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.