I spoke too soon….the days and nights are getting cold again….40’s during the day and in the 20’s at night. It’s a good time to sit by the fireplace with mugs of glühwein and reflect on our trip to Germany and Austria.
We were enchanted by the architecture in Bavaria…..the clean lines and soft colors of their homes and buildings, the colorful domed church spires, the charming clock towers with their pointed roofs, the grand Gothic and Baroque town halls and churches with a more “crisp” look than those in France. Everyday, it felt like we were walking through a fairytale countryside.
The food was fabulous. The thinly sliced lunchmeats and cheeses served at breakfast were divine.….their mild, delicate flavors were a great way to start the day. Lunches and dinners of simply prepared, hearty foods…..savory boiled beef, mild sausages, pungent sauerkraut, soft noodles, cucumber salads, fresh breads…..were delicious and inexpensive; awakening long forgotten memories of the comfort foods of my youth.
But there were disappointments……
We were so looking forward to authentic apple strudel…..layers and layers of crispy pastry filled with piquant apples, lightly spiced with cinnamon and served warm right out of the oven. My mouth is salivating just thinking about it…..but thinking about it is all we could do because every restaurant warmed this regional specialty in a microwave…..destroying the crisp crust and turning the filling to applesauce. A time-saver for the chef but a real disappointment for these diners.
One on one, the Germans and Austrians we met were warm and friendly, but a militant attitude seemed to take over at other times. There was no such thing as “sharing the sidewalk”……they were single-minded in their purpose and anyone in their way was expected to move. Of coure, we always moved, but we kept wondering what would happen in a German to German encounter……how long would they stare at each other before one did the unthinkable and yielded to the other? It helped to explain how two World Wars were started.
Based on our experience, the German reputation for quality and efficiency is just a myth. Planes, trains and buses never left on time…..and never arrived on schedule. It helped to explain how two World Wars ended.
And there were observations……
Snow is cold, very cold……and unkind to your skin. As beautiful as the snow was, the biting weather took its toll……my face felt sunburned, my arms had unexplained bumps and my legs resembled those of a desiccated mummy…..fortunately, all symptoms were alleviated upon our return to more temperate France.
And last but certainly not least…..Glühwein is good.