I am now going to recount the adventures of my last weekend, which was spent in the small village of Lenzen! I would have written about these events earlier in the week, except for the fact that I recently reached an extremely exciting part in ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,’ and was unable to to put it down until I finished the book.
So this past weekend was a long weekend in Germany; Monday was a holiday known as Pfingsten, or Pentecost in English. Sebastien’s entire family was driving up to the small village of Lenzen, which is where his grandparents live. It was an absolutely gorgeous day – ironically enough, as much as my mom would love to be out on the road on such a day, Sebastien’s dad was slightly displeased that he was in a car for the occasion! I was rather nervous about the impression I would make on Sebastien’s grandparents…as much as I like to think I’m a fairly easy person to get along with, it’s always a little bit trickier when I can hardly understand the language. However, I received an extremely warm welcome, and could hardly wipe the smile off my face (even if I wasn’t my usual chatty self).
During this long weekend, there are a number of festivities in small German towns, including Lenzen. When we arrived, there were a number of decorations through the streets, especially on the trees.
We had only been there for a short time when Sebastien, his sister, and I went to pick up his cousin from the train station. The nearest one to Lenzen is 45 minutes away (which sort of shows how rural an area it is!) but on this particular occasion we had to take an extremely long detour due to construction. The train station itself is rather famous, due to its being by a famous artist, named Hindertwasser.
It was a pleasant drive back to the village, getting to know his cousin, and shortly after we got back to Lenzen Sebastien’s aunt, uncle, aunt’s mother, and other cousin arrived. We had tea and treats in the backyard, and I began to become a little more comfortable using my limited german knowledge. The rest of that evening was fairly relaxed – at one point a few of us youngsters went on a walk, and it was nice to see the rural scenery. A large amount of our meals involved amazing cheeses and bread, and that brought back a lot of memories from my trip in Grade 11…Germany is a fantastic place for feeding my cheese addiction, and I am recently discovering the amazingness of truly good sausage. Anyways, I’ve gotten a bit off topic, but the following picture os one I took on our walk.
So if I didn’t realize how rural the village is when I first arrived there, the roosters crowing the next morning from a few yards over definitely convinced me. Interesting way to wake up, if I say so myself! This was on Sunday, so there were also church bells going off. This was the day of the town’s festivities. The tradition basically is that there is a target shooting competition, and the winner invites the entire town over for dinner. Each year, there is a parade to and from the previous winner’s house, and I believe that starts off the festivities. This year though, there was a special occasion…a real live bagpiper was in the town, and had agreed to play outside of the house when the parade arrived there. She even brought her uniform and everything!
The only flaw the bagpiper made was having two very strong cups of tea first thing that morning…I had a hard time keeping my hands under control! But all went very smoothly. I played Scotland the Brave, then had a sip of whiskey that someone handed me, and then played a hornpipe and jig while schnapps were handed out to everyone in the crowd. I joined in on the schnapps drinking…German small towns sure know how to drink before noon!
Everyone in the audience was extremely appreciative, and I was given a pin from the town, as well as another pin from another town nearby…Sebastien told me that the other pin really didn’t have much to do with my playing that day, but they obviously just wanted to join in.
During the festivities, someone told Sebastien’s family that they and I could have free cake later on in the day; usually it was 1.50 euros a piece. If Sebastien’s grandfather hadn’t liked me before, he was my biggest fan at that point! Overall, it was an extremely successful morning.
We then went for lunch in another nearby town, at a very fancy restaurant. I ate schnitzel with mushroom sauce…Sebastien figured that now I’ve had fancy restaurant schnitzel, the stuff from the grocery store won’t be good enough for me anymore – I reassured him that I like it just as well, but the added mushroom sauce is a real treat.
After that, we went on a small hike up a hill that gave us a fantastic view of the town, and then drove back to Lenzen.
Later in the day, a lot of the family members headed for home, and Sebastien and I drove his cousin back to the train station. However, we did get a piece of cake which had been promised to us! We also walked around the town, and went to an extremely small scale, local farm. We got to see a two-day old calf, as well as a lot of baby geese!
Sebastien, his grandparents, sister, and parents and I spent the rest of that evening and the next morning relaxing and socializing. I was happy to return to Berlin at the end of it (seeing as I love Berlin) but it had been a great way to see more of the country, and was a fantastic experience overall.
On Tuesday, I decided to visit a sort of museum site in Freidrichstrasse. Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos there, but it was a great learning experience. The site was placed near what was once a checkpoint between East and West Berlin, and there was a lot of historical information and some great videos. One particularly interesting video showed news footage that was shown on a particular day in history, and how West Berlin portrayed this news in contrast to East Berlin. While I had already known a fair bit about the division of Berlin, the exhibit portrayed for me how long the wall had really been there for…while I used to think of it as simply a small piece of history which was once there and now isn’t, it was really up for over 20 years! The video footage from when the wall was put up was in black and white, whereas it was colour television by the time it came down. Perhaps a ‘duh’ observation, but it was a bit more interesting to think of it that way since it was around for a significant portion of some peoples’ lifetime.
The only other newsworthy event I can think of at this time was having another shift at ‘The Pub’. As far as I can tell, I have now been hired…I have yet to give them my financial information or sign a contract, but I have three more shifts this week. Yay! From what I can tell of the restaurant so far, I think I’m going to enjoy working there 🙂
However, at this point in time I should go and help with dinner preparations. The main event of this evening is sandwiches made with fancy, fresh turkish bread.
Thank you for reading!