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Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

There is a lot to see in Germany, many places to visit, much history and charm, but there is something utterly irresistible about German beer, bread, chocolate, cheese, and pastries!

Here, a bakery window holds self-indulgent memories.

Bakery Window

 

 

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Bridge Portal View

Sailing Along

We were drifting along a river and the journey was quiet and smooth (if you don’t count the Locks the first night).

There is something surreal and other-worldly about sailing down a river past story book villages.

Great River View

I was expecting to see the worn out industrial sides of German towns like from a bus or a train in the U.S.  But we must have passed those city undersides at night because the views were of the never-to-be-forgotten other-worldly variety.House View from Ship

Red Church from Ship

There was a song written in 1912 entitled “Moonlight Bay” often sung in a Barbershop Quartet style.  It  was one of a number of early 20th century songs used as titles for musical films made by Doris Day in the late 1940s and 50s.

The Chorus of that song kept going through my head as we made our way:

We were sailing along

On Moonlight Bay

We could hear the voices ringing

They seemed to say:

“You have stolen her heart”

“Now don’t go ‘way!”

As we sang Love’s Old Sweet Song

On Moonlight Bay

Boat to Blue Boat

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Castle Ruins Castle on a Hill 1

We were on our way to the “old country!”

En route I spotted a ghostly cloud in the shape of a sister-jet following along for good luck.

Ghost Plane on High

This is what I saw through our plane window.

 

Bill and I were on our way to a riverboat cruise featuring the Highlights of Germany.

And there are now 193 photographs awaiting your viewing pleasure!

No, please don’t worry.  This is a Virginia blog after all and the subject is always Virginia Views.

I will only share the best of the best of cathedrals, castles, and narrow streets.   Now they have already  blended into one delightful memory.  The truth is, we can’t remember where we have been!  At least that’s what Bill says.  After awhile one castle looks a lot like the last one.

But I’m baaaaaack!  The called for “Time Out” is over.

And now, tradition has it that I must post a wayward witch’s photo to celebrate the season.

It was not taken in Germany but a few years ago “down the street” right here in the neighborhood.

Many thanks to the neighbor who took the time to put up this funny lady.

They don’t make much of Halloween in the Germany we visited and I am glad to be back among all the U.S. pumpkins, gourds, and all the anticipation in the air about costumes, tricks and treats.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN my friends!

It’s good to be home.

She must have been texting!

She must have been texting!

 

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Full etching

Artist EtchingWriting on EtchingWhen tragically, my sister-in-law was killed by a drunk driver, Bill and I and our son, Corky, tried to salvage those of her personal effects we thought would always remind us of Carol.

Our son rescued an etching which is now residing at our house. Carol must have loved this remarkable piece and the more we look at it, the more astonished and enthralled we are.  It is intensely beautiful in a unique way.

Rothenberg Clock Tower

Etching Details on BackThe etching is of a street beneath a clock tower in the medieval German town of Rothenburg.  The  mesmerizing image is a night scene, where under a clear starry sky, musicians are dancing and playing.

Etching Musicians

There is light coming from a nearby window and the silvery glow of moonlight creates shadows on the street. The old buildings’ flower boxes emit muted color through the evening’s glow.  And the whole effect is transfixing and transporting.

But the oddest thing about this story is that Bill and I are now planning a trip to Europe.

And before we had even seen or acquired this remarkable etching, we had arranged a tour of Rothenburg!

So, we will see the old city and maybe even find the very street where Carol walked and where the artist must have enjoyed the inspiration.

Rothenberg Flower Boxes

Rothenburg on the Romantic Road is perhaps the best preserved medieval town in Germany and the entire walled town is considered a living museum.  The wall connects five medieval gates complete with guard towers that date from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries.  Gothic, renaissance,  and baroque houses and fountains are highlights of the town as you walk its cobblestone streets.

 

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Antique Necklace

Grandma’s Necklace

My blogger friend, Barbara, of Silver in the Barn, is doing a series of wonderful posts for a collection of her family history. Read anything of Barbara’s and I promise you will be hooked!

Although I know sadly little of my own family, Barbara has inspired me to revisit a story about a special necklace.

My grandmother (Bertha) on my mother’s side was from Germany.  And although my grandparents immigrated from Germany to America and Bernard learned the language, Bertha never did.

She grew up in a village in the Black Forest called Waldsee which means Forest by the Lake.

There in the village she met my grandfather Bernard, who was visiting from Holland.  They married and had two children; a son, Ludwig, and my mother, Ida (and later, in America, another son, Carl).

Bernard left his young family in Germany to make a life in America and as soon as he “found his feet” and was able to support them, he sent for his wife and children.  As the story goes, my mom was a year old when she and her mother and older brother, made their way from Europe in a tough ocean journey to New Jersey, U.S.A.

D Grandparents 2

Bertha and Bernard

I never really knew Grandma Bertha because she died when I was five or six years old.

Grandma came to live with us for a while in Florida.  How fascinated I was by the big lady in the wheelchair who sat at her bedroom window admiring sunshine and blue skies and smiling happily at a little girl she so adored.

Constrained by the fact that Grandma did not speak English,  I recall feeling awed over a perceived hugely personal connection that spanned generations and ignored language barriers.  It was all beyond the comprehension of a mere child.

But one day that feeling of being cherished was forever sealed with a beautiful necklace!  That same necklace and the overwhelming feelings follow me even now, when I have  grandchildren of my own.

How surprised I was when my Grandma reached into her bag and took out a beautiful shining thing!

She smiled and folded my two little hands around a sparkling necklace, and then I felt  her own big warm hands enfolding mine.   And with that, she looked into my eyes and nodded her head up and down, as if to say, “This is for you, my love.  This is for you.”  And she kissed the top of my head.

I immediately knew the necklace was a most precious gift!

My heart was about to burst with pride.

Gandma trusted me with this hugely important thing.

And I vowed with the fervor of a child never to lose it,

to keep it safe in some secret place,

and though I did not quite understand it,

 to cherish it as a symbol of an overflowing love.

A jeweler told me the necklace has no monetary value.  It is only costume jewelry with onyx stones.  But as a little girl I thought it was priceless, and must have been one of Grandma’s most treasured possessions.  Now, as an adult, I still think it is priceless and it is among my most treasured possessions.

And just as I originally vowed, it is always kept in a safe and secret place.  I wore it once to a dance and felt as beautiful as Grandma must have been when she wore it so many years before.

I remember how the lady I never really knew tried in German to tell me how she felt.  But it was the necklace and her holding my hands together around it that made me truly understand the meaning of love.

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Daily Prompt: Think Global, Act Local

Write a post connecting a global issue to a personal one.

It took me all day to think of this one and I wound up remembering.  It was my job at one time to take groups of printers to Europe so they could see what their counterpart printers were doing, and catch up on newer technologies.

One group went to an equipment exhibition in Germany, where my organization also had a booth in the exhibit hall.  The banner at the top announced my firm was from America, and for certain periods during the day, I helped to man that booth to answer questions from passersby.

While I was working there, a letter was delivered to us from the exhibit organizers.  It announced we should be aware of a bomb threat and specifically warned that Americans were targeted and we should remain alert. Alert?  I was paralyzed.  I kept thinking about the banner sign announcing we were from America. All things considered, staying in that booth seemed fairly ridiculous, so I began to walk, pretending to be an onlooker but keeping the booth in sight in case there were legitimate looking people who may have had legitimate questions.

Nothing happened.  There was no bomb.  The rest of our stay was uneventful, except for the grand places we visited in Germany.  Our group became almost like a family, sorry at the end when we all returned to New York and went our separate ways.

But, anti-American sentiment remains a global issue with a very personal connection indeed.

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