Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Family reunion in Detmold

On Sunday night, Renate, Jean and I arrived in Köln (Cologne).  The following morning, we had enough time to visit the Kölnerdom (Cologne Cathedral).  The Cathedral is among the most impressive cathedrals in Europe.  You can believe us...we've seen a few!  The intricate detail of the exterior is worth seeing.  I'm glad the Allies never bombed it during the war.

We boarded a train, and travelled to Detmold, where we were met at the station by Renate's mum, Elfriede, and sister, Christine.  Christine is my co-conspirator in family history research.  Afterwards, we met their dad, Ernst.  It was great to see them all again.  They took us home, and, after we'd settled in, we took a look around the garden, where the family has a walnut tree.  Soon, we had a walk in the village, and returned home for dinner.  

Yesterday morning, we all went to the Hermannsdenkmal, a tall statue near Detmold roughly 100 metres tall of a man called Hermann.  Hermann lived around 2,000 years ago, and he and a band of others won a famous battle against the invading Romans.  The monument was erected in the 19th century.  Ernst related the story of how, during the Third Reich, Hitler's deputy Hermann Göring came here and joked about how nice it was that the locals should erect a monument to him (Göring).  On a more serious level, at that time, the Nazis exploited the existence of this memorial, holding it up as an example of Germany's perennial greatness.  To this day, no one is sure where that ancient battle really took place.  Some claim it was in Osnabrück.  But Ernst insists it was in Detmold.  I'll bet he's right.

Later, we visited the Freilichtmuseum.  This is an outdoor museum covering many hectares, featuring the actual villages that rural people and poor people lived in in previous centuries.  You can enter their houses, chapels, stables, schools and shops, and see how they lived, worked, learned, and worshipped.  They grew vegetables, worked the land, kept horses and other animals.  And life was hard.  We were there for some hours, had a ride in a horse and carriage, and had a good look around.

This morning, Christine, Renate, Elfriede, Jean and I went into the town of Detmold itself.  We walked all round, saw the castle briefly, the main street, the old city walls, and stopped for a coffee in a cafe.  Soon, they took us to Detmold station, and waved us goodbye.  We promised to return in a few years.

We are now bound for Amsterdam.

The Cologne Cathedral at night...
...and in the daytime..
Every square inch of the Cologne Cathedral has intricate detail.
We arrived at Detmold...
...where Christine's parents and Renate live...
Christine is my co-conspirator in family history research.
Christine and Renate are sisters, and are my third-cousins.  We share common great-great-grandparents.
First, we looked around the garden..
..and then saw a bit of the village..
We visited the Hermannsdenkmal.
The view from the Hermannsdenkmal to the path we came on.  There was too much fog to see anything else.
We visited the Freilichtmuseum, where rural and poor people lived in previous centuries.  We had a short ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
People lived in houses of various shapes and sizes.
We also went into downtown Detmold.
Detmold Castle
A scene in Detmold
In Detmold
Part of the old city walls
Our relatives waving us goodbye as we leave Detmold, bound for Amsterdam.

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