Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Birks lead me on....

I've been in Germany since last Monday sleep on the plane - much too excited!  As you can see, I bought a new pair of Birkenstocks in honour of going to Germany, and they are leading me home.

Apparently, I had nothing better to do than to take pictures of my feet at the airport:  Perhaps one way to calm the pre-flight nerves, which were made instantly worse when the Air Canada staff told me to step aside from the boarding line-up...what now?

They tell me I can't get on the plane because my passport expires in three months and that the Canadian government requires that your passport expiry date be be 3 months beyond your return date.  I return August 16 - my passport expires Nov. 14!   Caution, all you would-be travellers....

I say that I have to be there, that people are expecting me.  I say that I have a return flight booked with their airline and I won't be staying in Germany.  Tense minutes pass while the supervisor calls some unspecified superior to try to get permission for me to board - they call last boarding call for my flight, and my heart is sinking....

Finally the supervisor gets the go-ahead and tells me to run for the flight and waggles a cautionary finger at me to renew my passport the moment I get home.  Fancy that, my international teaching career almost ended before it even started!

Of course, I made it - and here we rounded a corner and I got my first view of the Alps in 35 years!  Ubersee is about 130 kms from Munich.  And you take the AutoBahn to Salzburg...

....and get off at Ubersee, which borders a very large lake called Chiemsee - or sometimes the Bavarian Sea.

And it is all so lovely, and different to my usual view, of course...and I have been made to feel so welcome!  Galerie Friesleben and its inhabitants are wonderful - many meals, and glasses of wine and capuccinos have been consumed while getting the gallery ready for its first workshops and official opening.  

On Tuesday, I went sightseeing on the islands in the lake with a lovely woman who lives in the village and knows tons about the area.  I fell in love with a tiny cemetery outside a very old church beside the monastery on the island - much history here, and the graves so beautifully tended and so individually marked!

closeups of the stone pattern

an architect's grave, apparently...

It rained hard coming back from the islands, but some of the mountains remained in the sun.

And back to Ubersee and Galerie Friesleben utterly exhausted to my wonderful little apartment (supplied with lovely food, thanks Ariane!) and this view,  where the clouds around the mountains seem to change hourly!

My first workshop starts tomorrow at 9 am and I had a chance to have dinner with the 18 participants tonight.  I sat with the Russian group of 6 tonight, but I am certain that tomorrow by noon, I will know all of the group much better - another  group form the Netherlands, some from  Germany!

Can't wait!  

Hard not to sound like a travel brochure - but it really is spectacular here!  It was fun to go to the supermarket too (yesterday) and spend minutes puzzling out the ingredients with my high school German!