As usual, the snow did not come at Christmas. But last night, it came.
As usual, the snow did not come at Christmas. But last night, it came.
Nymphenburg Palace was the summer residence of Bavaria’s rulers, the Wittelsbacher family. The gardens, which are largely woodlands, are enormous and contain, in fact, five palaces, one big one and four teensy ones. Well worth a visit if you happen to be in Munich with an afternoon to spare and a hankering for a dose of nature.
I had a delicious plum crumble, but wolfed it down too fast to take a photo…
“I want to go to the museum.” Those were the words I never thought I’d hear. Ever. Not from the mouth of my brother. But he said them. And off to the museum we went. To the Deutsches Museum in Munich, to be exact, whose ample bowels are a splendid repository of science and technology paraphernalia. Germany has come up with quite a lot of this stuff over the years.
I won’t bore you with the fascinating details of the various exhibits (not being sarcastic for once, I love all that stuff!) – my photo hunt was rather aimed at the quirky side of things.
Or these windows reflecting a building site:
Some rooftop views:
I shall leave you with some famous last words (as displayed on a wall behind the knitted coral reef):
Nine hours on public transport. My heart sank when the Deutsche Bahn lady printed out our itinerary replete with bus and train changes. This had been my Mum’s idea, this trip to Burghausen, an end-of-train-line town near the Austrian border, overlooked by “The world’s longest castle”. The world’s longest schlep more like.
In the end, despite all the platform hopping, it turned into a great day out.
Inside the castle complex:
A few pictures of the town of Burghausen:
No cake. There was an ice cream… but the forces of greed got the better of me on this occasion and pulled my fingers faster towards the spoon than to the click button.
Today’s plan already seemed like the perfect plan: A cake outing, preceded by a walk through the woods around a local lake. But little did we know that there had been an invasion of the weird and wonderful:
Everyone knows that Germans have a set of rules for everything. And if there’s no official rule consecrated by some recognised authority, then you will usually find detailed “suggestions” not only on HOW to do something, but also WHY.
I spotted this little gem on the notice board in the block of flats where my mother lives, right next to the Hausordnung (house rules):
The drying of laundry in the basement leads to high air humidity.
This, in turn, causes already semi-dry items of clothing to re-absorb moisture as well as any newly pegged-out washing to dry more slowly.
For this reason we would like ask you, during times of high humidity (i.e. when a lot of washing has been hung out to dry), to open the windows in the drying room for a short duration of time in order to allow the air to circulate.
Please do not forget to close the window again afterwards.
If only the Kyoto Agreement had been drafted by my mother’s landlords, it would never have failed…
Here’s another example of instructive cajoling, fresh from my village green, aimed at the pooch-owning general public:
What gets me is the utterly redundant “just in case… for now or for later”. I mean, not even German German shepherd dogs plant their malodorous pine cones like clockwork every day at the same hour in the same spot. So, if you’re walking your four-legged poop machine and you ain’t got a poop bag and you see a poop bag dispenser, you’d know what to do, right?
I suspect that the company was so proud of its word play, that it just had to get it out there. Let me explain: The word “Fall” in the idiomatic expression Im Falle eines Falles (= just in case, or, literally “in the case of a case”) has another meaning: fall/drop. So, in case something happens to…erm… drop from your dog unexpectedly… ah haha… ha.
As you can tell, I didn’t have to go very far to find both of these examples. They are everywhere. But WHY?! Do Germans really think that their fellow human beings are not smart enough to work these things out for themselves? Or do they just enjoy being patronising?
I think the issue is two-fold. First of all, Germans are, on the whole, a bunch of pragmatic realists. As such, they accept that about a tenth of the populace consists of morons. What Germans do not accept, however, is that those 10% are let off the hook on account of being dimwitted. Therefore, they resort to stating the bleedin’ obvious. On every noticeboard, on every street corner.
The other reason is linked to their compulsive drawing up of rules for everything. Rules have to be pretty watertight, not only for the benefit of the cretins, but also for the 10% situated at the opposite end of the spectrum, namely the very special breed of German Smart Arse (“Klugscheisser”). If a German Smart Arse flouts a rule, their first recourse is to poke their sausage finger at an omission or ambiguity in the rules.
This gives rise to the need for detailled written instructions for even the most common-sense behaviours meant to ease communal living. It’s the German way of creating social pressure for a special sub-species of the German Smart Arse, aka the Lazy Arse Klugscheisser, by obliterating their first line of defence, which usually goes something like this: “Wo steht das?!” (Where does it say that?!).
[For some more Germanalysis, see this post: The German National Character Explained in Three Culturally Loaded Phrases ]
There’s people walking about wearing T-shirts. And cycling in shorts. In Bavaria. In late December. Outside!
It smells like autumn. But it feels just like spring. Even the bees are busy, but busy with what…? Flowers are far and few between. Plant life is dormant. Or trying to be. The poor buzzy blighters can’t sleep – it’s too hot to hibernate.
This non-winter is a tricky situation not just for them, but also for faux photographers like me. Bavaria is pretty in the snow. In absence of a powdery white blanket beautifying the season’s barrenness, there’s usually at least an early morning dusting of frost gracing the trees, making them sparkle in the sunshine.
But this year, with temperatures persistently well above zero, everything is brown and (brownish) green. The gently rolling countryside, though easy on the eye when you’re standing in it, turns into nothing-to-write-home-about snaps of muddy fields and dead bristly bits. And my camera is way too crappy to capture the faint silhouettes of the snow-capped Alps towering above the landscape in the far distance, like ghostly dinosaurs.
I had to re-think my strategy. So, here it is: Big skies, small details, textures and splashes of colour where I could find them. And trying not to get myself arrested while loitering around people’s garden fences.
And I know you’ve all been waiting for this:
Some of you may remember that last year’s winter-time shots of my tiny little village and surroundings were wildly different:
A stunning white Christmas: https://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2014/12/26/a-white-christmas-after-all/
Followed by an equally dazzling New Year: https://ladyofthecakes.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/a-happy-new-year-from-narnia/
Apparently, there will be snow next week. Am not holding my breath…
Not another lake, I hear you groan. Not the Bavarian Alps AGAIN…! But yes, I’m afraid, I’ve just got to cram one more in before I’m done with this year’s home visit 😉
Tegernsee is another one of these fabulous destinations just an hour from Munich on the train. Although it is most definitely a tourist destination, foreign tourists don’t really know about it, so I’d say that probably 95% of tourists are Germans.
And now, to give your Alps-and-lakes-weary eyes a rest, a couple of shots from a trip we took to Wasserburg, a medieval town in Upper Bavaria, circled by the river Inn.
And to finish off:
Vegetarians of the world please avert your eyes. What follows is pure carnage. Of the most delicious kind. Let’s do the food porn first, and leave the educational bit (I am using that term very loosely) till later, shall we?
What is a Weißwurst, I hear you ask…
Now imagine this potential nightmare scenario: You’re at home, it’s late, you desperately fancy a meaty midnight morsel BUT YOU’VE RUN OUT OF SAUSAGE! If you happen to be living in a semi-rural area like my folks, 24-hour supermarkets or convenience stores are far and few between. What is a desperate sausage-dependent German to do?!?
Well, there is hope: My tiny little village of 700 inhabitants, which only has one restaurant and no shops at all, sports one of these:
By now, you’ll have gotten the point. Germans have a very special relationship with their sausages. Not only are burly bangers ubiquitous in local fast food outlets, butcher’s shops, supermarkets and vending machines, but they have also wormed their way into the common vernacular in the form of countless expressions. Here is a selection:
Picture the scene: There’s a terminal struggle going on. Everything’s at stake. It’s a matter of life and death. This is when, for a German, “es geht um die Wurst” (it’s about the sausage). And that tells you all you need to know about how we feel when it comes to our precious meat products.
I’m quite partial to the (British) phrase “I don’t give a rat’s arse!”. The German equivalent is “das ist mir Wurst!” (It’s sausage to me!). This appears to contradict the aforementioned “es geht um die Wurst”, but it’s really just proof that the sausage is all things to all people. (To all German people, at least.)
Some sad individuals love nothing more than to be offended by anything and everything. These bothersome thin-skinned types are liable to earn themselves the title of “beleidigte Leberwurst” (insulted/offended liver sausage). And while they stomp off in one of their huffs, they might well call the hapless culprit who (probably inadvertently) caused their latest grievance a “Hanswurst” (a buffoon).
When Germans get philosophical about the finiteness of things, they like to point out that “alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei” (Everything has an end, only the sausage has two).
[For those interested in German food-related expressions, you will enjoy this post: How To Be A Hater With German Food Phrases]