Friday, July 2, 2010

This past week was a special one for me--my mom came all the way from Columbia, SC to spend eight days in Germany.  We spent the first five days in and around Hannover sight-seeing and visiting friends and "family" and then three days in Heidelberg and Baden-Baden and the northern part of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest).

As a surprise, here is a special guest post from my mom herself:

  View from Heiligenberg in Heidelberg

It is amazing how fast the time went by and hopefully both Germany and Patrick survived my visit.    Patrick was a great host and guide and only put me in quiet time for asking too many questions a couple of times.  The food and drink were excellent and I know where my love for breads, potatoes, ice cream, cold cuts and wine came from - I was in heaven.  Patrick's co-workers and the Althofs (who we met in Spenge) were all very gracious.  It was amazing how they went out of their way to make sure we were (really) well-fed and that our time was occupied.  Expected visits of a few of hours turned into all day affairs.

 German Eis (ice cream) Cafe Menu in Hannover

The culture and way of life in Germany are different; they are more conscious of the environment.   They do have some SUVs and even RVs but also drive a lot of smaller cars and yes they drive crazy.  Patrick didn't get to fully enjoy the Autobahn because during the day a lot of the areas had speed limits up until 8:00 p.m. (120 km).  I missed the conveniences we have in the US and also mourn the "modernization" of Germany.  I enjoyed touring the old German areas/towns and it was sad to learn they are moving away from clay tile roofs to cement tile roofs.  I loved all the outside cafes (they do not rush you to turn the table over) and the beautiful flower gardens and flower boxes that are all around.  We are very fortunate for having not had a war on American soil since the Civil War, and I wonder what Germany would look like today if all the destruction had not taken place.  Pictures cannot do justice to the beautiful gardens, structures and landscape.

 View from Neues Schloss in Baden-Baden

I will treasure my visit and have a more compassionate view on non-English speaking people visiting our country.


St. Martins Kirche  in Spenge (church my ancestors helped build)

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