The sign declared, Bitte Esel nicht füttern. And since I was in Germany, a land famously known for its rules, I was even more sure to obey.
Even though visitors to the Christmas Market in Oberammergau, Germany were asked not to feed the photogenic donkeys (to keep the live Christmas props from developing upset stomachs), rubbing of the animals’ cotton ball-like ears seemed to be encouraged. Before I approached the stable, I had even noticed that Saint Nicholas was giving the cuddly beasts a head massage.
I must not have had the right touch, though, for when I slowly approached the larger fellow of the pair – my hand naively outstretched to say hello – the donkey chomped down on the palm of my hand. Perhaps he thought my fingers – prophetically named ‘piano fingers’ by the doctor upon my birth – resembled a bunch of tasty hay. Maybe he was just frightened. The duo’s owner looked at me in horror, but did not say anything.
Once my husband knew that my hand had not been mutilated, he started chuckling, eager to show me the image he’d snapped of the offending donkey, recoiling after the encounter.
In the United States, such an incident might have been the makings of a lawsuit. During this visit to the Christmas Market, it instead just provided fodder for an afternoon filled with laughter, chilly extremities, and sightings of animals carved by Oberammergau’s master woodcarvers.
Where in the World?
Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.
34 thoughts on “A Nibbling Donkey in Oberammergau, Germany”
Love the mittens :)
Hi Pamela! Me too; I really appreciate all the handmade items for sale at the German Christmas markets. I picked up a pair of hand-knitted, creme-colored woolen socks at a market in Germany a few years ago, and they’ve been fantastic at keeping my toes warm here in the Alps. :) Now, if only I could knit or crochet!
So love your Oberammergau photos.
Thank you so much, Jo! It seems a visit might be in order for you in the coming months? :)
I would love it, Tricia, but I doubt my travel budget will allow it. It’s mostly wishful travelling these days, or near at hand. The blogging world is a blessing and a curse.
Jo, you’re absolutely correct about the blogging world offering tempting travel distractions! Do keep your eyes open for Ryan Air flights, as I think they fly into an airport close to Munich. We’re really fortunate to have my parents to visit here in Oberammergau, as we’re able to live much like locals – walking to the grocery store, and cooking our own fare. It makes it quite fun!
We mostly do use Ryanair for the Algarve, and I can never help noticing the other amazing offers.
It’s true that Ryan Air tempt with its off-the-beaten-path destinations! Several Thanksgivings ago, we went onto Ryan Air’s site, in search of the best fare. We eventually decided upon Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and were so thrilled that the good fare led us there, for it was a beautiful city with much character. I would love to make it to the Algarve someday soon!
Me too! Next visit not yet fixed. Let me know if you ever make it.
Will definitely keep you posted, Jo, and will seek your advice if it looks as though a visit’s in the works.
Again a lovely collection of very Christmas inspired photographs Tricia. I am happy that you still have all your lovely fingers. I hope you and your family had a super Christmas and all the best for the coming New Year. Hugs Virginia
Virginia, we did have a happy Christmas: dinner, a heated Scrabble match, and a visit to the tiny neighborhood church for midnight mass. It was really quite beautiful, particularly when they dimmed the lights at the end of the ceremony, and sang ‘Silent Night’ in German. I’m looking forward to being inspired by more of your creative projects in 2013, and thank you for your thoughtful, beautiful and kind comments this year. All the best!
beautiful, wunderschoen Tricia……. danke, thanks for sharing, you captured so well all those details, did you go to “Schloss Linderhof”, you should drive there.
Cornelia, it’s funny you should mention Schloss Linderhof, for just tonight my parents, husband and I were talking about visiting there in the coming days. We were last there when I was a baby, and my mother was mentioning how she’d love to see Linderhof with a fresh dusting of snow. A few days ago, I saw in the local German newspaper that Linderhof’s fountains were undergoing renovations.
I think we’re only a few kilometers away, and in the springtime, I would love to bike there. Do you have any recommendations for other special villages or places to see within reach of Oberammergau? It’s so wonderful to get your advice! Vielen Dank, Cornelia!
I love your collection of photos!! So beautiful and like a fairy tale. Love the donkeys and the mittens :)
With your penchant for whipping up sweet treats, I bet you’d love all the goodies there as well, Judy. Alas, I’m continuing with my gluten-free diet, so I’m not able to feast upon many of them anymore, but it’s fun photographing them.
I rarely eat my own baked goodies. I have a small taste of each and give to others. I love photographing food :)
It looks just like a Christmas card scene – beautiful. So very different from an Australian Christmas.
I’ve relished our time in this beautiful city this winter – you’re correct in that it’s the epitome of a Christmas village. I would also heartily welcome some sunshine from down under, too. :)
So many beautiful pictures. Loved your story in and out! :)
That’s kind of you to say, Ankur. Thanks for stopping by!
Super! This post put me back into the Christmas spirit. :). Donkeys are cool.
They are cool, but I’ll refrain from giving them a head massage near dinner time from now on. :)
All the best to you for the holidays. Great tour and great shots.
Belated holiday greetings to you and your family too, Victor! Glad you enjoyed the snowy scenes from Germany’s Alps. Definitely a far cry from our Christmas threshing rice in Cambodia last year. :)
Great shots Tricia, I love donkeys, such cool animals.
Look at the faces of those two! So cute!
Absolutely terrific series of photos Tricia of this wonderful place. Thanks for taking me along.
Phil, those two cute faces are what lured me in to have my hand nibbled. :)
Thanks for your kind comment – great encouragement coming from such a talented wildlife photographer!
I love the fairy tale town, especially the mittens and winter hats.Naughty donkey!!Ouch. Looks like you had a lovely day.
With the Christmas Market stands and treats all packed away, it’s fun to reminisce on our fun times trying to stay warm with a mug of Glühwein this past holiday season. Oberammergau is a special place, and I appreciate it even more after seeing some old footage from the early 1900s the other day. With the Passion Play, so many people have been drawn here for centuries. The village’s history is quite fascinating.
Dear Tricia, I hope you are fine and having a lovely time in Germany!!!
I wish you all the best for the coming new year: a lot of good health and serenity
Many thanks, Claudine! We are enjoying life in the Alps – I hadn’t really seen this area dressed in snow before this year, and it’s quite special to have been here for the holidays. Here’s hoping you and your family had an enjoyable holiday season! All the best for 2013.
Oh no! I hope the hungry donkey found something more interesting to eat instead of your fingers…maybe you should have snuck him some of that wonderful Nutella. I enjoyed your post and beautiful photographs so much (except for the nibble part) and hope you had a wonderful holiday!
Elisa, shortly after my petting session, he grazed upon some nutritious Bavarian hay, which would’ve undoubtedly been made more tasty with a slathering of some chocolate spread. I think the handler would’ve been a bit upset with me for upsetting his animals’ stomachs though. :)
Thanks for sharing your holiday wishes; yes, we had a lovely and quiet one here in the Alps. I wish you all the best for 2013!