In early February, we went to Bavaria for the winter school holidays like we usually do. My husband and daughters went skiing and I hung out in the vacation apartment on a working farm in the tiny village of Winkl where I read, wrote, and took a long walks through the snowy woods.
Whenever we go to this part of Bavaria I always ask myself why the hell we still live in Berlin. Sure, Berlin is exciting, but the city can also be incredibly unfriendly and downright exasperating. The weather is dark and damp and cold a good five months out of the year, and there’s rarely much snow. Summer is an optional season.
But Southern Bavaria has snow galore and the weather is drier and much sunnier. Sure, it’s conservative—the CSU, Bavaria’s sister party to Angela Merkel’s CDU, is none too thrilled with the chancellor’s more progressive policies—and very, very catholic. But it’s conservative in that preserve tradition and be wary of outsiders kind of way, not that drooling troll-like, heartless, sold-my-soul-to-the-NRA way followed these days by far too many in the GOP.
Yes, the Bavarians want things to stay the same, but I can see why. The people on the countryside have such a warmth about them and the accent is adorable, although crazy hard to understand (and forget it if they’re speaking dialect). The food is fresh and hearty and the furnishing and dirndl waitress uniforms in the Gasthöfe always remind me of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves because Disney totally stole the look. And you have the mountains which I love almost as much as the ocean or the sea.
But, of course, I’m overly romanticizing things. I have friends from Franconia, the northern part of Bavaria, and they told me there’s a man in their parent’s village that everyone calls the Neuzugezogene, the “new guy,” even though he’s lived there for over 30 years.
Which makes sense when you consider there’s a plaque on the wall of the farm where we stayed that says the family has lived there since 1534.
Nearly everyone who lives in Berlin has a love hate relationship with the city, which probably suits me better anyway. If I lived full-time on the countryside, there’s a good chance I’d start getting antsy. Even an unbelonger like me still needs to somewhat-belong. I guess I’ll stay here after all.
But I’m always glad to take a little jaunt down to the Alps in Bavaria where they greet you with the sing song Grüß Gott, which roughly translates as “Say hi to God for me.”