Once a year I take a small detour from my regular seasonal migrations between Bavaria and Florida to touch base with family in California. I am struck by the contrast in “village” life during these annual migrations. At one end of the spectrum is the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills, founded in 1914, also known as The Village within Los Angeles, and at the other end, classical farm villages of Bavaria, founded in twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The contrast is highlighted in promotional village magazines all adorned by vehicles―a 2015 Bentley, a 1978 Beetle, and a horse.
I lived in Beverly Hills fifty years ago and although much has changed it is still a glamorous village with high-end, over-the-top shopping, dining, lodging, health & wellness centers, movie-star homes, and, of course, exotic cars. On weekends, five decades ago, I biked the busy city streets with my daughter to a favorite deli for coffee and fresh NY-styled bagels. Surprisingly, Nate’n Al has resisted glitzy modernization with a decidedly retro look and feel. But much has changed including the number of rich’n famous with a proliferation of mansions, condos, and hotels housing the six-million visitors a year.
In Bavaria, I enjoy weekend biking on well-maintained bike trails along bucolic Bavarian farm fields and among contented cows for coffee and buttered Brezen at a local Konditorei. Although Bavaria is home to sophisticated and high-tech Munich―with six-million visitors to the annual Oktoberfest―it is also home to a rural culture that in some corners resembles a museum of the Middle Ages.
Modern life has nevertheless crept into Bavarian farming life with corn fields devoted to bio-fuel and hectares of land covered in crops of solar panel arrays. GPS guided and climate controlled tractors are the high-end vehicles of choice in these villages compared to brightly colored luxury cars.
Whether villages are surrounded by traditional farms or new-new mansions, it makes for a fascinating migratory life and an endless source of contrasting observations and photos.