With only a birth record and immigration record to go on we set off for Damme, Germany hoping to walk the same streets as Brian’s great-great grandparents. Lois, Brian’s mom, had expressed her desire to check the area out so we grabbed a free weekend and crossed our fingers.
It was with trepidation that I got off the bus at the Dachau concentration camp. Perhaps I had mentally psyched myself out, letting my imagination fill my head with horrific scenes from movies and pictures from history textbooks. The weather wasn’t stellar, and we were bundled against the wind and cold. The audio tour led us from the welcoming and warm visitors center towards the old camp. Continue reading
Or, Merry Christmas! Â We are very excited to be celebrating the Christmas season here in Germany, especially with our family coming over to visit. Â It is truly a magical time. Â We all know people who have said, or perhaps ourselves have said, that Christmas starts too early. And, that it seems to start earlier and earlier each year. However, our Christmas started pretty earlier here in Germany. Since the Germans do not celebrate Thanksgiving, the season actually starts much earlier than it does back home. Â We started seeing Christmas decoration and lights popping up in November, and even saw Santa Claus come riding into Amsterdam on his horse with his helpers.
Warning: This is not an easy read, I mention a lot of heavy topics that are not going to brighten your day, and will probably depress it.
Our first day in Berlin we hit the ground running… well, walking. Â We love the Sandeman’s New Europe free walking tours and can’t recommend them enough. Â Our guide had majored in European history and minored in communism so she was really well informed and full of cool stories. She took us to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which was a replica of the Jewish cemetery we had seen in Prague – interesting, but very sobering. Â We also stood on top of the filled in bunker where Hitler had committed suicide. Â It started raining while we were standing there, slightly eerily. Berlin is filled with monuments and historical points dotting the city that are remnants of WW1, WW2 and the Cold War, but the city contrasts with itself by lining the streets with expensive stores and a materialistic atmosphere, like it’s trying hard to cover up the past.
Since we are about as cheesy as they come, we knew that eating a Hamburger in Hamburg was on our “to do” list for this year. Â We arranged a trip to northern Germany that allowed us to fly in to Hamburg, rent a car and drive to Mechow, and then return the car in Berlin where we would spend the rest of the weekend before flying back to Munich.