With a few variations, this is the most popular form of saying hello down here in Germany’s deepest south as well as in Austria and South Tyrol. My Name is Katharina Offe and here is a brief outline of my lockdown experience.
I was fortunate enough to be stranded in beautiful Garmisch-Partenkirchen in South Germany with my mom in our holiday home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, I am actually in Garmisch.
The town has a rich history dating back centuries. Garmisch and Partenkirchen had always been two separate neighbouring market villages until Adolf Hitler forced the mayors at the time to combine the two in 1935 in anticipation of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games. I am very fortunate to look right onto Germany’s highest mountain from the house. It really is quite a beautiful town, filled with neighbourly love and Bavarian hospitality. Early mornings and late afternoons in pleasant weather often find local traffic stopped while the dairy cows are herded to and from the nearby mountain meadows.
Garmisch is surrounded by nature, mountains and a breath-taking panorama. It gets really busy in both Summer, for the sensationally hiking it offers, and of course, even more so in Winter when it feels to me like the entire town becomes a ski-resort.
I finally received some great news in early April this year. I had been offered a permanent employment contract at one of Switzerland’s best hotels. So, I gave-up my apartment in Hamburg and got ready to make the move. The pandemic had a different idea for me. You see, I would have had the luxury of living in awesome staff accommodation at the hotel for the first two months until I managed to find something of my own and best of all, my boyfriend would have joined me.
I was excited and proud! But then shortly thereafter, I received a call saying that my contract would be delayed to July. And although my initial excitement was a little overshadowed, I was still happy to know that there was a job waiting for me. Until yesterday, when I got another call saying that due to the Coronavirus and its implications to the hotel’s business, I no longer had a job waiting for me. Jobless. Sigh. No apartment. No job. And a boyfriend that’s miles away.
After the initial shock I realised that I can't change the situation in any way and that this was out of my control. It was then that I decided to do something good for myself and started nourishing my body, heart and soul with positivity.
I looked at the beautiful views and began hiking. A lot. I’d forgotten just how beautiful Garmisch really is and fell in love with it all over again. I now completely understand why so many people from all over Europe and the world come here to hike and ski.
My mom and I developed our own sports regime which we do every day. My relationship with my mom has improved tenfold and it's been wonderful being her daughter, feeling safe under her protection and care for me. I help with the cooking and I started loving the skin I’m in by preparing nourishing meals including fresh fruit and delicious yogurt as well as many varieties of salads.
The biggest shock of all is that I discovered just how much I love gardening. I’m a city girl! We have a wonderful property and there is quite a bit to keep mum and I busy every day. When we’re not exercising, hiking, painting fences and weeding, we’re planting healthy herbs.
I know that everything will work out for the best in the long run. And I hope that you believe this too. Sending you many wonderful Bavarian greetings from Garmisch. Keep smiling.
Katharina Offe is a German and English-speaking lady in her twenties that studied hospitality.