It warmed my heart at the Spitalkeller recently with some local friends to hear that the Chattanooga Choo Choo lives on here in the Oberpfalz. And while musing about life changes with an old work colleague and his soon-to-be wife on my last night in Iași last week, the muzak DJ hit upon another song they and I both knew well.
Pardon me, Deutsche!
The original Chattanooga Choo Choo seemed so gleefully fluffy — whee, fancy train trip! Even the “Boy” a couple times in the lyrics doesn’t seem so bad, when taken in context. The Bavarian version seems to be one of motivation — you can do it! But I’d hate to be traveling by train to Kötzschenbroda in 1947, or taunting a head of state with Soviet backing in 1983.
Entschuldigen Sie… Ederzhausn?
wann geht da Zug nach Ederzhausn?
Um Viertl nach zwo.
Ja, glaums, dawisch i den no?
Des hoast halt: renn a bissal, laaf a bissal,
| Entschuldigen Sie,|
wann geht der Zug nach Etterzhausen?
Um Viertel nach zwei.
Ja, glauben Sie denn, dass ich den noch erwische?
Das bedeutet: renn ein wenig, lauf ein wenig,
Verzeihen Sie… Kötzschenbroda?
Entschuldigen Sie… Pankow?
Transylvania, Mountain Mama
I was having dinner with one of the first guys I ever hired and his fiancée on my last evening in Iași last week, and we were already feeling somewhat nostalgic — a few years ago he’d moved on to a bigger city and a different company. I found myself subconsciously humming along to the melody. I asked, “Hey, do you guys know this song?”
“Sure,” they replied. “It’s a classic. It’s about the landscape bringing out feelings of missing your hometown.” At that point I broke into the refrain (couldn’t help myself) and soulfully crooned about the place where I belong. “If you ever come to Germany for Oktoberfest, be sure to learn the original version!”