The adventures of a born-and-raised-in-Michigan girl (OK, woman) who's moved to Bavaria with her husband, kids, and dog.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sounds Signal Some Subtleties

Sorry for the alliteration, I couldn't help it, given the topic.

The sounds here are subtly different. Some I don't notice as "different" anymore, others still sound foreign.

The church bells were one of the first things I noticed. The first day had been a really long one, what with the big customs/cargo headache in getting the dog, and then an afternoon spent registering at various offices and trying to get the mountains of paperwork needed to live here rolling in the right direction (OK, I know that mountains don't roll, just cut me some slack). So by 5:45, we were heading home and Martin wanted to stop at a bakery for a treat to celebrate our arrival.

At that point I was so tired the day was blurring into sleep. But I do remember sitting in the car half-asleep when the town church bells started ringing. I opened my eyes to roll down the window to hear them better, as the church was a stone's throw from the bakery, then closed them again to listen. Quite something.

I still don't know what the schedule of the bells is, they seem to be at odd hours (to me, anyway). I often look at my watch, and sometimes it's 10:30 a.m. Sometimes 4:45 p.m. Sometimes 6:00. Just take my word for it, it's several times a day at various quarters of the hour. Of course, here at the house it's much fainter than right downtown so it's harder to track. Still, you can easily notice them if you are listening for them.

There's a sonic jet plane that flies overhead a couple of times a week, on average, generally breaking the sound barrier. That's because the Eurofighter project (some NATO defense thing for those that don't know or care) is being jointly developed just south of Ingolstadt. The project employs a lot of English speakers, I know of a number of families (British, Australian, Irish, German) with ties to the company EADS which is part of the joint project (or maybe they ARE the project, I don't really know).

There's also the occasional high-pitched hum of a train as it leaves the Audi plant just 2 km from here. Anytime we go outside of little Etting we have to pass over the train yard and Nicholas gets to look for train cars and call out the colors. It's a fairly faint sound (at home), and nothing like the low rumble of a train in the U.S. for some reason, it really is a "hum". (For years I lived very close to the Depot Street train station, for those that didn't know.)

The birds are different, too. There's one in particular that sounds markedly different, and Martin says it's a mourning dove. I know that's not right (or it is certainly a different sub-species here), because instead of "Wooo-ah-wooo, wooo, wooo" it says something like "Wooo-ah, Wooo-ah, Wooo-ah". It's not a Whippoorwill, either, which is about the only other bird call I know. It's kind of in between those two.

Another low-tech sound I heard -- once -- is the bleating of sheep. Yep, there's some farmer that uses the community garden space surrounding Etting to house his sheep herd. One day we were at the playground right near our house, at the edge of town, and the sheep were coming in after a day of grazing. Pretty cool, especially if you're two and a half. A couple of times next to the playground we've seen a tractor working, which is also pretty cool if you're a toddler.

Theoretically, I've also heard horses. While they weren't neighing, they were eating grass (very quiet!), it still struck me as something you wouldn't ever see in American suburbia. On the street we walk to "downtown" Etting (village center would be a more accurate term), there's a vacant lot between two houses. I always wondered why... and then one day I saw two light brown horses grazing there. But I digress... this post is about sounds, not neighborhood sightings.

Finally, there's the ambulance sirens. Anytime I hear them, I feel like I'm an extra in the movie Fahrenheit 451. If you don't know what I mean, try to rent it (or borrow it from the library, it's an old and semi-obscure movie), filled with fire sirens. Filmed in England, it has the "Wa-wa, Wa-wa, Wa-wa" wail instead of the Wooooooo-ooooooo, Wooooooo-ooooooo" sound heard in the U.S. That's one sound I don't know if I will ever get used to.


Anonymous Uncle Peter and Aunt Regina said...


It was good to hear of your sound experiences.

You have suburb/country experiences and sounds where you are.

Uncle Peter and Aunt Regina

12:36 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home