Monday, August 3, 2009

Schwarzwald (Black Forest) Bushes

Monday, August 3, 2009

What a day! We’re going to bed a little later today, as we just finished visiting with our “cousin” Hans Peter Wiedemer. He may very well not be related, but he came over and brought his genealogy and visited with us. He gave us a book—the history of Appenweier from 884 to 1984! It was his own personal book, but he thought maybe he could scare up a new one somewhere. It’s a real treasure. It has addresses of where people lived in it! We’re hoping to find at least one ancestral home. Brittany is in charge of poring through it tonight. She doesn’t read German, but she is really good with the ancestors. Hopefully, tomorrow we can visit at least one Wiedemer home.

It all started this morning when we went to the town Hall. A very handsome young Wiedemer, named Rahlf talked with us. I had emailed him several months ago. He reprimanded me for not emailing him back again after he told me he wasn’t related. He still had planned to get me in contact with a local historian. He said he’s not related to us, as he’s from Urloffen, 3 kilometers down the street! So, Rahlf sent us to Herr Maier, who was working at the parish office. Herr Maier and I spoke in German. I misunderstood him totally. I asked him if Doctor Maier was there, and I heard him tell me that his name was Maier, but that he was not Doctor Maier. So, I thought we were looking for a different man. What he really said, was I’m Herr Maier, but I’m not a Doctor! (Rahlf had misled us, by writing ‘Doctor’ on the paper.) He finally spoke in English to clarify things. We started laughing! We felt like saying “If you speak English, why are we suffering like this?” It turned out he really was uncomfortable with English, and kept slipping back to German.

The upshot, is they couldn’t believe we’d done all the research from records we had in the USA. He showed us the original church books, and we took a picture of the page with Ignatz’ birth record. It was very cool! Herr Maier and his co-workers kept touching the pages with their hands. Brittany said afterwards she expected them to use gloves! Not to be left out, we touched the pages, too. It was pretty sturdy paper! So, we eventually left for a day in the Black Forest. In the meantime, Herr Maier made a few phone calls and when we came back we had a message that Hans Peter Wiedemer would like to meet us. We ate dinner in the hotel (really great food), and he met us and had a few beers. His English wasn’t great, but it was workable. He told me that Herr Maier had told him that Frau Bush speaks German very well. We all laughed about that, since I’d had such a misunderstanding with Herr (not Doctor) Maier.

So, after that we went to the Black Forest. We went to the Vogtsbauernhof, which is an open air museum—a collection of farm buildings from around the area. They were from the early 1600’s to the mid 1800’s. It was interesting to see how the people lived. All the houses were built into hillsides, and the animals often lived upstairs. We wondered why the people didn’t want to live upstairs. They even pulled sleds and carriages into the house from the back (sort of like a garage). The roofs were mostly made of straw (rye, generally), which was about a foot thick. After that we rode the alpine slide (by which Crystal fulfilled a wish on her bucket list). They were a little fast for me. I was glad we only had time for once down the hill. They were on a track like a roller coaster, not like the concrete ones in the US.

Next, we visited Triberg Falls, the highest water falls in Germany. They were lovely, and surrounded by moss covered trees and boulders. It reminded us of Norway. We also have been enjoying nice, cool weather the past couple of days, just like Norway (without the rain). We’ve only had one really hot day since we’ve been here. Triberg Falls is in the middle of Cuckoo Clock Country. We saw the first biggest cuckoo clock in the world, then the second first biggest cuckoo clock in the world (someone built a bigger cuckoo clock!). We even had time to pick up a gnome for Crystal and a few souveniers for us. Brittany finally broke down and bought a few small items. It’s hard getting her to spend money.

Amanda picked a few raspberries at Triberg Falls, which she shared with me. They were sweet and soft. We drove home along a very scenic, but winding road. Germany has so many cute towns with flowers in every window. We enjoyed visiting with Hans Peter Wiedemer tonight. He’s the assistant Burgermeister (Mayor). That is a volunteer position. The Mayor is also a Wiedemer, but he is on holiday! We met the mayor of Nesselried, the small town our hotel is in. He (Nesselried Mayor) and his friends sang us a song called Schwarzwald Marie. It was very German and fun. Amanda sang an aria for Hans Peter Wiedemer. It was lovely, and he was amazed she could sing in German, but not speak German. Brittany didn’t play the piano for her, as the only piano in the hotel was badly out of tune. It was a very fun day.

Tomorrow to France!

1 comment:

  1. It has really been fun reading you posts. We get a lot more details when you write a daily post. Did I tell you I went to grocery store (Tesco) and used their internet rather than the Hotels. It is cheaper, but it in not WiFi...I think I paid about ninety cents an hour. It is not nearly as convenient as the Hotel.