Tag Archives: Bavaria

Springtime 2011

First, I apologize for neglecting my blog. Often when I have the chance to sit in the afternoon, with Baby Superdude snoozing on my lap, I doze off or find myself busy with other things. Frankly, I don’t always feel like writing even if I have lots of ideas in mind.

Second, we’ve had a lovely spring so far. Last year, it was mostly cold and rainy from the onset of spring, continuing through the summer. This year has been much nicer, and although a few neighbors have said how unusually nice the weather has been, I feel like we’ve earned the nice weather. It’s given me the chance to go outside with Rosebud and Superdude a lot.

Sometimes, when we are ready to come back inside, Rosebud protests. Loudly. And in fact, one of my neighbors even said to me, “I think I heard your daughter the other day. Was she fussing because she didn’t want to come inside?” Fussing was a polite way to put it! And yes, that was my daughter you heard screaming down the street. I always feel bad, dragging Rosebud back inside when she clearly wants to spend more time outside. But when you have a little guy to take care of, sometimes you just have to head back home.

I thought I would share some photos and videos of the children so that everyone can see how much they have grown and changed:

Here’s Superdude, enjoying his baby food luncheon (and a little scenery eating from Rosebud):

I have to say, I love the German baby food, both in terms of quality and variety. It tastes very good. Some of Superdude’s favorites so far are squash-potato which he is eating in this video, peach-banana-millet and fruit-and-quark. Plain mashed bananas, pureed carrots and other such early baby staples rapidly disappear when Superdude is seated at the table. He is, shockingly, almost seven months old and doing very well. I’m enjoying his infancy very much, and will be a little sad once he reaches the toddler stage (but on to bigger and better things).

He has also been discovering his ability to “talk” and make sounds, which is always exciting! I think watching a child gain language is one of my favorite parts of infancy. You’ll even hear him say “mama” in this video:

And hey, look – a slideshow!

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Wiesn – Oktoberfest 2010

Wiesn, which is what Münchners call Oktoberfest, officially started this weekend. It’s the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest this year. Well, technically, this is only the 177th time Oktoberfest has taken place, but as a tradition is started 200 years ago.

Also notable is that for the first time, smoking has been banned from the Oktoberfest tents. Bavarians voted on this law a few months ago, making it the strictest anti-smoking regulation in Germany (there are more aspects to the law, but the most publicity I’ve seen has been in relation to Oktoberfest, probably to let visitors know about the Rauchverbot – no smoking).

Why is Oktoberfest called Wiesn? Wiesn is a Bavarian word for “field” because the first Oktoberfest in 1810 was held in the Theresienwiesen – Theresa field – as part of the wedding festivities for Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Theresa.

One of my friends asked me this about Oktoberfest:
“Do many people were traditional costumes?”

Absolutely – but here in Bavaria, especially where we live, it’s not at all unusual to see the locals wearing their traditional Bavarian clothing (Dirndls for the women, Lederhosen for the men) during the year. Of course, people who work at the festival tend to dress up in their traditional clothing, and many people who visit the festival do, as well. Before the festival gets underway, many of the shops and department stores in Munich offer Trachten (the costumes) and have displays in their storefront windows.

Here’s a fun factoid about Dirndls:
Buas (boys), if you’re looking for a Madl (girl) at Oktoberfest, pay attention to how a lady has tied the bow on her apron. If the bow is tied on the left, then she is available (“Schleife links, Glück bringt’s! ” – Bow on the left brings you good luck!). To the right, then sorry, she is taken (likely married). In the middle means the Madl you have your eye on is perhaps unsure of her status.

If you’re looking for tips on finding the perfect Dirndl for celebrating Oktoberfest, this article has some good suggestions such as: choose cotton because you can just throw it in the wash, don’t have a floor-length Dirndl because it will get dirty and anyway, the Kerls (guys) appreciate a bit of leg. 😉

For those of you who are German speakers, you can learn some Baierisch (Bavarian) words you might hear at the Oktoberfest in this little online Oktoberfest Lexicon. Or if you prefer, check out what the Wiesn Horoscope has in store for you!

For German news about Oktoberfest, you can read articles online here:
Oktoberfest-2010

Because baby Budlet is due to arrive any day now, we won’t be going to the festival this year, but how fun that we will have an Oktoberfest baby!

Vogelherd

Our little friend Christofer had his first birthday party, and friends of his and ours hosted the party at their Bavarian home in Vogelherd. The property is both stunning and inspirational. We all had a wonderful time, especially our little girls. They liked playing in the sandpit and running through the field. Rosebud got quite soaked but didn’t seem to mind, and I am incredibly grateful to my friend Veronika who lent us plenty of extra clothing! Next time, I will be prepared. I packed extra shirts and jackets, but for some reason, forgot extra pants and socks.

After tea time for Christofer’s birthday, we later had a cook-out and simply enjoyed being with everyone. I’ve mentioned before that one of my pregnancy cravings has been sauerkraut; I was quite lucky that the lady of the house made a fabulous homemade sauerkraut. I ate lots, and then she was pleased to send some of the leftovers home with me. Yum, yum! I am hoping she’ll share her recipe with me.

Photos from our evening at Vogelherd:

View from Vogelherd; the Benediktenwand mountains are to the left, and the Herzogstand is in the center.

Here’s the birthday boy!

Wurscht! It’s Wurscht!

Or, as Sean Connery as James Bond might be inclined to say, “Well, ish that the worsht you could do?”

My friend Veronika, who generously and eagerly answers all my questions about Bavaria and Bavarians (thank you, Veronika!) has set me straight: the expression “Das ist mir Wurscht!” is, first of all, a Bavarian expression. And secondly, it MUST be the Bavarian word Wurscht. Not Wurst. As she explained it (and I LOVE this explanation), if someone says Wurst as opposed to Wurscht, it sounds silly and clearly marks them as living north of the “so-called Weisswurst Equator”. It would be like a Yankee trying to sound like a Southerner in the US, I think. That there is a so-called Weisswurst-Äquator just thrills me!

I also found this blog post about Mett and how delicious it really is; this is a lovely little account of someone trying it for the first time:
Blood Sausages and Raw Meat. Barbaric!

And finally, there’s a Currywurst museum in Berlin that I so need to visit someday:
Currywurstmuseum (click on the English flag to read about it in English)

My friend Emilia, also a student of the culture and fluent in the language, reminded me that Currywurst was, in fact, invented by Germans. The cities of Hamburg and Berlin both claim provenance of creating the Currywurst. My bet is on Berlin and Frau Herta Heuwer who first served it at her stand in 1949, according to Wikipedia. Hamburg claims to have first served it in 1947 at a stand in Großneumarkt, but I’m more inclined to believe it was Frau Heuwer who invented the Currywurst (much to the chagrin of my Hamburger friends, I’m sure).

And finally, a song about Currywurst, by well-known German pop singer Herbert Grönemeyer (who, by the way, played a war correspondent in the film Das Boot):

Currywurst

gehse inne stadt
wat macht dich da satt
‘ne currywurst

kommse vonne schicht
wat schönret gibt et nich
als wie currywurst

mit pommes dabei
ach, dann gebense gleich zweimal currywurst

bisse richtig down
brauchse wat zu kaun
‘ne currywurst

willi, komm geh mit
ich krieg appetit
auf currywurst

ich brauch wat in bauch
für mein schwager hier auch noch ne currywurst

willi, is dat schön
wie wir zwei hier stehn
mit currywurst

willi, wat is mit dir
trinkse noch n’ bier
zur currywurst

ker scharf is die wurst
mensch dat gibt’n durst, die currywurst

bisse dann richtig blau
wird dir ganz schön flau
von currywurst

rutscht dat ding dir aus
gehse dann nach haus
coll currywurst

aufm hemd auffer jacke
ker wat ist dat ne k…. alles voll currywurst

komm willi
bitte, bitte, komm geh mit nach hause
hörma ich kriegse wenn ich so nach hause komm
willi, willi, bitte, du bisn kerl nach mein geschmack
willi, willi komm geh mit, bitte willi

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 Würzburg 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

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.