Arnon Grunberg



One of the strangest places I’ve been to is Leavenworth, WA. The village is modelled after a Bavarian village and also thanks to the surroundings the copy succeeded amazingly well.
Wikipedia writes: ‘In 1962, the Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) Committee was formed in partnership with the University of Washington to investigate strategies to revitalize the struggling logging town. The theme town idea was created by two Seattle businessmen, Ted Price and Bob Rodgers, who had bought a failing cafe on Highway 2 in 1960.’ See here.

NYT wrote in 2007:

‘Starting in the 1960s, facades on Front Street were made over in the style of German mountain towns. And, despite Central Washington’s lack of Germans, a kind of Bavarian village of the Northwest was born.
Now tens of thousands of people gather near the gazebo and “Wilkommen” sign in a small central park each December for three consecutive weekends to take in the lights strung from leafless trees and gingerbread storefronts.
Downtown Leavenworth is full of Bavarian-themed curio shops, bakeries and more mainstream businesses like the outdoor shop, Der Sportsmann.
“We like the Bavarian thing,” said Mike Para, a residential developer from Lake Forest Park, Wash., who last May spent about $400,000 for a new, 2,100-square-foot second home a few blocks from downtown. “Basically, the town would be dead if it weren’t for that.”’

Read it here.

The original, let’s say Berchtesgaden, had its advantages, also culinary advantages.
Apfelstrudel is present here, Kaiserschmarrn are nowhere te be found.

And compared to Berchtesgaden I missed the presence of Hitler.

Leavenworth, WA, is worth a detour. It’s Bavaria without a past, any past. Leavenworth is sublime; dark and confused. The horror is canceled, because we know it’s all fiction. We are not in Bavaria without a past, we are in the US, Seattle is just two hours away. Sublime, very much so.

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