebud and me to spend the afternoon at Walchensee, an alpine lake I’ve mentioned and visited several times before. Mia’s brother was also with us. He now lives in the States and was in Germany visiting his sister.

On this particular afternoon, we noticed a lot of cars from Munich – presumably, lots of other people had the same idea we did and wanted to make the best of the fair weather.

Even though I’ve been to Walchensee several times now, I am still impressed by how blue and clear the water is. It reminds me a lot of Lake Tahoe, if you have ever been there. And since the lake is fed by mountain sources, the water is icy cold, even in the middle of summer.

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When we first arrived, we found a picnic table and enjoyed lunch in the sunshine. Rosebud enjoyed toddling around, and even met a little boy about two years old. He kept calling her Julia, and his grandparents explained that he lives next door to a little girl named Julia, who is about the same age as Rosebud. It was very cute to see the two of them walking and circling each other. The little boy and his family didn’t stay too long, unfortunately, for I am sure Rosebud would have enjoyed playing a little more with him. His family spoke some Baierisch (Bavarian), which is always fun for me to hear and attempt to understand.

After that family left, we went down toward the edge of the lake.

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Rosebud, the typical toddler that she is, wanted very much to splash in the shallow water at the edge of the lake. If the water weren’t so cold, I would have gladly walked with her in the water as splashing is one of the world’s greatest activities when you are one-and-a-half years old! I explained how icy-cold the water was, but Rosebud didn’t believe me. She fussed and fussed! So, I took off her shoes and socks, and gently put her in the water – and only then did she realize what I meant when I said the water was freezing. She cried! I quickly picked her up and toweled off her feet and warmed them up. She soon forgot her desire to splash in the water and was content to walk beside the lake, taking special care to crunch all the leaves.

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Here’s a compilation of video clips showing Rosebud walking in the lake. Mia and her brother, Daniel, are also in the video. I was able to get some of the fantastic mountainous background in the second half of the video, to give you a feel for just how beautiful the Walchensee really is. I don’t think I could ever get tired of this natural beauty.

Nein, nein, nein, nein, nein!

Rosebud is speaking more and more each day. I’m amazed at how quickly she is picking up new vocabulary and how well she pronounces most words. She does have some sentences and words that only I understand!

We were at a friend’s 40th birthday party on Saturday. There were lots of kids there for Rosebud to play with, although she was the youngest child there. One five-year-old boy kept saying “nein” when she tried to play with some toys he wanted. In response, she kept saying to him, “nein nein nein nein nein!” Even though this is the only word I’ve heard her say in German, she definitely understands and knows what it means.

At the end of October, Rosebud and I will spend the weekend in France. Although David would very much like to come with us, he has some work he will need to finish that weekend. I will be visiting with my friend Claire, who came to visit us in July. I wrote a little bit about Claire in this post about Garmisch-Partenkirchen. This reminds me, I have yet to write about the trip we took to Kochel/Mittenwald with Claire and Estelle, and also our visit to Chiemsee.

Rosebud and I leave for France on Thursday the 29th of October. We’ll travel to Basel, which I recently learned is called Bâle in French. Then we will meet with Claire’s parents and spend the night with them in their gorgeous little village in the Jura region of France; and after that, we will be near Montbéliard/Belfort with Claire. Then we will return home on the 2nd of November. I can’t tell you how excited I am to visit with my friend and her family, and to return to eastern France. Most people don’t know about the Jura mountains and that part of France. It’s absolutely stunning and an outdoor lover’s paradise. Many of you probably have heard of the French painter Gustave Courbet, who is from the town of Ornans which is in the Jura region.

This painting, called The Torrent, shows a stream in the Jura mountains, to give you an idea of what the region looks like.

painted by Gustave Courbet, in the Jura mountain region, France

painted by Gustave Courbet, in the Jura mountain region, France

While in France, we will celebrate Claire’s 30th birthday. I am so happy that I will be included in the festivities with her family and will get to see nearly everyone. When I was an undergraduate student studying abroad in Besançon, in 1997-1998, I met Claire through the university orchestra, in the viola section. Her family took me under their wings, so to speak, and since then I have thought of them like my “French family”. They really remind me of my family in many ways, especially since they love music so much. Claire’s parents have met my older sister when she visited me in France, and they’ve also met David when we went on vacation. And now, they will get to meet our daughter Rosebud. I am really looking forward to it.

We have also bought our plane tickets to travel back to the US for the holidays. Before we return home, however, we will be spending the weekend of December 18th in London with some friends who live near London. It turns out that flying from London to Indiana, and buying a separate flight from Munich to London, is less expensive. Those of you who plan on visiting us might want to keep that information handy!

I am excited about our upcoming trips. It’s always fun to travel. 🙂

In other news, we are getting a rain-snow mix this evening, and expect several snowy days later this week. We’ve had a beautiful fall, so I can’t complain. Snow at this time of year in southern Germany isn’t unusual, but generally it doesn’t stay around very long until later in the season.

Up, up we go!

I believe I have fixed the map links so you can see where we hiked.

Saturday was a holiday here in German, the Tag der deutschen Einheit – German Unity Day. Because of the holiday, all businesses were closed. Luckily the weather has been perfect for hiking. Yesterday we did a little hike around the town of Ramsau.

This hike had some smaller hills, but mostly we walked through rolling pastures and along a farm path for much of the way. We saw lots of cows and also went past the small farming community of Hub and past a little chapel on a hill, called the Antoniuskapelle. I would have liked to see the little chapel but we weren’t sure how to get to it.

Today, we did a more mountainous trek:

View Hike 4 Oct 09 in a larger map.

Here’s the view of the terrain; it looks like we climbed up approximately 200 meters, or 650 feet in altitude.

View Hike 4 Oct 09 in a larger map.

We certainly felt it as we climbed up and up into the foothills, just south of our house. The trail we hiked went along a stream bed. The stream is called the Loisach, I believe, but I’m not positive about that. I will need to look on the local map to see if the stream we followed is listed.

Here is a short video of our hike, featuring the do-do-do song by Rosebud:

and also some photographs. The photos I took with our video camera, so they aren’t the best quality, but it gives you an idea of the terrain.

Mushroom, about eight inches in diameter

Mushroom, about eight inches in diameter

Happy hikers!

Happy hikers!

Wir gehen wandern!  I'm wearing my 2008-2009 HSE Deutschklub sweatshirt.

Wir gehen wandern! I'm wearing my 2008-2009 HSE Deutschklub sweatshirt.

David

David

small waterfall

small waterfall

Mama and Rosebud sitting by another waterfall

Mama and Rosebud sitting by another waterfall

David by the waterfall

David by the waterfall

side view of the waterfall

side view of the waterfall

grassy bank by the stream

grassy bank by the stream

path toward Bichl

path toward Bichl

Toward the end of our hike (after about an hour and a half of climbing up), we came upon this massive pile of root vegetables. It was kind of weird, that there was this huge pile all the way up the mountain. Who put them there, and why?

giant mutant Bavarian root vegetables!

giant mutant Bavarian root vegetables!

By this time, it was getting darker and cooler, and we were hungry! We decided to turn around and go down the Zwieselhangweg. This brought us back to the main road going through our town, and eventually close to our local Biergarten, the Bierhäusel Haus. This Biergarten is currently run by a Hungarian family. Not only do they serve delicious German food, but also very tasty Hungarian specialties. David tried the Hungarian Gulaschsuppe (Goulash soup) and also ordered a platter of spicy salami slices, with fresh tomato, bell pepper and onion slices, and bread. I order the classic pork Wienerschnitzel. Traditionally, it’s made with a veal cutlet, but it is more common to find it with a pork cutlet as it’s less expensive. I had a salad and Bratkartoffel (pan-fried potatoes) with my Schnitzel. Rosebud was enthusiastic about helping me eat my dinner. And, of course, we each had a cold, refreshing glass of Tegernsee beer to accompany our meal.

It was a fantastic weekend. I do love living here, because it almost feels like I’m living in a National park. How many other places in the world would you have at least a dozen different hikes right from your doorstep, on the rim of the Alps? I am eager for when our family and friends come visit, so we can share the bounty of the natural region with them.