Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gast in Bayern

Thirty years ago this fall, in the autumn of 1980, my family had an adventure that made a lasting impact on all of us. I thought I'd share a little of the story of our months in Bavaria. And what would a blog post be without a few pictures?

My dad met a fellow scientist at a conference he attended in Ames, Iowa during the 1979-1980 school year. The two of them had research interests in common, Dad had an upcoming sabbatical, and Herr Professor Busse, being a welcoming and generous man, suggested Dad come to the Hochschule der Bundeswehr in Munich during his leave. My dad was always up for an adventure (a few years earlier, he had consulted with a new university in Algiers and helped them set up their engineering program.) In short order the arrangements were made. Mom had just begun a new job and had to arrange an extended absence.

The three of us kids had mixed reactions to the announcement. I don't remember what I thought about it. Jane was supposed to start college that fall, so she must have been nervous. Ellen, in her senior year of high school, did NOT want to go. She figured it all out- she would stay in Cleveland and live with Grandma. Didn't happen. All of us went.

Dad left before we did and arranged for a rented flat in Ottobrunn, a neighborhood just south and west of Munich, near the university where he would be working. The government-run university loaned us dormitory furniture. It was rustic but comfortable. Ellen and I were enrolled in the Munich International School, which is even further south near the town of Starnberg. Jane went off to Murnau, just about as far south in Germany as you can get, where she spent two months studying German at the Goethe Institut.

We lived there from August through New Years. The adventure changed us as a family and individually. It's hard to believe it was 30 years ago!

And now, pictures!

The signature spires of Munich's Frauenkirche

Our new home town.

Inside our Spartan apartment. I brought a cassette tape deck and Army surplus headphones.

Mom in her kitchen.

The driveway of MIS.

The upper school, then housed in converted stable buildings of Schloss Buchhof. The campus is a little fancier now!

In a Regensburg alleyway, with Herr Busse.

Autumn in Munich means Octoberfest! Here is our favorite tent.

They make pretzels big.

They make beer glasses even bigger. Prost!

We took many weekend trips. Here is a view from the wine growing hills near Heilbronn.

We took an extended trip into Italy- Venice and Florence.

In Salzburg, at the house in which Mozart was born.

Charlie Brown Christmas tree in our apartment.


Jane said...

How can that have been 30 years ago?! Shall I bring my photo album with me when I come in November?

Renee said...

Cool pics! I remember waiting for you guys at the Cleveland airport when you arrived home - we had just moved to Cleveland from Tennessee and I was 9 years old - I didn't know where you had gone, but my Mom was so excited for you to come back!