In August 2020, we spend a four day vacation in and around Ruhpolding in Oberbayern (Chiemgau). It has been the first time since the start of the pandemic that I am staying in a hotel, going for shopping and eating in restaurants every day.
Tourists are back in Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria). The hotels seem to be well booked. But the atmosphere has changed. The tourists are primarily Germans, except for a few Dutch, a few Englishmen and a few Swiss (besides me).
In shops, we have to wear masks. Some shops take great care, have installed separate entry and exit doors, restrict the number of clients inside and offer disinfectant. In these shops, I feel safe to do shopping. Other shops are careless: Entry and exit are not separated, many clients crowd between narrow shelves. Such shops I leave out.
In restaurants, we have to put on our masks, when moving away from our table and the waiters also wear masks (or vizors). While some waiters follow the rules carefully, others do not cover their noses with their masks which makes it all useless. In our hotel, there is no breakfast buffet. Instead we have to indicate on a list, what we want for breakfast, and in the morning, we receive everything on a tray. The bar is lonely, the jolly barkeeper of last year has left the hotel.
Some beach places at the lakes are crowded, while others allow to keep distance, and the personnel respects the rules. We particularly enjoyed our swim at the small and less well-known Tüttensee with the friendly and corona conscious personnel and with corona aware guests.
The Bavarian language gives orders a friendly touch
In a restaurant in Ruhpolding, I found this invitation to pay attention and to keep distance. “Obacht geb’n” means “pay attention” (“Obacht” = “Achtung” or “attention”). “Abstand hoit’n” stands for “keep distance” (“hoit’n” means “halten” or “keep”). And, of course, you have to wear the mask inside (“hier bitte mit Mundschutz”).
In this restaurant, guests are invited to come in (“kemmt’s eina”) and the invitation to keep distance is kept in “normal” German (“bitte Abstand halten” = “please keep distance”).
Touching testimonies of children about the pandemic
In the baroque church St. Pankratius at Reit im Winkl, we come across these thoughts about the pandemic written down by children.
Let us zoom in some of the testimonies.
“Keine Trachtenprobe” means “no trying on traditional costumes”… and “und Pappa ist öffter daheim” translates as “and papa is at home more often”, whereby “ff” in “öffter” emphasizes “öfter” (“more often”) and also “pp” in “pappa” makes him more present. Children have their own spelling rules to express their feelings.
“Händeschütteln” or “shaking hands” is obviously forbidden.
“Oma und Opa sind alleine” – “grandma and grandpa are alone”. The girl has to stay outside the house of her grand-parents, how touching. She is even wearing a mask.
“Keine Flieger” – “no airplanes”. Yes, the sky has become much more quiet. The girl wears a mask and holds her hair back with a beautiful ribbon decorated with hearts.
“Warum können sich manche Leute nicht an die Regeln halten? Warum?” – “Why can some people not follow the rules? Why?” And “Demonstranten – wieso?” – “demonstrators – why?” The demonstrators want “keine Masken” (“no masks”), postulate “wir wollen raus!” (“we want to go outside”) and claim that “Corona ist blöd” (Corona is dumb”).
I do feel with these touching observations and remarks of the children of Reit im Winkl. They are so young and go through this pandemic experience with their eyes open. The pandemic is even difficult for us adults. I heard a high level Swiss politician say: “Life has become less safe and it is less fun”.
The baroque church that displays the children’s thoughts is painted in soft pink. Pink is the colour of happiness. The pink colour contrasts with the moving observations of the children, but it also gives an atmosphere of hope… I do hope that these children and all our children will go through more serene times with less worries pretty soon.