Monday, December 5, 2011

'SERVUS' Germany!

Not even in the wildest of my imaginations had I ever dreamt that one day I would be in Germany. And when I finally did, after seven excruciating hours of flight, I knew this was too real to be true. After several days now, the feeling is finally settling down.
Winter is here in Europe, and is far too cold than I was prepared for. Despite the biting cold and thick fog that covers the landscape most of the time, Germany is a beautiful place. I am in Vilshofen in Passau, the city of three rivers where Donau river is joined at Passau by the Inn river from the south and the Ilz river from the north to go to the Black Sea.
This was my median excursion into Europe and besides the little Google research I had done, I barely knew of this vast country.
Not until I reached Munich when a young gentleman helped me with my bag at the train station. I was told that Germans could be an unfriendly lot but to my utter surprise, they were in fact the very opposite. They were nice, helpful and kind.
 ‘Servus,’ and ‘gruss gott’ are greetings that I have been hearing since I landed here. It is either a welcoming or departing greeting in German. Another word is ‘Danke’ which means thank you.
Believe it or not, I have never been to a church. And here I visited the St. Stephan’s Cathedral or Dom St. Stephan, the largest church organ in the world. The Cathedral organ represents one of the main tourists’ attractions.
With a population of about 50,000 living in Passau and about 17,000 in Vilshofen, markets get a little crowded during the weekends. My arrival here coincided with the preparations for Christmas. It was a flurry of activities.
Trees were being trimmed and lit with colourful lights, houses being decorated, children going through the advertisement books to check out gifts they want their parents to buy for them and parents checking their check list of what needs to be done or ticking those that have already been completed.
Children wait for the first Sunday of the last week of November to light the first candle to signify the countdown of the Christmas. I was given an unexpected honor to light the first candle at my host’s home too.
As you walk along the Passau city, you reach the city hall where the markings of the water level and in which year have been marked. It is incredible to see how high the markings go. It was just so great.
Having been in Germany for only one week, I am certain that I do not like Pretzel, known as ‘Brezel’ in German. When I told Carmen Keller of not liking pretzel, she gave me a shocked look.
She said, “Everybody loves Pretzel,” and further added that there is no childhood if there was no pretzel.
But the Bavarian beer, I must admit, is a fine beer. If you ever come to Germany, you should definitely try the beer.
One tradition that caught my attention was the symbol that indicated that someone had a baby. A wooden stork is pitched at the junction towards the house. A line of cans/tins hung above the stork symbolises the birth of a girl and vice versa.
That’s it for now. But I still have 20 more days to explore.

1 comment:

  1. Too many Strange names of the places. Wish you a good time to explore more of the places and keep us updated.

    Have a Safe Journey