The plane shook violently as we began our descent, the twin propellers cranked up into life as the pilot pinned the nose firmly down towards ground. I had experienced bumpy turbulence before but not quite on this scale, planes were not supposed to move sideways i mused to myself. Judging by the screams from a number of the other passengers I was not alone in these thoughts.
So as is normal in these cases we brushed off our nervousness with a little lights hearted conversation and quietly gripped the seats that little more vigorously. 15 minutes later we were on the ground in Wenatchee, a modest town just 30 minutes flying time South West of Seattle lying on the eastern edge of the Cascades. It was an quiet and uneventful place, home to 30,000 or so inhabitants, a town lying in the high arid plains that form here in the rainshaow of the cascades and whose existence now seems reliant on the apple orchards and vineyards that are dotted around and which draw their share of migrant workersy’all the way up from Mexico
From here it was an hours journey onto Levenworth, a smal town that could not be more different. Faced with impending economic meltdown as the logging and mining industries ground to a halt, the locals had theingenious idea of redeveloping the town into a mock Bavarian village. And true to their word, that’s what they have done, right down to the Bavarian music piped out 24 hours a day from the automated bandstand in the market square. Bizarre doesn’t quite describe the line-up of alpine style chalets , wall murals and maypole flags that neatly play their part in this allAmerican, Germanic illusion.