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Wasserburg am Inn, Christmas

December 23 &24, 2008

Written December 28

Dear Friends and Families,


Christmas this year has been without family and that has been difficult. There were reasons, of course, but it was so quiet, just the two of us. Maybe that's why, for our final Christmas Tour stop, we had decided to include a small piece of family history, a visit to the town where Marianne was born.

At the end of World War II, Marianne's parents fled from the fighting in Hungary and went to Germany, via Vienna, to stay on the western side of the new Iron Curtain. In mid-1945, they landed in Wasserburg am Inn, a small village in southern Bavaria, so that's where little Yolan was born. It is also where a neighbor decided Yolan wasn't a proper name and started calling the baby "Marianne", the name that stuck. The family joined the ranks of "displaced persons", finally settling in Monterey, California eight years later. 50-some years after that, Marianne came back for Christmas.

Wasserburg am Inn is an 11th Century town, protected on three sides by the Inn river, thus the name "Water-fortress". Most of the old town hugs the southern, higher bank, with building on the lower areas only practical after the installation of upstream dams controlling the river height.
The high bank is lined with historic buildings, with the original "Burg" anchoring the western end (upper right picture). In most of the town, the side streets are small and the four or five "main" streets are only slightly wider. Wasserburg is a great place to walk, but driving needs to be limited to getting in, parking, and getting out.

Our hotel, the Hotel Paulner-Steuben, was the less expensive of only two hotels in town. Our simple room (why three beds??) looked out over the Inn River to the parking garage on the far side. Somehow, "river view" should have been limited to the far bank, but what can you do?

We did have a nice Christmas Eve meal at the Paulner-Steuben. We opted for lunch on the 24th, rather than dinner, when it became apparent that NOTHING would be open that evening. We went out for walks at 3pm and 7pm. On the first walk we saw one business, a coffee shop, open. On the second walk, there was not a single open restaurant or any other business!

On the 23rd, we covered the Wasserburg Christkindlmarkt, the last of our dozen or so 2008 Christmas Markets. Where Nuremberg had hundreds of kiosks, Wasserburg had about ten but the scope seemed similar: glühwein, small gifts, sweets, and rides for the kids. There was even a church tower dominating the market, a most traditional setting.



This is the apartment building where Marianne had her first home. The back side looks out over the river. Across the street is the very old church of St. Michael's and the tower of St. Jacob's church. Marianne swears she remembers looking out at the clock on St. Jacob's tower when she was being held on her mom's lap. Pretty good memory for a one-year-old!
Speaking of churches, St. Jacob's is a 15th Century church that seemed to have been maintained but not restored. The pews, the floors, and the baptismal font were all worn but polished. The plaques and niche scenes dated from the 15th and 16th Century and looked as though they'd managed to avoid the damage common elsewhere in Germany.

So, that's it. Our last Christmas 2008 stop. And, once again, we find oursevels saying "We have to come back", but I think we will avoid the deathly quiet of another December 24th evening!

John and Marianne



Wasserburg am Inn: http://www.wasserburg.de/en/ (quite detailed)

Hotel Paulner-Stuben:http://www.paulanerstuben-wasserburg.de/englisch/index.html(our hotel)

Hotel Fletzinger Bräu: http://www.hotel-fletzinger.de/en/index.htm (the other hotel in town)

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wasserburg_am_Inn (brief, but interesting story)



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