By Morgan Tarpley
This writer’s trip to Germany and back over the Thanksgiving holidays a few years ago was a 12-day whirlwind of culture, language, history and fun with words like Grüß Gott (short for “May God greet you”) popping up in my vocabulary.
The journey began by flying into Munich, where I stayed several days, then headed north toward Berlin for a few more and returned to Munich for the remaining time. In all, I was able to spend time in Munich, Berlin, Dachau, Nuremberg, Salzburg, Austria and several other places.
I was in Germany to visit my friend from college, Sascha, and other friends from northern Germany. I was very lucky to have native guides for nearly the entire trip, which made it extra memorable.
The time was the end of November, which may not seem like the ideal time to visit Europe due to the bare trees and beginnings of a usual wet and cold winter, but it was a perfect time for me. One reason being the weather was unusually warm—mostly sunny with no rain in sight. The other reasons were two amazing seasonal experiences: the opening of the Christmas markets and the attendance of a Kathreintanz.
|The famous Christmas market in Nuremberg|
|Some of the lovely wares at the Christmas market|
|Couples at the Kathreintanz|
|Sascha and I waltzing|
The dances include variations of the waltz and polka as well as the Boarischer, Masianer, Landler and more. Lavish desserts – cream cake and apple strudel – are served as well as Apfel Schorle, my favorite German drink made with mineral water and apple juice.
|Raspberry Cream Cake|
I agreed when Sascha said it about the place with the twirling couples dressed in their traditional lederhosen and dirndls as they waltzed and I did too in traditional dress. I was apparently a fast learner, according to him, so I was able to participate in several of the dances. I watched Sascha and his dance partner from his heritage club dance the more difficult ones. The whole event lasted about five hours until midnight and I definitely felt welcome and blessed to experience this unique part of local culture.
|Sascha and I in lederhosen|
and a dirndl
|Locals having fun at the Kathreintanz|
Morgan Tarpley is an award-winning newspaper reporter and photographer in Louisiana. She is also a historical novelist currently seeking representation. Besides writing and traveling to over a dozen countries, her interests include acting in her local theater, photography, Civil War re-enacting and singing.
For more information about Morgan, visit her website (www.morgantarpley.com) and blog (www.pensonaworldmap.com). You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Goodreads. If anyone would like to be a guest on her blog, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.