The exploration of happiness

I always ask myself, what makes me happy and how can I achive happiness. Let’s say happiness is a kind of satisfied feeling, sometimes it could reach also hights almost into euphoria.

First of all, happiness is nothing you get from outside, it is the way you see your life and it is not a constant feeling. To feel happiness one need the full range of ups and downs which life offers otherwise all tastes mouldy. Sounds strange, but most of the time I also enjoy the downs in my life, I know they won’t last forever and I will experience better times, but what I can learn here is important for my further life. Nevertheless humans always try to pursue happiness. We know the best moments in live cannot be planned or bought. So I will examine my efforts for happiness here on that blog. In which moments I felt happiness, eigher the satisfied or the almost euphoric ones. Which effort did it cost and is there a way to happiness to be planned?

On Travels

I remember our roud trip to denmark a few years ago. We didn’t plan anything, but it was a perfect trip. I just remember these old thatched house we found by chance with its cute danish landlords in Fyn. The region arount Toro huse wasnt mentioned in any guide, so we had been the only tourists enjoyed real danish lifestyle and found a perfect beach.

The beach feld like a close caribbean sea and the feeling was euphoric, because I didn’t expect this and felt lucky and honored to experience this.

Happiness factor: euphoric

Expected: no

Place: Nature

What made me happy there: The wind, the waves, an empty beach with just natur around me, silence exept the natural sounds, having time

 

 

 

Werbeanzeigen

Nature is making my meals

The moment I’m really into natural food. I’ve just finished my third period of feasting in one year. After one week of eating nothing, I’m always mindful, when it comes to eating. As we have spring and the sun is pulling me into nature I’m taking my meals directly out of the fields and forests. So everything is fresh, full of vitamins and minerals.

These are the herbs I’m taking: Dandalion (only the young leaves, sometimes also the blossoms), daisys (only the blossoms), the top of nettles and white dead nettles, only the youngest leaves of goutweed, chick weed, sometimes the blossoms of the horned violet and of course the king of wild herbs: wild garlic. From the garden I sometimes take lemon balm, chive and parsley.

All this is almost enough for the whole day.

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Supermarket with a view…

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Wild garlic is everywhere in the wetland alongside the Danube. There is never a chance to confuse it with may flowers, because the are growing later, in a different area, they have a slightly different shape and colour and the most important identifying feature is the smell of garlic, which only the ramson has.

 

Recipes

Wild herb salad

Wash the leaves thouroughly with warm water. The nettles are rolled in a dishclothes squezzed separetly until all the tiny hairs are brocken. I let all the leaves dry for a moment and arrange them onto the plate with grinded or sliced root vegetables like beetroots, carotts, parsnip or parsley roots.

Then I have two variations:

– Bavarian-austrian veggie style
This variation comes with a sliced apple, unfilterd apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, honey, pumpkin seed oil and freshly grounded horseradish and sometimes also with pumkin seeds and other regional nuts and seeds like maplenuts, hazelnuts or sunflower seeds.

– Mediterranean veggie style
The sweet part is contributed from a handfull of raisins, the salty part comes from olives and the dressing is made from lemon juice, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil.

 

Wild garlic soup

Sweat a diced onion with butter until translucent, add two big and diced potatoes, infuse the mixture with half a litre of vegetable stock and cook it until the potatoes are ready. Then add the wild garlic and liquidise it. After tasting the soup with salt and pepper it is ready to be served.

 

It coulnd’t be more easy and fresh. The best is: It is helping against spring fever!

Road trip to Italy: First Stop Bologna

While everybody is travelling to lake Garda, we leave the rest of the Germans in the traffic jam on their way to the lake and driving towards the flat landscape around river Po.

The highway is almost empty now. Our eys have time to wander across the landscape, with it’s wide fields. From time to time there is an old house or a big city like Modena. It is hot and humide. Once this area was all a swamp and you still can feel this.

It’s a long time I had been to Italy, because it is to close and my wanderlust is pulling me always far away. But after we have left South Tirol and lake Garda, we got an almost exotic feeling – the landscape is different, the driving style is different and also the smell of the air differs a lot. Italian lifestyle is far away from the German one, of course especially if you leave the Tourist centres. We want to discover a different Italy, that is why our first stop is Bologna. Almost undiscovered by Tourstis, espcially German tourists, although it is just five hours to drive and the kitchen of Emiglia Romagna should be one of the best in the world.

We arrived in the late afternoon. Not yet time for Italians to eat. So we stumbled across the long arcades of these old and vibrant city. It was a saturday afternoon, everybody prepeared for going out. Bologna is also called the stomach of Italy, in the small lanes of the oldest party we discovered tastes and smells and finally ended up in a restaurant our host recommended.

 

 

In these restaurant they did not speak English, like almost everywhere in Italy beyond the tourist spots. So it was a complete surprise, what we got, we just pointed on the handwritten card. The handwriting was another point, why it was so difficult to read the menue. I was lucky, got the best food I have ever eaten in Italy so far, called Pasta ripiena  or something like that, which was a kind of strudel filled with ricotta and some herbs. It was served with cold, tasty white wine and we enjoyed that meal with a view out of the window to the old columns of one of the arcades of Blogna, around us only Italians. First we wanted to sit outside, but all the good places had been reserved on that saturday evening.

 

 

In the morning a warm ray of sunlight and a little breeze of wind trough the open window woke me up. The curtains were dancing in the rhythm the soft and warm wind suggested. Children where already playing in the park in front of our Airbnb. Our host was still sleeping, what would you expect from an Italian artist? I wandered slowly through his arty flat, had a glance in very old Italian books, picures from
Weiterlesen „Road trip to Italy: First Stop Bologna“

A visit at Schliersee

Finally it became winter and despite the Deutsche Bahn has anounced delays because of a phanomenon quite unexpected during winter „heavy snow fall“, I have made my way to Schliersee to spend a few days there. In comparision to its neighbourg Tegernsee it has preserved some of it’s original spirit and devoleped in a „natural way“. Tegernsee looks more like a Bavarian Disney Land for the upper class to me with it’s traditions and fancy hotels around the lake. Schliersee is also the home of one of my favourite satirist or better humourists: Gerhard Polt. So it is even twice a region worth visiting. Third is, that it is in my experience one of the two places in lower alpine valleys besides Ettal (Garmisch) in which the snow arrives at first. So it was also this time. It started snowing when we arrived the entrance of Schliersee valley in Hausham, the snow fall was even heavier at Spitzingsee, where one can walk from Neuhaus at the south river side of Schliersee in around one hour to Spitzingsee. There is also the possibilty to hike in different ways, all quite easy in one to three hours to Tegernsee.

 

 

The satirical observer: Funeral service in lower Bavaria

November is gone – this month is traditionally a month of grief and devoted to the deceased. On the last day of that month I was on funeral on the very country side of lower bavaria, in the middle of Hallertau. The area is listed as the largest continuous hop-planting area in the world and about this fact the people are rather proud of.

It is a conservative area, where the CSU still has a secure and unquestioned majority even in the latest elections. A place where teenagers already say: „This has been always like that“ or „We have always done this like that“. Everything should stay like it is and then comes brother death and changes everything. If you are as an observer on such an event you can clearly see, they do not have concepts to cope with the fact that death is taking everybody and nothing stays like it has been planned by CSU, the law of catholic church or the mightiest farmer in the region. They try to suffocate it with repression and empty traditions.

There must be an unwritten law which all the mourners are following and the following must be the basic points of that act of empty tradition:

  1. As a mourner don’t talk about the person who has died. Prever to talk about the other graves, the flowers, which absend relatives have sent, make sharp notes about other persons dress code and behaviour for example if they are whearing a brown cloured jacket instead of to appear completely dressed in black or when they do not kneel down in the church. Another good topic for the ceremony before the service directly in front of the coffin is to talk about money and the inheritance.
  2. As a priest don’t talk much about the deceased person. Prever to drop her or his name inconspiciously during the whole funeral service. Nobody should be reminded on the death of a special person. This is why nobody has ever cried on such a funeral service. It is rather useful beeing a priest in such a society, because it reduces your preparations down to find out the name of the deceased and set it into the intended positions during the service.
  3. You are forced to invite everyone to the funeral feast, also the potenial legacy hunters and show everyone that you are hating them, but you are so kind to invite them and let them have their meal on your cost. Observe them the whole day and and tell everybody what they have done or planning to do.
  4. The closer you are related to the late person, the darker you have to be dressed, the closer you walk behind the coffin… but on the grave you have to wait the longest to say goodbye to your relative. Protocol is so unfair. Everybody will watch at you, will send little signs of sympathy (played or real feelings) to you.
  5. Be aware that in a traditional small church men and women will be separated even in grief. Women are placed on the left side (left, traditionally the wrong or bad side) and the good right hand side is reserved for the men.
  6. There are codes on the flowers alongside the grave: In love (what the fuck had he to do with that woman?), in beloved memory (nothing special, you cannot do no wrong if you choose for this term as relative or friend), simply „Farewell“ means always he / she is close and had expected a higher rank in the testament.
  7. I have tested how strict they stick to their traditions, even when somebody disturbs these rules: As the deceased was my aunt I walked with my mother directly behind the other aunt and the granddaughters of my late aunt. I didn’t feel the close releationship so I stopped a bit away from the mortuary chapel and my mother. That made the others confused: Who the fuck is she, she seemed to be a close realtive now she stops and leaves a gap of around two metres. It stopped the march of all the mourners and caused a little chaos. They couldn’t overtake me, because I’m closer by blood to the deceased than they are, but they cannot leave a gap. So they became quite nervous and were glad, when the march moved again from the chapel to the „final destination“ and I moved with it closer to the other relatives.
  8. Afterwards all the mourners are invited to the funeral feast in the restaurant closest to the cemetery. Normally nobody sees themself as invited and must be convinced by the relatives to join them. It is used to be coy even as an relative. If you can not ward the invitation and let yourself be talked around by the relatives to join the feast. These events are even worse than the funeral itself. The atmosphere is rather rigid. An uncle is telling obscene jokes and some simpleminded people laugh at them doesn’t relax the unspoken feelings under the surface and is just a distraction. The most people in lower Bavaria are inclined to drink to much beer and even more on such ocassions. It is like a weeding without dancing. The relatives have to pay for and you can drink without beeing desturbed by dancers, or other traditions like on a wedding. You can drink and say you are mourning and drowning grief in beer. Remind just one rule, don’t talk about death and don’t reminde somebody that somebody will never come back and drink with you. Prefer to talk about money, politics and all the other hard problems or say distractions.

Traditions should make life easier, but all too often it complicates life…

 

Favorit Christmas traditions

I like winter, not so much all the Christmas hustle and bustle, but there are some traditions related to Christmas I really like. Especially those, which have to do more with nature and cocooning oneself alone or together with friends in a cosy place or just share time with them, instead of beeing in direct relationship with the Christmas feast.

As the most of the Bavarians are catholic they believe in difference to their protestant fellow christians in Immaculate Conception and a range of saints. This brings a lot of customs during the whole Advent. The most are just celebrated in the church like Immaculate Conception on the 8th of decembre. Some made it into the everyday life during the time of wating for more light and the Messiah. By the way children in Bavaria believe in Christ Child, which brings all the presents on 24th.

St. Nicholas‘ Day – 6th of decembre

Often confused with Santa Clause in Anglo-Saxon tradition, St. Nicholas brings normally small presents just to the „good“ children, all the others are getting a punishment by his companion Krampus. Krampus is a dark character and has his origins in the heathen ages. He was once a demon embodied the darkness during that time and the dark parts of the human soul. In contrast to him stands the holy Nicholas, he represents the christianity, the hope for the Messiah (the light) and the good itself.

As I was a little child my parents hired Nicholas and Krampus or dressed themselves as these characters, to hand me some small presents for shortening the time to wait for the bigger ones on Christmas. But there was always a reminder to be a good person, otherwise Krampus will take me with him. My mother told me always, when she was a child the Krampus in fact took children with him and beat them. Today Krampus went out of date and the St. Nicholas presents instead got bigger. When the children grew a little older they just put a boot outside the door and Nicholas, most of the time it had been my mother, filled it with nuts, tangerines and chocolate.

This year I found a little St. Nicholas made from choclate on my keyboard at work. I guess it had been my boss. But nobody knows…

St. Barbaras Day

Another tradition is related to St. Barbara and comes with more understatement, that is why it became almost forgotten. On 4th of decembre I have cut some branches from a cherry tree and took them inside in a vase. By Christmas they should be in bloome as a sign for hope. I like to have pieces of nature in my home, I love trees and I’m always curious if it works. Some years it does, some not.

But aren’t they beautiful? I found a tree on the middle of a field which branches were covered with lichins. It is now my decoraton for the whole Advent and let’s see if it works this year.

 

 

 

 

 

Above the clouds

Last week we were hiking in the alps, more precisely we chose a little mountain called Osterfeuerkopf in Eschenlohe, close to Garmisch, only 1350 metres high. So we didn’t expect on this misty and cloudy morning, that we will get a view. The only thing which counted for us was walking steep up and down. The path itself was very pleasant – a small one, over roots and rock, shaded by trees. That’s why it would also be a good hike during hot summer days. It started steep from the beginning and ended on a very crowded and small place on the summit of these little mountain. To our surprise we where standing above the clouds with an overwhelming view to the mountains of Murnau, Garmisch with Zugspitze and Benediktbeuren with the Benediktenwand.

When were on the very start, a women told us, that we should hurry up, because on the summit it would be sunny. We didn’t believe her because it was so misty, cold and grey around us that this proposition seemed rather unrealistic to us. I went on days like these on higher mountains and didn’t have any view, except to my outstrechted hand.

This brings me to another point, why I love hiking. The excercise in the special alpine nature makes people most of the time friendly and talkative. High on a mountain I always have had good conversations with complete strangers. Another reason why I should go more often into the alps. It isn’t that far away and such a small hike gives you so much more than a long flight and a sunbath on some exotic beach.