30 June 2007

Day 3, Part 2: Starnberg

Reed has decided to give himself a crash-course in German over one day using a 1960s grammar manual and some help from my father, who still remembers a lot of German from his high school and college days. However, Reed is already frustrated and thinks he can never learn the language after only half a day attempting it. However, he managed to order two large Cokes at the local (and only) McDonald's in Starnberg.

Yes, Reed and I went to a McDonald's in Germany. That sounds like a horrible tourist betrayal on my part, but we were so dehydrated from walking around Starnberg and crawling through the woodlands that we just needed the Cokes. Please forgive me, I'm an awful American pig. But the Germans seem to have something against drinking fountains.

But the rest of the day has so far been very Bavarian. It's amazing how many people here wear the traditional Bavarian jackets and dresses. We attended a brunch at a wealthy family's house in the town of Feldafing; my sister received the invitation through people she knows from the school. The house was built in 1905 for the workers on a nearby castle, and it was refurbished into a beautiful mansion near the edge of Starnberg Lake.

The food was excellent (love those Bavarian pretzels) and even though we were a touch underdressed, everyone was pleasant to us and they all could speak decent English. I got a chance to talk about the Gormenghast novels by Mervyn Peake with one of Colleen's British friends and explain the rough outline of German history to my family while we watched a automatic lawn-mowing device make its indecisive way across the enormous back yard. But it was a long (although beautiful) walk to and from the train station, so even though it's only four in the afternoon, I already feel tired out. I still haven't made the proper shift to German time. A Coke from McDonald's does help. So there, I've excused myself.

I'm back at the house now, watching Cuba rip apart paper packing on the ground while the others are out shopping for a grill party my sister and her husband are throwing tomorrow afternoon. Apparently, most groceries are closed on Sunday, so they have to get all the shopping done now. My sister says even Munich is a sedate and quiet place on Sundays, with most stores closed.

And now Cuba's barking at me. She must want to go out. Be with you later.