walking into history

This was an exciting day for me. My friend Nick was in Berlin when The Wall came down, and I’ve always been envious of that experience. I’ve been near historical events, but I’m not sure I want to be anywhere near the tanks or the stress that seem to be involved in real historical moments.

However, today was the twenty-second anniversary of that event. The Reunification of Germany. One of the most momentous things that’s happened in our lifetime. I don’t care how old you are.

Each year, the celebration for the event goes to a different capital of a German federal state and this year? Horst Seehofer, the Minister President of Bavaria, is the head of the Bundesrat, which is one house of the federal government, and his state’s capital is my adopted hometown.

Munich – that’s right.

So, I got up early. Walked my dogs to the event and spent nearly the whole day there. With a few healthy breaks, I might add. Here’s my walk toward the festivities with a bit about said festivities.

Elvira Straße round the corner from where I live

Then I turned the corner into Nymphenburger Straße, which is the old King’s Road that the royals took to their summer castle. What might that castle be called? Nymphenburger Schloß, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

colours in the trees and the Bianchi shop up the street

Ella and Louis love every day equally, but I like to kid myself that they were sensitive to my excitement.

‘Can you smell that?’ Ella asks her brother. ‘It’s the whiff of Reunification.’

Something I didn’t see nearly as often here as I do today – the German flag. Thanks to football and some sort of national healing, the co-perpetrators of the Second World War can finally say they’re proud of their country without being accused of being Fascists.

The Black, Red and Gold of the flag of the Federal Republic of Germany

Please don’t ask me what this building was originally used for, but now it’s part of the Technische Üniversität.

reminds me of Hamburg, not Munich

Love ivy on a wall, and while these green and then later red leaves aren’t actually ivy, they crawl up the wall in the same way. It’s one of my favourite sights in autumn.

nice, eh?

Now, we’ve finally arrived at the party. Here’s the Theatinerkirche on the Odeonsplatz:

beautiful day, eh?

Every party in Bavaria demands at least one Dachshund. This one had two.

‘A Hund ist er scho…’

There’s so much more to tell you about this day, but it’s late. It’ll have to wait for another day.

Next year’s festivities? Up the road in Stuttgart.

3 October 2013? Wanna go?

 

 

a Dachshund wrestling the devil on his newly built bridge

the devil's bridge

Have been in the car quite a lot in the last few days. I’ve lived in places where you really need a car and then I’ve lived in places where public transportation makes having a car unnecessary, and I much prefer the latter. But I’m no Luddite. As I stumble through life, I’m in awe at what marvels have been accomplished by earlier people. Many people would list recent technological advances as mind-blowing, but I often haven’t even gotten round to appreciating them because I’m still pondering the things that were built long ago. Such as the devil’s bridge that’s pictured above.

The legend is that there was a peasant tired of walking all the way down to the valley on one side and then back up the other. He made a deal with the devil where the bridge would be finished overnight if the peasant agrees that the devil gets the soul of the first living thing that crosses the bridge. The peasant tosses and turns in the night worried that someone’s going to lose his soul on account of his selfish pact.

Early the next morning, the devil’s standing on the opposite side of the bridge as the peasant arrives and it dawns on him that he’s going to be the first one to cross and lose his soul. In the last possible moment, he picks up a stick and throws it as far as he can toward the devil. The peasant’s dog fetches the stick and the devil is furious that he’s lost the soul he was expecting to collect.

You know the obvious question, right? What about the dog’s soul? The legend has it that the devil storms off in a furious state, but why wouldn’t he be as happy with that dog’s soul as the peasant’s? In his position, I think I’d have more use for the dog’s soul. Really.

Anyway, I know it’s a fable…not sure what its telling was supposed to teach to its listeners, but there it is. Maybe the point was that you could beat the devil if you thought of a solution quickly. Or if you treated your dog as if he was dispensable, you’d be able to get ahead in life.

You all know this is an incredibly dog-friendly blog, so we’re not going to mindlessly swallow this nonsense. This blog has even been called a Dachshund Blog, which I’m beginning to think wouldn’t be such a bad thing. How would a Dachshund handle this scenario? He’d definitely go running after the stick. No question. Devil be damned, as it were.

And you can say a lot about a Dachshund, but you could never accuse him of lacking soul. My suspicion is that whatever the devil does with the souls he’s won in such trickery, he’d be a bit overwhelmed by the over-sized Dachshund soul that he unexpectedly got his hands on.

I’ve often said that I can’t work tumblr properly. If I were good at tumblr, I’d go locate a cartoon of the devil wrestling a Dachshund.  Can any of you locate one of those?

chocolate spewing forth

Mud cake with chocolate sprinkles by Leon Brooks

Had a very interesting conversation with Andreas Heinekroon, Elizabeth Francois, and Jim W (if you’ve been here since the beginning, he’s the one who was unknowingly lured into trolling the comments of this blog by Lisa Galaviz) about chocolate being poisonous.

Apparently everyone was aware that chocolate was poisonous for dogs, but Andreas informed us that it was also poisonous for humans. Only in massive quantities it must be said, but it’s true nevertheless. In case you’re wondering, it’s 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs) of chocolate for the average human. As long as you eat less than that, you should be ok.

But for dogs it’s a different story, and for some dog breeds chocolate is particularly dangerous. For whatever reason, the Dachshund is a dog for whom chocolate is especially dangerous. You know, I’m not sure if that’s even true. I’ve heard it over the years from so many sources that I’ve just always taken in at face value.

See I have a history with these little weiner dogs. My grandmother had one when I was really small. My parents got one when everyone left home and they could enjoy co-habitating with dog rather than sons. We know quite a lot about the dog that is the Dachshund.

Which leads me to my story. When I was in school, I had a friend who had her own Dachshund called ‘Peterson‘.* Like so many of his breed, this little guy lived for mealtimes. His feeding schedule was strictly adhered to and, as a result of his daydreaming only about eating, he quite literally inhaled his food. I’m rather certain that if you inquired, he’d have informed you that the amount of food he was getting was not nearly enough.

I don’t remember how it happened exactly, but there was a bag of Ghirardelli chocolate in the pantry, and Peterson knew it. My suspicion has always been that he’d planned to make his move for weeks if not months. Someone inadvertently left the pantry door open, everyone was going about their business, and suddenly it was discovered that the package of chocolate was now an empty plastic bag. Peterson‘s mom and I reacted instantaneously. We both knew how dangerous chocolate was for this breed and that time was of the essence.

We scooped him up and rushed him into the bathtub. Even though it had only been a few minutes since he scarfed down this huge bag of chocolate, he was already looking a bit queasy. This was not going to be nice. Actually, it was going to be the opposite of nice.

I’m going to refrain from making any bulimia jokes, but I want it to state for the record that I showed a modicum of reserve. If that chocolate started to digest, it was going to be really dangerous for that miniature dog. We had to make him regurgitate and we had to do it fast.

If there was a more graceful way to go about this than sticking your finger down his throat, well then I wish you’d been there to tell us. We could’ve really used that precious information right about then. But without an alternative, it was a bit of fingertip down the gullet.

One of us was holding Peterson over the tub while the other aimed his frontside like a garden hose toward the drain. Am sure that’s as graphic as I need to get. Suffice it to say there seemed to be twice the volume of the original bag of chocolate that came back out of his little body. As if he were defecating out of the wrong orifice (and I said I wouldn’t get graphic-shame on me).

Felt a bit like we were at a college beer party and someone had had too much to drink. But at the same time when our adrenaline wore off it was also a wonderful feeling to know that our quick response probably saved Peterson‘s charmed life.

Because ultimately that’s what it was. A saying I learned recently that is pertinent: ‘Better an empty house than a bad tenant’.

(*some names have been altered to protect the innocent…actually, just one name)