|We were here for nearly 4 weeks while Tara attended a German
course at the Goethe Institut. This was a course that Tara signed up for
in September 1997 when she was leaving the Education department and moving
to Technology. Due to the fact that her new manager wanted her to start
work right away, she never ended up attending the class she paid for in
Imagine our surprise when we learned that she could still attend the class she paid for three years later!
Learning German Monday to Friday for 3 1/2 weeks was even more fun than Tara thought it would be. We quickly settled into a routine. Tara would leave for class just before 8am when Seth was still asleep.
- by Tara on her class
And enjoy my class I did! I have taken German classes from six different instructors at Goethe Instituts and I was the most impressed with my teacher, Klaus-Thomas Frick, that taught my class here in Murnau. I was a bit worried that I would be bored going to German class everyday. I really had nothing to worry about since my teacher made sure we had a wide variety of engaging activities to keep us interested. This is not even a complete list of the different things we did in class:
Everyday after class, I would come home to a home-cooked meal that Seth had prepared for me. That was also a very nice part of my day!
Takenori finishing his BDay cake.
Seth also enjoyed himself in the mornings while Tara studied. He had computer games to keep him company. He arrived in Murnau deep in the middle of ________. However, he promptly switched to Diablo II when it arrived in a package from his parents. The packet from his parents also contained more computer memory - a very welcome addition to our Sony Vaio 55.
In the afternoons, we were both free and often had a nap after lunch
or went out for a walk. Sometimes Tara would go back onto school and study.
Plus, we'd try to sign up in advance for the single school internet computer.
Most days Tara got home from school at 1pm and we'd go back for an hour
of internet time at 2pm. Othertimes, we'd use the Internet later and take
a long walk or a long nap.
|One of our favorite walks was out to a scenic vista overlooking the Murnau Moors. The first week we were in Murnau, we didn't see the sun at all. It was very rainy, overcast and basically dreary. On xxxxx we had a bit of good weather and took a walk recommended by my friend Jin Han in class. It was a great view over the Moors and we could just see a glimpse of the Alps in the distance. We went all the way to the lake that day and it was a strenuous walk at times uphill. It was also a very fun walk since we stopped to say 'hi' to some cows on the way and one licked Tara's hand! The rain actually turned to snow the first Saturday morning we were in Murnau. We awoke to very big, puffy white flakes. It was so surprising since it was early October! We had to take a walk back out to the same vista and see it snow-covered. We couldn't see as far, but it was still neat. We went out to the same vista even once more - on the day when we could first see the mountains clearly. WOW! What a pretty sight had been hidden behind clouds the previous week.|
Another favorite walk was through a local village called Henchendorf.
Henchendorf had it all: sheeps, cows, horses, views of the mountains, quaint
- painted Bavarian houses and a sweeping view of the Alps. Seth took this
walk once for over three hours and it seemed like he was walking right
into the Alps. Tara went for an hour walk numerous times through this village
and it kept getting prettier and prettier each time since the leaves were
changing to bright Fall colors.
|We were happily surprised to find pumpkins for sale at the local Mini-mall supermarket. Even though we had to walk 15 minutes home, we bought two pumpkins, a watermelon and plenty of food one day. We didn't see any pumpkins there next time we went back, so we were glad to have carried the extra weight the first time we saw them. This year we had a very small pumpkin family - just Mr and Mrs Pumpkin alone. They had a great Bavarian-style porch to live on though and stayed healthy for a long time! We lit them every night and put them up on the ledge so that they had a good view.|
|Only on our last night in Murnau did they come inside. Mrs Pumpkin's light went out a long time before Mr Pumpkin's light and that was appropriate since Tara always went to sleep hours before Seth did for the four weeks we were here. The heat indoors shrivelled them up a bit, so we were not as sad as we could have been to leave them behind in Murnau as we continued on our smallest countries of Europe tour.|
Murnau is one hour South of Munich so we went into Munich often.
September 30th - As we arrived into Munich on an InterCity train from Zurich, we could immediately tell that Oktoberfest was in full swing. Numerous people were passed out on the train platform and even more people were wearing typically German hats and dress. We enjoyed Oktoberfest when we were here in 199x, but had no desire to return. The one hour train South to Murnau was packed with Oktoberfest goers and we were very, very, very glad to have first class tickets and thus a seat for the ride.
The following Sunday - We headed into Munich for the afternoon because Seth wanted to pick up some English-language magazines and newspapers. We easily found an International Press shop in the train station that sold English-language magazines. After he had his magazines, Tara needed a fish sandwich from McDonald's. Odd how she has suddenly switched to wanting fish sandwiches from McDonald's. She's always been a cheeseburger sort of person. She can only remember eating McDonald's fish sandwiches before when she lived in Chicago and was in 1st grade. So, after about 23 years, she has returned to fish. Whatever the reason, we headed out to McDonald's to get her a fish sandwich. We were estatic to see an easyEverything Internet Cafe directly across from the train station and planned to come back after McDonald's. It was a Sunday and all the stores were closed... but the main Munich walking street was really busy. We walked all the way to the main square with the Glockenspiel and then stopped by our favorite church on the way back. Tara caught a quick cat nap in the church while Seth watched a church mouse scuttling under the benches. It was a very revitilzing nap and we were ready for internet time. But, OH NO, the Internet cafe was all setup with computers -- but it wasn't open yet. We went home disappointed, but hopeful that it would be open soon.
The following Friday night - We had to go to Munich to get on our night train bound for Italy.We ate at home to save money and then headed to the Murnau station at 9pm (one hour earlier than necessary) so that we could have time at the internet cafe. We had a bit of a rude shock at the station though. We weren't able to get to Munich by train since the rail tracks were closed between Murnau and Weilheim. Tara was very pleased with herself since she understood this all from a man whom she'd asked. Their conversation was entirely in German. Two weeks of daily German classes were paying off! So, we piled onto a bus and hoped we'd arrive in Munich in time to catch our 23:40 night train to Florence. There was no problem with the timing in the end and we hopefully headed to the Internet Cafe. It was still closed :-( We figured walking would be better than sitting in the station (especially since our train was running 20 minutes late) so we headed to the main square again. We saw all sorts of kids dressed up as Harry Potter right outside a bookstore near McDonald's and figured the 4th book was being released in German at midnight. We were still hopeful the Internet cafe would open sometime soon.
The next Monday morning - Only 1/2 hour in the Munich train station this morning since Tara had to get to class. Unfortunately, the International Press shop didn't open until 7am - so Seth was unable to get any English magazines.
The following Sunday - We went to Liechtenstein by travelling South to Innsbruck and then West, but decided to come home via Munich --- maybe the Internet Cafe would be open. We had a bit of a surprise on the InterCity train from St. Margatehens to Munich. It was actually rerouted to Augsburg instead of Munich. No problem for us really, we weren't on a tight schedule. Tara's class had actually had an outing to Augsburg the previous day, so it was sortof neat to be seeing it. We enjoyed dinner and then headed to Munich. It was EXCELLENT - the Internet Cafe was open. 100 minutes for 2 DEM. We used 40 minutes of our 1 hour and 40 minutes before catching the train back to Murnau.
The final Thursday - We returned from Neuschwanstein castle via Fussen to Munich. We now knew that the Internet Cafe would be open and planned to use up the rest of our 1 hour while waiting for the night train to Italy. Little did we suspect that we'd buy TWO more 100 minute sessions and spend all four hours between our trains in the easyEverything cafe. We could have spent longer actually since we were having alot of fun. But, we did have a night train to catch. The Internet Cafe is open 24 hours a day and it seemed like we received more than 100 minutes for our 2 DEM later in the evening. The last ticket we bought had a login valid for 2 hour and 40 minutes. Yeah Hah!! Tara's last memory of the Munich station is running through it to get some last minute food since we had given up dinner for just a little bit longer on a fast Internet connection.
The town of Murnau.
|We liked Murnau and think we might like to live in a similarly sized
town a similar distance away from a major city. What we liked:
- the walking street with baker, butcher, cheese seller, plant seller,
book seller, etc. etc.
These are Tara's favorite German children't books. She discovered these books in Zurich in 199x and bought numerous books then. She found them in Murnau also. Only 1.80 DEM for one book. A great price and a great, fun way to improve her German. Throughout our weeks in Murnau, Tara was good about buying only one book at a time, finishing it and then buying a second. This all changed in the last 2 days. She went to her standard Pixi book supplier on the walking street two days before we were leaving and dug through the bin of books snatching up all the cute ones she didn't already own. These were all packed up and mailed home in a big box we sent back. The next store that we walked by (after sending the bix box home) also sold Pixi books. Thus, Tara now has an extra 16 books in her backpack. Thank goodness that these books are tiny!
Cooking at home
We cooked at home in Murnau more often than we EVER have since we started
dating 10 years ago!
Listening to the radio
We heard songs that we haven't heard in 25 years. It was really neat
recalling lyrics from when we were kids. The radio Seth bought in London
was a great investment. We used it constantly in Murnau.
The 3am mosquitos
more to come...
|Overall Experience||9||What a great surprise! It was excellent to settle in one place for four weeks. Both of us had enough to keep us busy. And, we saved a bunch of money by eating at home more than ever before in the past 10 years together.|
|Ease of Journey||7|
|Activities||8||Learning German every day for Tara was actually a 10!|