Archive | April 8, 2019

Retracing her steps

Part of my upcoming trip is to explore where my mother came from and grew up.

I visited over 25 years ago. That time staying with family – but they are no longer alive. My mother was the youngest of her cousins, so I will be touring around without local knowledge and without being driven around.

That’s all right in Bremen. In a city, you can get there by train and walk around to see a lot.

But my mother was evacuated during the war to the countryside, to East Fresia, or Ostfriesland. You can read about it on her blog.

This is where my grandmother comes from. It’s an isolated part of Germany. Has its own dialect. Seen here in the trailer of this film. The butt of German insider jokes. And not a popular place to visit, especially for English speakers, as outlined here.

I can’t seem to find easy or direct ways to travel between the villages I’d like to visit by bus or train. And car hire seems MUCH more expensive than it did on our French trip.

So mindful of advice given on my previous post, I’m limiting my visit to two villages. We will stay in one village, one that has a few restaurants and is a short train trip from Bremen. I’ve booked a unit for four nights. That’ll give us a day of doing absolutely nothing. Sitting around the little house, the Hexenhausen (witch’s house!) having a few beers, resting after two weeks of travel and sightseeing; then a day to walk in the forest and along the peat moor; then a day to visit the little town my mother lived in, Lahrheide; and then a day to visit a bigger town to the west, Oldenburg.

I would like to find the farm house that my grandmother’s family owned. Seen here, I think, behind all my grandmother’s family, gathered together for her grandparent’s (my great great grandparent’s) golden wedding anniversary. My Oma is the sixth female from the right with her hands in her legs.

I visited the farm house in 1991. My mother’s cousin had sold it so it was no longer in the family but she had an agreement with the new owners that they could visit and her husband could grow veggies on a bit of the land. Unfortunately, I won’t make it. (And for whatever reason, I never took a photo.)