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December 23, 2008

Written December 28

Dear Friends and Families,


After a couple nights in Regensburg, we were headed toward Wasserburg am Inn, the village where Marianne was born, "several" years ago. Even by back roads, it's only a couple hours so we had time to stop somewhere. We chose Landshut*, not because it is famous but simply because it was convenient and it was listed in our Bavarian-towns-with-Christmas-markets list, a not-too-exclusive list.

Even with a short stop of just a couple hours, we were quite impressed. Landshut seemed to be a prosperous small city, with a look and feel different from our own villages and towns up in Franconia. This Bavarian city also has a fair amount of history from its 13th Century founding through it's roll as an American Army headquarters after World War II.

(*The town name is pronounced "lants - hoot" , not "land - shut". This is another one of those reminders that German does not use the "sh" dipthong, thus treating "s" and "h" as two separate letters. Who says these diaries aren't educational?)


The Landshut Christmas Market was OK, but perhaps not all that special. Maybe it was because we were there in the middle of the day and these Christmas parties do seem better at night, when the twinkling lights replace the cold, gray, German skies. Oh well, daytime is good for getting a crepe snack.

After the market, we wandered into the town center and were surprised at how big it is, with lots of shopping and a fair number of art galleries and specialty shops.

Our stop was too brief to allow anything other than a bit of window-browsing and looking around at the Bavarian architecture. I'm not sure Landshut is on tourist maps, but maybe it should be. (In fact, it is quite convenient to Munich airport.)

Our weekend had been a little short on our traditional German tourist goals, having passed by churches and castles and stopped at squares only if they had Christmas markets. We did manage a stop at St. Blase's church, formerly a Dominican Cloister. The newly restored 13th Century church was a nice example of the mix of Gothic and Rococo that typifies Bavarian churches.

A creche incorporating the idea of the destroyed temple of Jerusalem

"Krippen"= creches

A creche using Landshut people and occupations

Jerusalem, as imagined in Germany of the Middle Ages

We were attracted to St. Blase's by the red sign proclaiming a display of creche scenes, another traditional Christmas activity here in Bavaria. The score of scenes on display provided a range of views of the babe-in-a-manger image we normally think of. I think my favorite was the one where the scene was populated by the towns real baker, butcher, and other persons of the time.

18th Century Christmas Pieces

So, we recommend yet another place in Germany to visit. And, next time, we will try to visit the Bread Museum, a place I just noticed while looking at the brochures we picked up. I'm always interested in different museum types and, I must admit, we've never done a bread museum -- yet.

John and Marianne



Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landshut

Tourist Info: http://www.landshut.de (More in German than English.)

Bread Museum: http://www.museum-brotkultur.de/index_english.php


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