Ah Bavaria, how I love thee!
31.05.2014 - 31.05.2014 68 °F
May 31st, 2014
Run! Where is the platform? We aren't going to make it! Run run run! Kindra got us to our train with not 2 minutes to spare. Holy goulash that was so close. Thank goodness Kindra lives here or we never would have made it. Off we go as Kindra runs along the train waving to us and blowing kisses. Today's journey takes us out of the Cveck Republic and back into Germany. We plan to visit Anna today in the little town of Landshut ( Lawn-suit). I have some pretty strong feelings about going to Germany that I did not anticipate.
Grandma Ola is full blooded German. I have been told by many people in the countries I have visited that of all the countries, I look like I am German. I feel a sense of pride to be visiting this country. I also feel more at ease than usual thinking that I will finally LOOK like a local, as if I could have been born here. I have a very warm spot in my heart for this land, and feeling this way was surprising to me.
We arrived in Landshut with no way to contact Anna. This is very typical of our travels. Seek out wi-fi. My first impressions of Landshut were not good. The train station is on the outskirts of town and the buildings were much more modern than I expected. Not modern like up to date, modern like driving down Seltice between Spokane street and Idaho street. Maybe I mean to say, American feeling. It did not feel like Germany. We finally found free internet if I stood on my tiptoes, in front of a church where there happened to be a wedding taking place. Anna responded to my message and took off to find us. She might be the nicest person on the planet. When she arrived and we said hi, she insisted on taking Nicole's backpack from her while we walked to her flat. When we arrived she continued her amazing hospitality. Food, drink, rest, whatever we needed. We knew she had lots of studying to do, but she insisted on taking us around the town and then somewhere to eat. Unexpectedly and very awesomely (not a real word), Anna's room mate Eva decided to join us. I learned something new talking with Eva. It makes perfect sense, and I must have been dense not to consider it before. Eva has an Irish boyfriend. "So what?", you say? Her english has an Irish lilt to it. Not a German accent. What? Anna speaks with an American accent and Eva with an Irish! Of course it would work that way! You learn your accent by those that speak around you! It was actually a bit disorienting to think that both of them are German-born and raised when their accents aren't German. Just mull that one over your thoughts for a moment. Eva is equally as awesome as Anna and Nicole and I both were very happy she came along. We went down to the river for something to drink, where I had another first experience.
The girls all ordered some German beer and i had to confess that I did not like beer. Anna was shocked. So they introduced me to a radler (rod-lur with the r either rolled or scratched in the back of your throat). Brace yourself because it might sound horrendous. It is some sort of german beer mixed with lemonade! Like a Bavarian Arnold Palmer! I am thinking that it sounds terrible, but we are traveling and new experiences are the name of the game! It tasted like fruit loops. I am not even kidding. Toucan Sam fruit loops.
I wish I had recorded all the conversations that Anna, Eva, Nicole and I had during this day. Conversations like these are the enriching experiences that makes travel so addictive. One in particular while I drank my fruit loops, had to do with Bavaria. In my ignorance, I never thought Bavaria would be an area of Germany. To me, Bavaria IS Germany and Germany is Bavaria. Not so. The southern part of Germany is Bavaria and the north is something different. The Bavarians have more slang speak whereas the north speaks incredibly proper and annunciation German. Traditional dress, like lederhosen, is also extremely Bavaria. Leavenworth is most definitely a Bavarian recreation. They are also not as warm as the Bavarians according to Anna and Eva. Or conversation continued to be fun and stimulating. We figured out that Eva and Anna a both dying to visit the states with the same passion that we have for Europe. Eva wants to visit Glacier and see bears almost more than anything!
After our drinks were done we took off to visit a lace the locals deem to be the very best food in Landshut. They werent kidding. Weinerschnitzel, sauerkraut, good conversation and fun were to follow. At this dinner we had the most pointed and revealing conversation of the trip. As nicely as i could, I asked the girls their opinion on WWII and Hitler. They weren't even remotely offended and began telling us a lot. First, they learn about Hitler every single school year growing up. Why it all happened, how it all happened, and how to prevent it from happening again. The bit of conversation that blew me away had to do with German culture. There seems to be a massive sense of shame or regret or something similar, country wide because of WWII. Eva explained that there is a reason we do not see German flags hanging everywhere as is typical in the states. I know I am going to butcher this, but I will describe it the best I can. To have a German flag outside your house would be a sign of immense pride in your country. But, how can you be proud when Hitler is your heritage? Does that make sense? So, no flags out. The good news is that German pride and flags are acceptable during the World Cup. Anna said it is a great time to see all the flags and the shared national pride. I was blown away by this conversation. We also talked about the schooling that the two girls are doing right now. They are both teachers. Right now they are through the initial five years of university and in to their 2 years of student teaching. The standards that they have to achieve are unreal. I understand now why Anna needed to study this weekend. They have to be perfect. Anna's exam is a teaching exam. She has to teach a subject, our pilgrims of all things, to her pupils while she is graded. She must begin and end on time. Each word of the lesson must be perfect. Every word must be planned. No stuttering or making any show that you don't know the subject material. They must segue yesterday's lesson seamlessly into today's lesson in such a way that the students make it seem as though it was their idea and not the teacher's. Logical linear transitions throughout the entire lesson. These must be perfect. She must also choose students, before she ever gets to class, on whom she will call upon during class. She needs to know the level of intelligence and be able to guess the response that each student she calls upon will give. If the student answers incorrectly, then Anna is docked points. If the segue isn't lock tight, she is docked points. Its is absolutely stringent. I would say that the reality is 10 times more intense that what I was feebly able to explain just now.
After dinner we dropped the two off for studies while we went and had dessert. We only lasted an hour and headed back for bed. Landshut has been an absolute highlight!