Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Shelby Family visits the Bowmans in Bavaria!

In early December, my friend Shelby, her husband Kevin and her son Theo came to visit us as part of their vacation. We had the best time together, especially because we were able to talk about Mom stuff and share tips on parenting. We have a similar parenting style, too. That was one of the best parts about the visit, because Rosebud and Theo were able to play together and we were able to really enjoy each other’s company.

Shelby’s son Theo is what the Germans call a “Christkind” – a Christmas child, as his birthday is on Christmas Eve. He’s not that much younger than Rosebud, although he is a lot bigger! The first time I picked him up, I almost fell over; the first time Shelby picked up Rosebud, she says she felt like she almost threw Rosebud as she is so much lighter than Theo. ūüôā

On our first day, we went to Schloss Linderhof, one of King Ludwig’s castles. It is the closest of the King Ludwig castles to our house. I conveniently ordered some snow for Shelby, Kevin and Theo.

Rosebud and Theo asleep in the car

near Schloss Linderhof, a winter wonderland

Rosebud plays in the snow and slush outside the castle

snow-covered Schloss Linderhof gardens

Handsome Theo, waiting to go in the castle

Schloss Linderhof was designed to resemble Versailles palace in France, as King Ludwig was a fan of King Louis XIV, the Sun King. It’s a small castle, and in terms of its size, feels more like an over-decorated country manor. But it is impressive and quite beautiful. Both Rosebud and Theo discovered that their voices carried well in the castle rooms, so they entertained themselves by listening to their voices.

After our visit to the castle, we had a bite to eat in a café. Rosebud had a grand old time drinking hot chocolate with a spoon. The hot chocolate was all over her bib and shirt, and she was very pleased with herself.

Gratuitous Theo photo:

Nom nom nom!

The next day, we went to the Zugspitze, which is the highest peak in Germany. The Zugspitze is outside of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. To get to the top of the peak, we took the cog train. Especially during the skiing season, the Zugspitze is mainly accessed by skiers, although visitors can make reservations for an overnight stay in an Igloo hotel. Other activities include a kid’s skiing area, snowshoeing and during other times of the year, hiking.

The tickets up to the ski center near the peak are not cheap, but the ride up in the cog train was really neat. As it was late in the day – in fact, the last train up to the top – we were the only people in the train car. This worked out well because Rosebud walked up and down the car. I followed close behind, holding on to her shoulder, as we were at a fairly steep angle. Rosebud thought that walking uphill and downhill was pretty great.

Shelby, Theo and Kevin in the cog train car, going up to the Zugspitze

Kevin holds Theo so he can see the snow-covered trees on the mountain

It took about 40 minutes, maybe a little longer, to reach the ski chalet at the top. We didn’t stay outside very long with the children, as it was bitterly cold. Kevin and I took turns to take photos and watch the kids. Braving the frigid temperatures was definitely worth the stunning views:

The Zugspitze

The ski chalet at the top of the Zugspitze, at an altitude of 2600 meters

The sun sets on the Zugspitze

On our last day together, we drove to Salzburg which is about an hour and a half from our house. Salzburg has a charming Altstadt, or old city quarter where we spent most of our time. It was another bitterly cold day, so we all bundled up. As we wandered around, we found a lovely Christkindlmarkt, also called a Weihnachtsmarkt, or Christmas market. I liked this one much better than the one in Munich, as most of the items were hand-made and local.

Shelby and Kevin at a Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg

Cozy, napping Theo

A view of the Altstadt and Christkindlmarkt

The cathedral and view of the fortress from the Christmas market

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Shelby, Kevin and Theo; I only wish we could have spent more time together.

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A year in Bavaria (2009)

A year ago on January 23rd, we arrived in the Munich airport and began our new life in Bavaria. I’ll never forget our first glimpse of our new home in the winter – it had just snowed, and the trees looked like they had been topped with marshmallows. We settled in an apartment at the Berggeist hotel in Penzberg, and I remember it took a good two weeks before Rosebud and I adjusted to the time change.

And here we are, settled in our house and comfortable in our new life. It’s amazing to me that a year has already gone by, and what a wonderful year it has been! We’ve explored our little corner of upper Bavaria and enjoyed all the hiking outdoors. What I enjoy the most about living here, I think, is taking part in the local culture, which includes the hiking. Germans have a special word, Wanderlust, which is the desire to travel and explore the world. I include hiking in that definition! One of the huge advantages to living where we do is living relatively close to all these amazing travel destinations.

Other highlights of the year have included:
moving into our house in February
Aunt Karen’s visit in May, which included a vacation in Salzburg and Vienna, and also mountain hiking in Eng, Austria
our travel to the States in June for Aunt Ro’s wedding and also my college reunion and visiting with friends and family
Claire and Estelle’s visit in July
our travel to France to visit Claire at the end of October
Shelby, Kevin and Theo’s visit in early December
a mini vacation in London, shortly before Christmas, spend with Libby and Steph
travel to the States for Christmas and New Year’s

I think this next year will go by just as quickly, and I’m sure it is equally full of wonderful adventures to come. We know already that the Bowman side of our family will visit, and one of my college friends plans to visit us, too. As a family, we hope to travel in northern Italy and we also would like to return to the UK to visit with our friends. We’d like to be back in the US for Christmas as well.

Winterwalk

Happy New Year to all of you, or as they say in German, “einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr” – the idea is, have a good “slide” into the New Year. I think the idea behind it is “May your entrance to the new year be a smooth one.” I apologize for not updating during the month of December, but between wonderful visits with friends, the holidays and travel to the States and back home to Germany, we have been plenty busy.

For those of you who have been curious about my older sister, she is doing really well. We had a great visit with her and as you might imagine, it was very comforting for me to be with her. Each day, she was more and more like her old self. Sometimes she has difficulties with her short-term memory, but I think this will improve with time. Perhaps her biggest challenge at the moment is her vision, which isn’t that good. The doctors are going to see how much her eyes can heal on their own, and then will determine whether she will need surgery.

It is really good to be back home in our little town in upper Bavaria. While in the States, I missed our little bakery with the fresh pretzels and breads. I missed our house and the cats, speaking German and the mountains. Before we left Indianapolis, we were finally able to ship our car. It should be arriving the first part of February, at the port city of Bremerhaven. Once we know when the car will arrive, we will take the train (probably overnight) up to Bremerhaven and then drive back home. It’s almost as far as you can go from one end of the country to the other, and could take between 8 and 9 hours. We will probably divide the trip in half, and of course it also depends on the weather. The cities of Kassel and W√ľrzburg are roughly in the middle of our drive, so perhaps we will visit one of the them.

Yesterday, the sun came out so I bundled up Rosebud and myself. We went on a lovely Winterspaziergang, or Winterwalk, through our town. It looks so different and so beautiful under the fluffy white snow.

The Tölzerstrasse, toward Bad Tölz

The Tölzerstrasse, toward the middle of Bad Heilbrunn

Rosebud is dubious of her mittens.

The park in Bad Heilbrunn, looking south toward the snow-covered mountains

Another view of the park, with Bavarian houses peeking over the hill