Now that school has started (at a comfortable 9 am this week only), I can only go on to describe our quick vacation in the depths Bavaria… We have seen plenty of picturesque places – the cliffs and rolling hills of Andalusia, Spain, the sunrise over a glowing Venice, the warm and ancient temples of Angkor Wat. But I have never appreciated a landscape so close to the one of “The Sound of Music.”
We arrived in Munich to awaiting family, and the next few days were ones filled with talk, coffee, cake, and more talk with various family, friends, and friends of family. We visited lakes, went sailing, shopping, and generally relaxed in our allotted vacation time. The weather held out just for us, and it was a beautiful 75 degrees Fahrenheit with blue skies and a gentle breeze. I never will get used to Celsius.
After the city of Munich and all of the acquaintances were crossed off the list, we rolled in our borrowed Fiat 500 through the Bavarian countryside… We passed through countless towns in which the “Welcome” and “Goodbye!” signs came after another with such quick succession that soon they all blended together and we forgot we were in the town in the first place. Then, if you wanted to get even smaller (which was quite possible), there was the little sign with a convoluted name on it, pointing to 2-5 houses max. All of this is, of course, surrounded in a sea of deep green corn fields, with the rolling hills like waves and little red barns scattered throughout this ocean like white caps. The Alps provided the holy sight of land in the far off distance. More country-side amenities such as horses, sheep, and church spires were also available on the horizon.
Then came Woehr. If you haven’t heard of it, I am disappointed but not exactly surprised. It is a destination by invitation only… Woehr was one of these little villages, that comprised of, well, one house. This house was a recent addition of some close family that normally lives in Munich, and now also have a retreat in the countryside, where they welcomed us with open arms. We would have missed it had it not been for both the little yellow sign peeping “I’m here!” and our eyes glued to those handy Google Maps directions. This is a tiny exaggeration, as we did see one other house at the end of the dirt road, but then the story wouldn’t be as good. As we got used to the splendor and comfort of Woehr, we also indulged in plenty of “the Sound of Music”.
When my sisters watch a movie, especially a musical, they tend to spend the next couple of days singing the songs of that particular musical with the vigor and dedication of lifetime fans. Then the phase passes. But for our time in Woehr, the particular musical and following phase was, of course, “The Sound of Music”. It seemed that all of a sudden, everything was Maria, the nun – Josephine started having a hilarious time pointing to various objects or people and singing, “How do you solve a problem like Maria??” and then breaking into peals of hysterical laughter. My other sisters, on the contrary, enjoyed the song, “My Favorite Things” to the point where even I had it stuck in my head, and of course, “The Hills are Alive… with the Sound of Music.” They naturally infected our third cousins with the singing bug, and soon the house was ringing.
When we walked down to the magnificent house and adjacent barn from bathing in our pristine little lake, over the grass with the church spire, corn fields, and mountains behind us, it felt almost surreal. As we went riding at sunset in blissfully quiet surroundings and the sky was colored pink and orange and the mountains were the clearest I’ve ever seen them, the hills had never been more alive. Oh, and all of the kids were singing too.