Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Weiden, Travel + Life Abroad, Travel: Germany

The Griswalds are Back

The last time my parents were in Germany, it was December 2010, and I had just moved to Münster. I had also managed to come down with some sort of ‘mono thing’, possibly as a result of working something like 70 days on the trot, in a bar, serving inebriated tourists until 3am, over the course of one very long, very hot Greek summer.

That funny little tomato you see, is a ntomatini, native to Santorini. It tastes like the sun.

That funny little tomato you see, is a ntomatini, native to Santorini. It tastes like the sun.

It began snowing in Münster, in 2010, on the last day of November. No on quite knew what to do, least of all me. For the first week, I was utterly enchanted, rushing to the window every time I saw the stuff fall. Then one cold evening after work, I got off the bus, put a touch too much weight on my leading foot, slid a metre or so on the ice and came to a crashing halt on my bottom. Enchantment over.

Meanwhile, over in France, where my parents were holidaying before coming to visit me in Germany, my father was doing the precise same thing; skating along the ice in his smooth-soled shoes, and coming to an abrupt halt on his own bottom. I do believe his enchantment with the notion of a winter wonderland ended somewhere around then as well.

But there was more snow to come. By the time my parents blew into Münster, it was covered. Schneebedeckt. We had our first white Christmas, the post-fondue walk occurring knee deep in snow, because the Münster council hadn’t acted quickly enough after the first snow dump and it all just piled on from there. My mother was getting about in some ridiculous coat that could have kept her warm in the depths of Siberia, my father was clomping along in brand new snow boots he had had to purchase after his smooth soled shoes had betrayed him in France, and my sister was trying to push me into the snow (she ultimately fell in herself to make a snow angel, and couldn’t get out.)

The Australian Griswalds had taken on the snow and it wasn’t pretty.


Ultimately, the snow defeated my father. Late one night, unbeknownst to my mother, he changed their flights home, meaning they skipped the planned Dresden and Leipzig visits (I had heard him asking many people ‘will it be like this in Dresden’ and blanching when the response was ‘probably worse’) and flew back to Sydney two weeks early. It was one of his better dummy spits.

Now my parents are back. They’re in Munich as we speak. Presumably, so are Dad’s once-worn snow boots. They’ve never witnessed a Bavarian winter. It is supposed to sink to -17 overnight, soon, and when I told my Dad that, he casually said ‘oh, again?’ as if his experience of Münster’s -2 will be comparable. And I woke up this morning to this:


Mum and Dad … you ready?


  1. Hemborgwife

    6 December, 2013 at 10:47 am

    We got our first real snow last night as well and are temps are about -12 and I am planning on going out for a walk, weird what you can get used to huh!

    1. Liv

      6 December, 2013 at 10:58 am

      So true – my first snowy winter, I thought, ‘absolutely not. Ever again. Get me out of here.’ And yet, here I am. Considerably better dressed for it, but here nevertheless. I do miss milder winters though, I must say. You’re already at temps of -12, that is COLD. Nothing to do except go and eat something delicious and warming, and lie on the couch under a blanket.

      1. Hemborgwife

        6 December, 2013 at 3:50 pm

        Yep we are pretty far north so when winter comes it really comes!

      2. André

        13 December, 2013 at 10:36 am

        I remember back in 1994, being in the army for compulsory service, in a training for decontamination team for the case of wmd-usage. Our commander ordered us to rig up a decon-station with shower and that we shall operate it in the night for training purpose. Problem was: who wants to have a shower open-air when it’s -19 degrees celsius? This was near Münster. 🙂

  2. Adventures (@in_expatland)

    6 December, 2013 at 5:08 pm

    Not only will you spend the holidays together, they’ll come away with a renewed sense of awe that you can handle the snow/ice/cold on a regular basis. Plus they’ll appreciate balmy Aussie weather more. Sounds like win-win-win 😉

  3. Sylvia Thompson

    7 December, 2013 at 2:53 am

    I heard Weiden got snow last night. Having grown up there I know how brutal the winters can be. I’m glad I’m sitting here in North Carolina with my ceiling fan and AC running. You have my sympathy.

    1. Liv

      7 December, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Oh we got snow … we got snow. Started on Thursday night, Friday was just blanketed, and we got more last night. And it’s snowing again now. I am quivering with envy at your North Californian temps!

  4. Lutz Mowinski

    7 December, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Well, looks like your parents are in for a big surprise then 😀
    The winters we get in NRW are nothing compared to the ones you get in Bavaria 😉

    1. Liv

      7 December, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      I knoooow – as I type, it has started snowing again, after getting a solid day and night’s worth of the stuff yesterday. I think this will be a very different trip for them!

      1. Lutz Mowinski

        7 December, 2013 at 3:27 pm

        Who knows, maybe your parents, your dad in particular, will come to like the snow ^^

        1. Liv

          8 December, 2013 at 1:40 pm

          Oooooh, we shall see, we shall see.

  5. Sarina

    7 December, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Oh wow… I want snow as well… I think I have to wait for it 🙁 We have a much to marine influenced climate here on my Wadden Sea Island. But we just had a storm with storm flood (2m above normal high tide) but the Dutch dikes kept the water out easily 😉

    1. Liv

      8 December, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Oh get me to a marine climate right now. That’s where I belong! I am no snow mouse, I am a fish!

  6. Juli

    11 December, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    😀 Empfang deine Eltern mit kuschligen Schals, molligen Handschuhen, dicken Socken, Earbags und Taschenwärmern! Dann klappt das schon! ^^

    1. Liv

      12 December, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Stimmt, du hast recht! Das machen wir.

  7. flythesevenseas

    12 December, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Keep a thermos of Glühwein handy at all times 🙂

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