11 February 2000
on august 10th of last year we arrived in germany and were met by our friend, britta, and others, 16 hours after getting up the previous morning in seattle. they drove us partially across germany, 4 hours or so, into bavaria, and to a villiage outside munich. at this time i almost had a nervous breakdown from lack of sleep and culture shock. i was completely overwhelmed and exhausted. we spent that night with some people in an apartment in munich. the following day we met up with our other friend, sonja, and her friend, lisi, who had both just flown in from the states after a much more miserable travel time than ours. lisi immediately undertook the project of finding a place for us to view the eclipse. she was as passionate about it as mrk. and i were, maybe more even, if that was possible! i wrote about the rest of that day 6 months ago.
on february 11th we rode with a roommate of britta's to munich from bonn. it took us about 6.5 hours. we went to the same apartment we stayed at six months earler. there, once again, we met lisi. this time she had no troubles arriving! the three of us left, and after a short sightseeing drive around munich, she took us to her home in rosenheim, southeast of munich. this time we rode comfortably and relaxed across germany and into a bavarian town (much larger than a villiage.) much different from our previous visit. germany now feels much like home to us, bavaria included.
the rest of germany makes fun of bavaria. the dialect is quite different and much of the old traditions are retained here. in the u.s. when we think of oktoberfest in germany, we are thinking of bavaria. i have found as we have been in upper bavaria in the last week that it is amazing how much of the bavarian villiage stereotype remains true to life. i don't mean that people still run around in lederhosen, wearing little green hats with feathers in them (not that we haven't seen these traditional costumes here.) i mean that the isolated villiages in the rolling hills and buildings with detailed woodwork on the roofs and balconies and paintings on the outer walls, actually do exist. this, to me, is romantic europe. it is a bit unreal feeling. it is definitely hard to imagine modern life here, despite the fact that people do live here and they live in the current times.
we have been staying in lisi's cozy apartment. we have had three days of being shown the area. lisi took us hiking in the foothills of the alps, showing us some beautiful views and sights along the way. she has told us about the geological history of the area and has shown us the relicts of the last ice age here. there are many lakes left over from the receding glaciers and one day we went to a couple of islands in one of these lakes, one with a palace built by 'crazy' king ludwig II in the style of the palace of versailles. the landscape here is beautiful and a little like home for us with the mountains always in the background. the weather has been a bit like home too, light rain and clouds. needless to say, we have been thoroughly enjoying it.
one day lisi's father drove us to a small town called wasserburg. wasserburg is an old town built in a tight curve of the inn river. it is almost surrounded by the river. the town thrived on shipping goods up and down the river for hundreds of years. there is only a thin bit of land that connects the town and one single bridge. entering via the bridge and wandering the town, it is not hard to imagine life here 500 years ago. most of the buildings were built 400 to 550 years ago. there is a castle and a cathedral that is hugely out of scale with the town. this was obviously a prospering, busy place. visiting wasserburg was almost like walking back in time. now the river has dams and most transport is done by train or truck, so wasserburg relies mostly on tourism i think. despite this, it doesn't have a strong touristy feel, just a little bit. we were fortunate enough to have a wonderful tour guide, herr negwer (lisi's dad), who told us about the history of the place and showed us the most significant places. it was great!
since then we have had lots of time to relax and time to see the cities and castles. it has been snowing off and on and even stuck one night. we have loved the weather. lisi has been a wonderful host to us and kept extending her invitation. we have stayed about twice as long as originally intended and we have had a great time. (she has a group of friends who like to get together and have games nights like mrk. and i like to, so we have been loving staying with someone who also likes to play games as a pasttime!) she has even been encouraging us in our german language skills, much to our pleasure!
i hope to get time soon to write about the wonderful times we have had in munich and the day we went to see the famous fairytale-like castle in the alps, neuschwanstein. (the views of the alps were much more interesting to us that the fabricated castle, as i'm sure you are not surprised to hear, coming from me!) in any case, i know i will get to write about more adventures eventually!
in a couple of days a good friend of ours, dano, is arriving from the states to
spend 10 days travelling and playing with us in europe! carnival, the
equivalent of mardi gras, is big in the area around bonn and the three of us
will be involved in that until dano leaves. then we are hopefully off to the
© Copyright Cheryln Crowl 2000