Remember when I told you I’d go on a trip to Germany and maybe do a post on it? Well, that time is now. And as I’m writing these lines, I’m reflecting on this past journey.
Thursday 12th April 2018
4:00 AM. My alarm woke me and weirdly I wasn’t tired at all. The excitement of travelling gave me a rush. I woke my dad so we could start driving. At 5:00 AM we were on the road. After 2 hours we crossed the border. Suddenly the rush disappeared. I slept for the next 2 hours as the landscapes were moving past us.
Coffee and caesar sandwich. Driving. Sleeping. After 8 hours of being in the car, we finally arrived. Unpacking. Talking to my grandmother I hadn’t seen in 3 years. Asking her questions about my great-great-grandmother. The main reason for the talk. The story I’m writing. But I learned so much more. I heard stories of travels they made when they were young and things I already knew but now could look at in a different perspective. After a lot of talking, I took my camera. The garden in all its beauty made me think. And the thinking didn’t stop. After some time to myself in the garden, I realized how calm and peaceful it was. Nothing but silence. No phone, no social media, no emails to check, no stress. Just the garden. And it felt like a break for the soul. I realised that I’ve become dependent on my phone, as many of us tend to these days. So I decided not to use it as much. At least for a while.
After that, I went inside. Dinner was just what I needed. I don’t quite remember what we did that night, but it wasn’t really spectacular. Just sitting there and talking about the following day and when the others would come. Since it had been a long day I went to bed early. At least for my sleeping habits, 11 is early. Especially since I haven’t really managed to go to bed before 1 AM lately.
Friday 13th April 2018
After eating breakfast I made an interview, to get more details about those ancestors of mine. Which really helped with my story, because now I know that part of those ancestors lived in Rosendale, New York. And luckily there were still pictures of those family members. Sadly my photography skills are really bad. Which is why you won’t see good versions of the pictures, but still, it’s great to have pictures from the 19th and early 20ieth century. I really enjoyed looking at those mementoes of the past.
Especially since it feels unbelievable that those people in the pictures are part of me.
Ever since I’ve started researching this subject, I’ve been captured by it. By talking and asking questions, by just listening and being persistent I got more information that I thought I would’ve. I’ve learned things about my family I didn’t know before. For example, that my great-great-grandfather served as Uhlan, which was a very high position in Military. Or that my grandparents used to do spontaneous trips to places like Island. And that they liked travelling. After Lunch, the first guests arrived. Uncles and aunts I hadn’t seen in years. Only vast memories, basically strangers. But familiar strangers. I’ve found this whole time very interesting because I got to meet them in a new way. The last time I had seen them I was very young and less mature. Not that I am completely mature now. But I understood things that would’ve been boring to me at a younger age. I was very happy to see them again. It was great talking about things we had missed. And I got to know a new side of my Uncle. Let’s just say each time your eyes are not on your glass of wine it’s full again. And let’s just say I had a fun time staying there till 2 AM with him and one of my aunts. Because those conversations were deeply interesting. I don’t quite remember what they were about either but they were expanding my horizon. At around 2 AM I found my way to my room and fell asleep quite fast. The only bad thing about going to bed late is having to wake up early the next day.
Saturday and Sunday 14th and 15th April 2018
So after a few hours of sleep, I ate breakfast. Later that day my favourite cousin came and it was amazing. I hadn’t seen her in 2 years. The day was full of celebrations because it was 65 years of marriage between my grandmother and my grandfather. There was a lot of cake. And I really enjoyed it. There was even a service for them. In the afternoon I went out into the garden again. And it looked as amazing as it had the day before. I just enjoyed taking some more pictures. There isn’t much to say about Saturday except that I stayed up till 2 AM again. And that I was talking a lot. I realized that not using my phone as much, was actually a relief. It felt great. Not having to stress about anyone or anything. But on the other
hand, it was exhausting. The family members. So many people. Asking what you’re doing with your life, wanting to know how you’ve been. “Is there anyone in your life, do you have a boyfriend?” Me answering:” Yeah, my life is going great. I’m writing a book. Yes, that’s right. I’ve been doing great. Well yeah, I’ve had some things going on. Didn’t work out though. Yeah I know I’m still young. Oh yeah, I’m gonna focus on school and stuff. Great. How’ve you been?” Yup,
that’s basically it. I like to talk about things but if there are too many people I feel exhausted. So many expressions to read. And hell, half of my family are sarcastic and ironic. But they’re kinda great. Enjoyable. On Sunday after a few hours of sleep, I went to breakfast and everybody was almost finished. Amazing. Well It was feast again, one of my uncles, he has Down Syndrome, had his 42 birthday. And we gave him lots of great presents. Like a huge Teddy bear and clothes, T-Shirts mostly. And a puzzle. He was so happy. And it made us all happy too. It was that lightness. That almost childlike mind that made me rethink how I look at certain things in life. But it also gave me a certain seriousness to things we don’t value enough. Such as being able to look after oneself. Because it’s not given. We take so many things for granted, and they’re not. It’s not granted that we’re able to conquer all those daily challenges without any help. It was a reminder that I should be thankful for all
I’ve got. We all should. I really enjoyed that day too. In the afternoon we left for Hamburg. My godfather lives there. And I really wanted to go to Hamburg because of the Museum of Emigration. The drive there took about 2 and a half hours. Whenever I looked outside it almost looked the same. Alleys, trees, cars, and some more alleys. Then some sleep. Another road. Listening to the audiobook. Crime. Best thing if you need some sleep. Another alley. Never ending. I have so many pictures I want to show you but not enough words to describe them. And you might get bored. To lighten this whole thing up a bit I’m just gonna skim through the travel and put in a few pictures later. While I was on that ride, I thought about how good it felt to see different parts of the country. And also different parts of the world. I could feed my Wanderlust, nurture that dream of mine. But I fell asleep some of the times. So I didn’t see everything. But I took a few snapshots with my camera out of the car. They’re not quite good but I still enjoyed taking them. As the afternoon approached we finally got there. And it was as amazing as I had thought it to be. THE HAVEN. It was such an impressive view. It was huge. And as I looked at it, I felt like I was looking at a giant piece of Art. I really enjoyed it. It was amazing. And as we drove through the city I came across this beautiful Park and I just had to take a picture of it. It enchanted me with its beauty.
Especially the way spring changes everything. It changes your perspective, gives you flowers. The sun comes out again once or twice. It’s beautiful. I actually took another picture that is completely different: the Elbtunnel. It’s pretty dark and not good quality but I was under a river. So that’s not bad. It feels kinda creepy because you can never be 100 percent sure that it’s safe. Definitely worth the risk though. Especially since there is a good construction. The picture is really bad, I know, sorry guys. Never mind. In the evening we ate in a Tibetan Restaurant and the duck was delicious. I like ducks. Then we went to bed at my godfathers’ and I fell asleep at about 12:30 AM. It had been a long day. Especially the weekend that had been full of people and talking that I was really tired. So after checking social media, after 3 days of nothing. I fell asleep.
Monday 16th April 2018
After a night of some bad sleep, I went to the museum of Emigration called Ballinstadt, Hamburg. It was really interesting to hear about all those stories. People who had to leave their homes because of their beliefs, ethnicity and other reasons. The most shocking thing was that some of those reasons are still there today, it’s like history repeats itself all over again. Of course today it’s different. We’ve got better technology and are more advanced in knowledge. But that also means that our problems are more advanced, yet they’re just an improvisation of the old ones. The first Hall was about the background story of this whole institution. It was about Albert Ballin who came up with the idea of taking passengers in cargo ships to increase the income from the passages.
That was a revolutionary invention for the process. He then started working with the Hapag Lloyd. They expanded the project and made the first luxurious cruise. This project lasted until 1918 when Albert Ballin killed himself because of losing the 1 WW. He knew this was the death of his company. Well anyways, this was what the first hall was about. And some background details about what it looked like. In the 2nd hall, the awesomeness started. A map of the world and a live count of the people being born and how many people are there in this world. Then the journey started. The whole exhibition was a walkthrough of a journey that usually took months. And was hard and arduous. But with that exhibition, I had the possibility to experience it in 3 and a half hours. In a safe and comfortable yet informative way. This experience was very helpful. Especially for my project. Since it gave me the information I needed. As I went through the room with the push and pull factors I was fascinated by the stories that were written
on the walls. Stories of dreams, stories of hopes, stories of desperation and many more. Then you went into a literal ship, in which they talked about what it felt like to be treated as cargo. There was a lot of desperation and hope. When they got to America, only the healthy ones were allowed to immigrate. The other ones were either tended there or sent back. In the third exhibition hall, we could discover our past with the help of anchestry.com. It’s free there and you can pretend to be a genealogist. You can try and find your ancestors and you might even get in contact with them. This was an amazing opportunity to find out where I really come from and who I really am. Maybe my obsession with English comes from my great-great-grandmother. Maybe it’s just a part of who I am. I am not quite sure. But I guess that’s not really what I’m trying to say at all. Long story short it was really interesting and amazing. And after that, we went to one of my aunts. On the way out of the city, I thought why not take pictures. So I took a few snapshots. They’re all out of the car so don’t expect too much. I hope it’s not too bad though. I think Hamburg is a beautiful city. From what I’ve seen. Which wasn’t nearly as much as I wanted to. But enough for knowing that I absolutely love it. Its buildings, the river, the trees and parks. I could go on and on about this. But you’d probably fall asleep. I don’t wanna bore you to death. I just think this was a really great trip. Because I had time to reflect on certain things. Which really helped me.
On the way out it started raining heavily. And next thing I knew we were at a completely different place. On the way home. Except we weren’t on our way home but to my aunt that has basically a zoo in her Garden. Dogs and cats, even a tame goose. As well as chickens, Quails and rabbits. Many things to see. But to be honest I was glad when we left on the next day. All I wanted was to go home. Talk with friends, enjoy times together. Spend fun days in the city and just be. I was done with staying at places only 1 day. Either real or not at all. It takes more than half a day to explore Hamburg, it takes more than one afternoon and a night to explore a city.
Tuesday and Wednesday, 17th and 18th April 2018
Funny thing the next day we were in another city. But even though we stayed such a short time, it was very enjoyable. And I did enjoy it very much. Göttingen is a University city (not sure if that’s the right term). It’s very pretty and idyllic. We went to a Greek Restaurant where the food was delicious. The people we stayed with were another aunt and her husband. He’s a biker and told me about this amazing thing they have in the Netherlands to make people use fewer cars. There are houses that give bikers or hikers a bed for the night for about 30 Euros. Which is not much if you consider it. But only for bikers or hikers. Breakfast inclusive. And I thought this was an amazing opportunity to travel in an inexpensive way. Maybe I’ll do it one day. Who knows.
I’ll figure it out. It was a very interesting evening. And at the end of the day, it was 2 AM and a very hot room. The next morning I woke up with the sudden need for a coffee. Then we left for home. It was time to say goodbye to old friends and family. Time to get back to daily life. Time to leave this part of life. With 29 Celsius and an old VW Bus. Not a good working air conditioner. Sweat. Food at the next gas station. Coffee, Wiener Schnitzel and fries. I know it sounds gross but it isn’t. Believe me. Sun. Hot weather. No clouds. Sleeping again. Making a short visit to some other acquaintances. Pizza and salad. Cake for dessert. 2 hours after the actual lunch. But one can’t say no to nice people who ask you if you want some food and answer their own question. 🙂 But it was really good. Then we finally went home to Switzerland. Hey back.
I really learned a lot about myself on this trip. Even though it was a short one. I realized I shouldn’t use my phone as much because it takes away many hours of a day you could’ve spent doing something far more interesting. Although I’m not saying that I don’t have my favourite series on Netflix or Words with Friends on Facebook. But all I’m saying is that I’m gonna try.
Now congratulations if you’ve made it all the way here. I hope you’re all doing great and enjoy life as much as possible. I hope you’re following your dreams and loving yourselves. And having fun of course. Good morning, Night, Afternoon or whatever time it is at yours right now.
Yours truly and Wanderlusty