Just another normal Saturday in Niederbayern…

A few weekends ago I accompanied Rudi, Christl and Andi on a weekend trip to visit Christl’s relatives in the lower Bavarian city of Landshut. Actually, Christl’s sister Hildegaard’s family and parents live in a tiny town in the Umgebung; their airy house sits atop a serene hill overlooking the Bavarian Forest and an enchanting garden full of apple trees, tumbling wildflowers, their sweet pet Hasen and even a tree house connects the houses of Christl’s adorable parents and Hildegaard’s family. It was particularly beautiful bathed in afternoon light, the sun filtered through meandering branches as plums and apples ripened quietly in the orchard and a tangle of creepers danced its way around an upstairs window. And Christl’s family, like the Maiers themselves, are endlessly hospitable and kind. 

Saturday began with a hike through the Bayerischer Wald to find mushrooms for dinner. How else would one spend one’s Saturday?! Andi and Sabine found this fine specimen in the forest, and we ate it for supper even though it was rather green and poisonous looking. Upon my expressing apprehension about this, Andi took it upon himself to give me a personal and lengthy introduction to the species of mushrooms which grow in Bavaria so I now know how to avoid Knollenblaetterpilzen (deathcap) at least…!

Then Rudi, Christl and I took a trip into the Altstadt of Landshut which boasts exquisite Baroque architecture (my favourite!), the gentle River Isar and an impressive castle perched on the hill above the city. Landshuter hot chocolate comes highly recommended from me!

The big event of the day was, however, the trip to the Windrad

(

wind turbine) organised by keen Green Party supporter Marlene… Everyone in the neighbourhood was invited. As this is the only wind turbine in the county, the turnout was surprisingly high and enthusiasm was at its zenith as we embarked on the field trip…

Eagerly waiting to set off…

I admire the wind turbine from afar as Andi explains the prevalent misconceptions regarding solar power…

During a lecture on site about the advantages of wind power, already into the tour’s second hour, everyone is enthralled…

…except me, it would seem (it was very cold though!)

During the third hour of the tour Andi and Christl decide to climb to the summit…

…and here’s Andi and I outside the famous turbine!

The day ended with the playing of numerous board games, including Andi’s favourite ‘Siedler’. No rest for the wicked!

If somewhat surreal from an Englishwoman’s eyes, I did still have a marvellous time. When we visit our relatives back home, we generally end up eating, talking and maybe going for a walk (but only maybe!) Not so in Germany. This was the weekend I fully realised just how much Germans love to be busy. Bavaria is a strangely wonderful and peculiarly unique place with a culture all of its own and our visit seemed to embody the Bavarians’ connection to family, surroundings and what they believe in, a combination I have found most heart-warming. Even if Rudi and I did start to lose the will to live as the wind turbine tour entered its fourth hour and the temperature dropped yet further…!