September, 2013: Berlin, the city we skipped the last time because it was too long a train trip for the kids. Ericka, whose name was chosen by a father who though he admired the place. Diego and Valentina, world travelers and both so blond they fit right in without any German so much as casting a second glance in their direction. So it was as we landed in Shönefeld Airport, the airstrip that previously serviced East Germany. Continue reading "Berlin"
Our travels through Germany concluded, intentionally, with a stay in Munich at the end of September. The fact that coincided with the last days of Oktoberfest was no accident. We are fortunate to have friends there, who accompanied us to the festival and helped interpret what was going on. I was caught off guard. I'd expected the long tents, and immense, wooden tables of beer steins and salted chicken But I hadn't expected the carnival rides. Continue reading "Oktoberfest, Munich (München)"
These are pictures we took in Bacharach, the heart of Germany's gorgeous Rhine Valley ("Rhein" in German) and an important wine-producing region. We spent two nights there enjoying the site of the river (fast moving, and really churning at the banks), hiking up the hillside to the old castle (now a youth hostel and full of camped-out teenagers), and enjoying good schnitzel and sauerkraut. Continue reading "Bacharach"
Any amateur genealogist tracing his family's history back to the Old World knows and understands that gnawing worry: that the research will lead you back to some industrial, Old World dump better left forgotten. After all, why did your ancestors emigrate elsewhere? But how can you resist not knowing? The Ellis Island records show one side of my mother's family arrived from the German city of Büdingen, in Hesse, so off we traipsed to a medieval village outside of Frankfurt, in hopes we'd be charmed, not appalled. Continue reading "Büdingen: Home Again"