Monday, March 15, 2010

Cultural Lesson on German "RUND" Geburtstag (part one) On the way to the party!

Here we are again on our way to Clausen in the Rheinland Pfalz (also known as Rhineland Palatinate) area of Germany for a 60th birthday party.
You know when you have arrived in this particular region of the Pfalz because it becomes mountainous and all you can see is trees. In fact, the Palatinate Forest is the largest contiguous forest in Germany.  Most Americans incorrectly think that the Black Forest is the largest forest in Germany.  This is such an important Forest that it has been made part of the international biosphere reserve by UNESCO.  Honestly folks, what you get here is unspoiled landscapes, castles and castle ruins and large sandstone rock formations. Sadly, the weather did not cooperate and we have had to take these pictures on a misty, drizzly day. The above picture gives you an idea of what you see when you enter the Pfalz.
This sandstone rock formation is called the "Teufelstisch".  Translated it means the "Devil's table" You find this formation near Hinterweidenthal  in the south most tip of the Plafz.

The story associated with the Teufelstisch is about how the devil, looking for a place to rest and eat on a stormy night could not  find anything nearby. Being inventive he picks up a few rocks to pile up to make his table. After refreshing himself he leaves the site and the storm passes. The next day everybody around is frightened except for one man. He claims he will sit and eat at the same table the following night. The villagers watch as he leaves them. At midnight a bloodcurdling cry is heard and the next day the daring soul is found dead at the base of the Teufelstisch. I onced asked an old man in our village why the poor man would have been found dead.  Without blinking an eye he replied with a gleam in his eye, "He got what he deserved! Christians should never share a table with the devil."
Quite so, I thought!

Mac insisted we leave early and we found ourselves 3 hours early for the party. Not a problem! We headed to Rodalben and the Hotel Pfalzerhof Restaurant to see our old neighbor Ruth who we knew would be working. We stopped in the bakery part to see what the owner had been up to making her chocolate bunnies and had a cup of coffee. Thought you'd enjoy the pictures. They had decorated the restaurant for Easter. No one decorates like the Germans.

The typical German Easter Egg Tree.

The German flowered Easter Basket.

Let's not forget our sheep which remind us we the sheep in God's pastures.

We enjoyed our coffee and Ruth started setting the table by us. 

 She said, "Oh, you know the people who will be sitting at this table for dinner tonight."  Turns out that they were two lovely couples from our choir in Clausen. Karl (nicknamed "der Badger") and Emsha.  Herr Badger turned 85 last year and his wife Emsha turned 8o last November. The other couple was Karl and Annie. They were coming to celebrate Annie's 73rd  birthday along with Annie and Karl's children and grandchildren. We learned that "der Badger" had a brain hemorrage and had lost eyesight in one eye and the other Karl was learning to walk again after a bad heart attack earlier in the year.  Ruth insisted we stay to greet them.  She had Mac hold the door the open as they came into the restaurant. It was worth staying to see the surprise and joy on their faces. The phrase they kept repeating ,which was music to our ears, was "Didn't we have the most wonderful 4 years while you lived in Clausen?"  We chatted for a bit about beautiful memories and wished them a lovely evening. Then it was off to Clausen
for Erhard's 60th birthday.
Mac gives this "Happy Accident" seeing some old friends we didn't expect to see 3 thumbs up.

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