England 40 Years Ago — Christmas 1981, Part 1

We flew around Munchen (Munich), landed at Nurnburg, then back to Munich when the runway was cleared of snow. A bus took us from the plane to the airport where we met the patiently waiting Armin. (Armin H was an exchange student at Southwestern when we were in school. He visited us two or three times in New York. He married three and a half years ago, and this was the first time we’d met Ingrid. In the original letter, I inserted umlauts with a pen.)

After settling in at the guest house (the Mill) built on a large stream, we ate at Armin’s. We had Leberkas, dill pickles, and sweet mustard. What a treat! Can’t get good pickles in England nor that kind of mustard. Leberkas, pronounced “lay ber case” translates as “meat cheese”, but is in reality a special meat loaf put together by the butcher and heated at home. It looks something like bologna.

The train station was close to our inn. We walked, took a train into Munich, and saw the center of town where there were many stalls selling Christmas ornaments. All along the streets were stalls selling hot dogs and sausages, others with fruits, and others with cookies and breads. Took a bus to the airport and picked up our rented Mercedes that we’d insisted be fitted with snow tires.

The weather was marvelous. We arrived in snow, left in snow, and it snowed every day but one while we were there! It is unusual for them to have it so early. Meanwhile, England had snow just before Christmas, and we came home to find it still on the ground. Snowed again the day after we got home.

Germans love gadgets as much as I do. In our hotel bathroom was a motorized toilet! Truly! Lisa came from her room all bug-eyed saying hers sounded like it was going to take off.

A sobering experience we were glad to have behind us was the visit to Dachou concentration camp. It’s not something one wishes to see, but should see when in the area.

After that bleak place we toured a Baroque palace that is as elegant as Windsor and Hampton Court. They didn’t have Grinling Gibbons, though.

Ingrid served us soup with liver dumplings, sausages, pickles, sweet mustard, Armin’s potato salad, breads and cheeses, and marakuja ice cream. I may not have spelled that fruit correctly; it’s new from Brazil.

Sunday we got up at 5:45, ate Stollen in our room, and set out for Regensburg. We arrived for the tail end of one service, hearing an Advent hymn and organ postlude, and sat through the 9 AM service with three choirs. Ingrid told us later that the famous choir is touring Germany at the moment. It’s hard to believe the sounds we heard could be improved upon.

We learned that the “coffee hour” can be from 3 – 5 depending on what time lunch was eaten. We had coffee with Ingrid and Armin, sampling two kinds of Stollen from the best bakery in Munich and a lovely assortment of small Christmas cookies – Lebkuchen, Zimmstern, and others.

We tried pictures of some of the houses in Ismaning where we stayed. It’s a little town slightly beyond the suburbs of Munich. Many houses have pictures or decorative scroll work painted on the outer walls, something typical of Bavarian homes.

House in Ismaning

$ learned how to unlock and open the doors of our rooms at the inn, taking every opportunity to run wild in the hall. Consequently, we often took walks whenever we were at home base, despite the extreme cold. We particularly enjoyed all the little walkways skirting the streams running through town.

When I told Armin I’d found my dream house, he queried, “Here???” It is built right over the stream! The living room and balcony are over water at a point where the stream gurgles softly.

28 thoughts on “England 40 Years Ago — Christmas 1981, Part 1

  1. I don’t remember the motorized toilet… the thing I do remember is that it was the very first time we had Nutella (to put on the rolls for breakfast)!

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    1. That explains why J’s friend from Germany introduced him to Nutella! His father was doing an exchange training with the air force base in Abilene, and for 2 years, we had a slew of German traditions and words in and out of our house. What fun it was!

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  2. I love all the England posts, but I really liked this one. I have never been to Germany, though J and I had planned to go and just never made it. I love your dream house, and you have given me a great idea–I will just dig a canal under our house and then the gurgling stream from the water rushing downhill every time it rains will flow under my bedroom and living room and I can sit on the deck and watch it!

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      1. I don’t like the texture. Only my mother ate liver in our house so she rarely made it. Some people grind it up and put it in stuffing but we don’t put meat in it. Everything else sounded wonderful!

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  3. I never went to Munich, but went to Frankfurt with my father in 1969 and then with both parents in 1979. As a 13-year-old, I was fascinated with the toilet paper and brought a clean roll home to show my mom (show and tell). It was a rose pink color and looked the consistency of the brown paper towels that come out of a paper towel dispenser. I don’t recall motorized toilets – maybe Frankfurt was not so modern as Munich? One of the joys of German food wise was the wurstplatte, a delicious platter of German meats and wonderful hearty German bread (brot). My mom and I split one every evening for dinner and came away feeling very full. I think I liked that sausage and bread platter even better than the pastries and tortes. Remember the pastry chef I mentioned to you once in conjunction with a post about Nathaniel’s pastry-making abilities? He/his wife owned a German restaurant and every year we’d go there to buy an authentic German Christmas stollen. They were a staple for our Christmas breakfast for many years.

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      1. Sounds delicious. I have not seen stollen around here and the German butcher shop went out of business. They used to carry it and some German chocolate Christmas tree ornaments too. It all sounds delicious, especially the Lebkuchen.

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