Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Magical Merry Christmas

I still have so much to catch you up on.  It is hard to believe today is Christmas Eve.  My trip to Germany is quickly coming to a close.

Earlier this week I bought a ticket to go see an Italian men's choir, La Montanara, perform Christmas music at the Residenz - the former palace of all of the Bavarian monarchs.  Obviously, I chose La Montanara over the Vienna Symphony Orchestra because, well, eye candy is better than ear candy any day, right?  So, Tuesday evening I got all dressed up and went out on the town for dinner and a concert.  I settled on the Lowenbrau Zum Franziskaner Beer Hall for dinner.

As I waited for my dinner of Bavarian three mushroom soup and Franciscan pork shoulder with belly bacon and bread dumplings I took in the sights around me.  Old German beer steins line the walls of a room filled with long wooden tables, benches and booths.  Men and women shared meals of liver loaf and "semi-warm" potato salad over a Lowenbrau Original.  I have to say, there is something great about being in a city where you never have to worry about ordering the proper wine with your dinner.  Every table in the hall had a basket of pretzels and a couple of liters of local brew on it.  While the younger crowd was dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, they were far outnumbered by the more properly dressed, mature diners in traditional Bavarian clothing.  Even a few family dogs joined in for dinner, waiting patiently under the tables of their owners.

Shortly after I placed my order, the waitress returned with my bowl of soup.  The soup, second only to my grandmother's cauliflower cheese soup, was absolutely incredible.

After finishing my soup, I was already seriously second-guessing my decision to order the pork shoulder.  Nevertheless, I took a deep breath and a sip of beer, in the vein hope that I might clear a little room.  While I was in Nuremberg I was told by a waiter that the Franciscan pork shoulder could only be found in and around Nuremberg and it was not to be missed.  I feared that having had such a short stay in Nuremberg I had missed my chance, so when I saw it on the menu Tuesday night, I knew I couldn't pass it up twice.  While I was waiting for the main course, I watched the American wearing the fanny pack across the room from me, order an Evian water in a beer hall and blow his nose into his handkerchief.  For a moment, I worried I stood out as much as he did.  And while three different people have assumed I was a local and stopped me to ask for directions here in Munich, the sad truth is I do.  After all, when my meal came, I pulled out my camera...again!

One of these days, I'll come to terms with the fact that there is no shame in looking like a tourist.  In the meantime, I must admit, I still turn a bit red every time I pull out my camera to take a picture!

After eating as much of my dinner as I could possibly consume, I made my way down the street to the Residenz theater.  Of course, despite being incredibly full, I thought it best to stop in to the local chocolate shop for a little after dinner treat.  I bought a bag of chocolate covered gingerbread and a bag of the jelly orange slices my grandpa used to share with me when I was a little girl.  He likes all things German and I think he would have been smiling down at me the other night as I enjoyed the city.

I arrived at the theater, checked my coat and managed to find my seat without too much trouble, considering I don't know more than 5 German words.  I just love Christmas - I know I've mentioned that a few times - and I was really excited for the music that night.  Imagine my surprise when I was expecting 26 Italian "Il Divo-type" men and out onto the stage walked 26 men all over the age of 50!  I literally giggled at myself in my seat.  I mean, who picks out which Christmas concert they are going to go to based on what they think the performers will look like!  Nevertheless, La Montanara was amazing.  I found myself closing my eyes and just taking in the music throughout the evening.  The entire performance was a cappella and it was breathtaking.

What an amazingly magical night.  While being away from family and friends at Christmas is never easy, people do it every year.  And how lucky am I to be celebrating Christmas in a place that I believe knows how to celebrate the birth of our Savior better than anywhere else?  As I write this, I am listening to some of my favorite Christmas carols, enjoying some traditional (and untraditional) German snacks and getting ready for Christmas Eve service in Munich.

Merry Christmas from Munich, my friends and family.  Sending love to you all!

1 comment:

  1. Merry, Merry Christmas to you, too, Rebekah. Those over 50 (age) singers would have looked pretty good to ME!;>) I am so happy that you are having a good time. We'll all say a little prayer for you tomorrow when we gather with Tara and the girls! Love to you- Diana