Bavaria has been very good to me. I went with Lindsay and Roland to Roland's family's house in Pfarrkkirchin, where they treated us like gold and were very committed to giving me the True Bavarian Experience. Saturday morning started off with family breakfast, and Lindsay and I went for a big walk through the countryside, where Roland's family has lived for generations; extended family have homes just minutes of walking from each other. We walked through the woods that Max, Roland's dad, grows the wood for is carpentry shop, and saw the pond where they catch fish in the summer.
germany part two: weekend in pfarrkirchin.
Saturday evening, we went to the local Folks Fest, aka beer fest, to watch the champion's league final (which turned out to be a big deal in case you weren't in the know). We were decked out in dirndl and lederhosen, and we cheered on the "Weiss Queen" competition. America has beauty pageants, Germany has beer pouring pageants.
I've never heard a crowd like the beer tent when Munich won the championship (obviously nothing exciting was happening when this photo was taken). People went nuts and were screaming and singing and chanting for hours. The festival gave away free beer for thirty minutes. It was intense.
Sunday morning we had breakfast on the terrace and the Kapsreiter's made us white sausage and pretzels, and Max poured me a beer for breakfast. He was very adamant that I have a "proper" Bavarian breakfast before I left.
Lindsay and I headed to Dachau for the day to see the concentration camp there. It was one of the longest running camps in Germany, running for almost all of the twelve years of the Nazi regime. There were more than 30 000 who were imprisoned at Dachau, and while it wasn't known as a death camp as Auschwitz was, it was brutal nonetheless, and a lot of medical testing was done on the prisoners, including testing which organs shut down first when one gets hypothermia, or what happens when one only drinks salt water. There was an exhibit on the political and economical environments of the time that helped the Nazis gain power, and it was crazy to read all of the Propaganda, including news articles of journalists who were invited to visit the camps, and during their visits the camp would be staged as a pleasant place to work, complete with an orchestra playing in the courtyard. Of course the question is always "how can humankind bring themselves to inflict such ugliness on each other", and it was a somber and humbling day.
We took the train back in to Munich and met my longtime family friend Kara for a drink. So funny to meet half way across the world for the quickest catch up ever! Kara just uprooted and took her dream job in the city a little over a month ago and it was so nice to see her.
This morning Roland and Lindsay were kind enough to drive me to the airport on their way to Italy (road trip to the Cinque Terre, not bad, hey?) and now I head to England for two days before I say goodbye to Europe. Bavaria won me over with delicious food, great company, the most beautiful people and endless entertainment trying to read any and all the signs, flyers and posters I could see. I feel like I've been gone forever and in the same breath gone for a blink. That's the usual song and dance of these things, isn't it.