Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Snow City

While most here in our little German village are resigned to snow, we are still (mostly) delighting in the novelty of it. Last winter was bitterly cold with little snow. This year has been snowier and not quite so cold. Snow first fell in late October and has been coming down steadily ever since. While I grow weary of scrapping the ice of the outside (and sometimes the inside too!), the kids still get excited about shoveling snow, make snow bricks and pulling each other around in a sled.
One of the nice features of our village is it’s excellent sledding hill. Though the kids busy schedules don’t allow for us to go there every day, we have gotten in some good sledding days. The hill is pretty steep, starting on a residential street and ending in a school’s yard. All kids zoom down, while parents and others stand around vaguely supervising. I’m always amazed at how many little babies I see bundled up and in strollers, waiting for older siblings to finish their fun. As our kids trudge up the hill, they often talk about climbing Mt. Everest. As I listen to the our neighbors working their way up the hill, I often can pick out the word “Everest” out of fast smattering of German.
Our village Gauting is about 20,000 people but honestly, feels much smaller than that. There is one major traffic light, one S-bahn stop and lots and lots of agricultural fields. It is not uncommon to get stopped behind a tractor on any of the major roads, though usually it is someone riding a bike very slowly during a snow storm that I get caught behind
With a long legacy of snow, Gauting has been around since the Bronze Age. It reached a high point during Roman times as it was on the crossroad of a major Roman trade way between what is now Augsburg and Salzburg. An interesting Gauting belief is that Charlemange, ruler of France, Italy and if fact Western Europe, was born here in 742. Because of this belief, Gauting’s crest includes the imperial coat of arms. After I read an article to the kids about King Richard III’s body being dug up recently in a UK parking lot, they are convinced we have a chance of finding Charlemange's burial site. I am pretty sure Charlemange is buried in a well marked sarcophagus, not within our citylimits, but it makes for easier motivation when going for walks.
A favorite place to walk is in the fields behind our house. Most farmers in Germany allow walkers to cross their fields.  In fact, we are now proud part-time farmers ourselves. We are signed up to start sowing our own 20 meter long row in the field behind us. Of course, the snow has to melt first!