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Garmisch, Almost Christmas

August 21, 2004

(Written October 10)

Dear Families and Friends,


Marianne and I are already planning for Christmas. The first big decision has been that we will stay in Germany despite the conflicting desire to be "home" for the holidays. With family in California, Colorado, Maryland, and now, Virginia, "home" has become pretty diffuse anyway. Instead of trying to cover all of America, we will have a small family gathering here in Europe. Marianne chose Garmisch, in southern Germany, perhaps because the surrounding Alps have to be a most traditional setting. Gabby and Jeremy and Brian, Jen and Richard will join us.


In preparation for this, Marianne and I decided we needed a summer trip to scout out a place to stay and, as it turned out, it was a good things we did. Over four months ahead, places to stay were almost all booked and, even though it might be traditional, staying in a barn didn't sound like what we wanted. In the end, the summer trip was both fun and successful and now we can't wait to see all the same sights in the snow.



A couple years ago, we had passed by Augsberg Germany because we were running a little late for the day. That evening, we read our tour book and it praised the town for a fine collection of gold jewelry. Since we would pass right by on our trip to Garmisch, we stopped to see for ourselves. We found nothing, other than some decent (but closed) jewelry stores: proof that tour books aren't the answer
The next day, we made one more intermediate stop, at Oberammergau, home of the famous Passion Play. While the play itself is only presented once a decade, the theater is available for tours year-round. Marianne posed with oversize photos of the wonderful costumes and, backstage, we saw the props and costume closets. This gave us just a glimpse into the size and grandeur of the production. In case you are interested in acting in the Play, you must take up residence in Oberammergau two decades before you can be considered for the lowliest part but, reportedly, they no shortage of applicants.

The town itself was a collection of nice parks, OK monuments and plenty of touristy-kitsch stores. The store did not warrant pictures.
Zugspitze towers over our destination town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. These views from the street in front of our hotel were typical.
Downtown was picture-postcard perfect, especially since we were visiting between seasons, when the streets are quiet. I suppose Christmas will be different.
From a restaurant deck, we watched families scoot about in what has to be the most paddle-boat pond in the world. We also watched hang-gliders swoop and swing along the mountain face. Paddle boats I could do, but hang gliders???
The more traditional journey up the mountain is via cable car. Even this looks intimidating but, come winter, I expect we'll be obliged.
This apartment building was out goal. We have a 10-day reservation here and, as near as we can tell, it was the last place in town available! The other buildings are our neighbors. I can't wait to see it all covered in snow.

So, take care and stay tuned for Christmas,


John and Marianne




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