Ellie works at a small family run hotel which specialises in country weddings and parties at weekends. Although the hotel is small, the weddings are not, up to 250 people can be catered for. All the food is organic with most being reared or grown on their small farm on site. To the rear of the hotel was a small forest with a meandering path. Several of the trees had part of a picture painted on them. When looking at the trees from the correct angle the complete picture could be seen. Ellie explained that using a light projector the image is beamed onto each group of trees at night to give the correct perspective. After our walk in the woods we had delicious home made cakes and tea from the cafe.
Bavaria is known throught the world for their penchant for sausages and beer. Again Eliie and Bastian did not disappoint as they made us a brunch of Bavarian salad made with a white pork sausage and served with a sweet mustard. We also provided some food to try; cheddar cheese and Branston Pickle passed the test, Marmite got a firm thumbs down.
Just under 2km from the farmhouse is a community for the mentally handicapped. Ellie and Bastian have both worked there and most of their friends either work there or they met through the organisation. We were shown around one afternoon and this was an excellent experience. They are practically self sufficient for food as there is an organic farm on site. It is orgainised into individual houses with about 6 inhabitants in each. Monday to Friday means work and each person has their own job, either in a workshop or helping doing gardening, in the bakery or similar. Everyone is paid at the same rate. We were shown two workshops, the first made candles and the other musical instruments. The dedication that has gone into the whole project was very impressive. When we visited the musical instrument workshop about 5 out of 10 of the residents spoke English. Including one with a Yorkshire accent. Her mother is English and as her Granny was from York she had visited in the past. The residents were mildly handicapped, most with Downs Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy. Each had meaningful lives and jobs, an amazing set up and organisation which we felt honoured to have had the opportunity of being shown around.
After our visit we went on for supper at Bastie's Mum's house for another Bavarian speciality, lung stew. With such a lovely gesture, how could we refuse? The lung had been very finely sliced in strips approximately 4cm long. It had been cooked in sour cream and vinegar. In the UK this part of the animal has been relegated to the pet food tin. As everyone knew of Mike's fussy palate he had a portion of pot roasted pork and gravy. Our stew was served with lettuce from the garden and giant home made dumplings made out of fresh breadcrumbs, egg and milk.
Their house was huge, built by Bastie's Grandfather and father. Grandpa lived downstairs in his own suite of rooms. At the tender age of 80 he was something of a workaholic, most days working in his carpentry workshop in the cellar. He showed us around and he had just finished making a large table which he was delivering and reasembling in Munich the next day. He also gave Bastie 10 jars of different home made jams to take away with him.