Monday, April 9, 2007

The Bavarian Alps - Garmisch

The Konditorei-Thron Cafe - the best food in Garmisch, maybe all of Bavaria!

Easter Monday – April 9th, 2007, Parsdorf and Garmisch, Germany

[Photos for this day are in the Garmisch Photo set and the "on the road" photo set.]

Another wonderful breakfast with Hartwig and Margret in Parsdorf. How easy it is for us to be together and to talk of many things: the world, politics, religion. We compare the different ways that we know things and find our common ground.

We set out for Garmisch. It is a wonderfully clear day. Taking the “mittel ring” around Munich, I am surprised that this road is not an “expressway”, but an actual street (with stop lights and sidewalks), and we are able to see the life of Munich a little closer. Spring is in full bloom and people are out and about, walking dogs and riding bikes. Easter Monday is a holiday (Europeans know how to do holidays!) so businesses are not open and no trucks.

As we head down to Garmisch the Bavarian Alps come into view. The last time we were in Germany (summer, 1999) it had been raining so this is really our first good view of these mountains. They are not so very high, but are rocky and still snow-y on top.

Garmisch is only about an hour’s drive south of Munich (how quickly everything can change in Europe) and we are soon in a very charming little mountain town. The sun is bright and it is unseasonably warm. We easily find our hotel (the Rheinischer Hof). The attendant is very friendly and convinces us to take a larger room in a house across the street from the actual hotel. This is a very beautiful 3rd floor room with balconies and views of the mountains. We feel like royalty.

We walk downtown and John and Eric have lunch outdoors at a café on the square – the Konditorei-Thron. This turns out to be our most favorite restaurant of the trip. The food and ambience are perfect.

None of the stores are open, but there are lots of people about exploring Garmisch. There is a neat glacial river that runs through town, many times behind and under the buildings.

Returning to our room, we decide to do laundry. The washer and dryer, which are in the basement, take the old Deutschmark coins, and the dryer doesn’t dry. After several DM coins (about $30 US) we decide to just hang the clothes on a line that crisscrosses the ceiling of the basement laundry room.

Then we head over to the Edelweiss Lodge to meet up with the Felsens. The Edelweiss is a special US complex (with hotel) that is just for US military personnel and their families. It is just around the corner from the Rheinischer Hof. Getting through the security gate was more challenging than getting across the iron curtain, though in all honesty, the security was very friendly and accommodating to us. We waited in the hotel lobby until FA (my only sister, only sibling) and then Greg (my nephew) and then my brand new grand nephew, Jack, come. This was my first meeting of 2 month old Jack, who is every bit as intelligent and good looking as the rest of the family.

This coming together in Garmisch is special for my sister and me. This is what has become of OUR family – the 2 daughters of Tucker and Lib (Edwin and Elizabeth Hagan). We are here with our husbands and all of our children: Michael, Greg, Jonathan, and Eric; Michael’s wife, Jenny; Jonathan’s girlfriend, Heather, and with the beginning of the next generation, Jack Felsen, who was born on February 9th, 2007.

Our mother, though she had met John and Joe, never lived to see us married.

Our father saw the arrivals of Michael, Greg and Jon, but not Eric.

I have always felt that, with the deaths of our parents relatively early in our lives, the continuation of my childhood family was somewhat fractured (or un-acknowledged, or something). As I watched all of us through the evening, I watched us through the eyes of my parents.

After some funny games (my sister is a party planner by avocation) to celebrate Michael’s 30th birthday and the arrival of Jack, we have dinner at the Edelweiss.

Michael and Jenny are living in Zemmer, Germany (northwest Germany) where Michael works as an attorney for the U.S. Air Force. (JAG for short).

Greg is a Peace Corp volunteer who is working now in Lesotho, Africa.

Jonathan and Heather came from Asheville NC, where they work as massage therapists and go to school.

Eric came from Fort Myers, FL where he works in TV Production.

Neat family, huh?
[Photos for this day are in the Garmisch Photo set and the "on the road" photo set.]

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