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Attempting to Shop and Looking up Relatives

The German Part of the Trip

I have a 38 page letter (typewritten single spaced although they were smaller pages) where she describes their trip. This was written on the ship on the trip home in August of 1965

Start of first section that she sent in Southampton: - she is talking about shopping


I did so want to go to Nuremberg during shopping hours, since I felt I knew my way around there a little better, and especially since Herr Wachter (at the publishers) in Nordlingen said that was the most reasonably priced section in Germany, but Daddy was anxious to get our "show on the road", so we just stopped about an hour at the Gerner's [B's former landlord]...It was like a minor coming home...We got there very easily from our past knowledge which was very gratifying.

They were watching a "western" on TV and it sounded so funny-peculiar to hear everybody speaking German! And they were really speaking it - you could tell by reading lips. Herr Gerner said it was made in America, but that is hard to believe. Does anyone know the technical explanation of this?

We gave them a bottle of strawberry wine we got in Ansbach and he gave Daddy an ancient dissector set. Daddy wonders if it isn't from the days of "barber surgeons". But it was difficult to communicate. They SAID they did not know that we might come by but I wondered how he happened to have the dissecting kit handy?


I found out that Daddy had secret desires to go to Koln and wanted us to get there for the night. But we didn't leave Gerner's until 5:30 and it was 6 by the time we got on the autobahn. I told Daddy I wasn't going to drive on the autobahn after dark, or look for a place to stay after dark, and Koln was 600 km away. (Daddy didn't drive since his heart attack)

But we did click off 100 km and when we got to the other side of Frankfurt we found a very nice clean place to stay on the road that went off to Koblentz. In fact, we paid only 9 DM for it, and it had everything the room in Wiesbaden had that we paid 24 DM for. The room was twice as large with fewer people vying for the 'john'. We had dinner and breakfast there and when we registered in their book, we saw that we were the only people from the USA for 3 years back. There were a few from England and Holland, but it was mostly used by the

I was driving, and Daddy was supposed to be the co-pilot, but when he found there were no exciting pictures to take from the road, he sort of dozed. So when I came to signs pointing to Aachen, I asked him if that was what we wanted, and he said yes. So we skimmed off the autobahn and in ten flips of our wings, we found signs pointing to Koln! Here I had confused Aachen with Arnheim, the town in Holland where we were to cross the border. So I accused Daddy of using mental telepathy and black magic to get us to Koln!

We had about 2 hours there, and finally got into the Cathedral. You know we didn't in 1950. It is really an architect's delight. The building itself is spectacular, not necessarily its contents. We also were hampered by not being allowed to take pictures.

I have discovered that Daddy is only happy sightseeing if can take pictures! And the funny thing is, I think that is his chief pleasure in the whole deal. The most difficult the picture is to take, the more fun he has -- at least until he sees whether the picture came out. I'm also convinced (tho we won't tell him) that he doesn't have the 'eye' to taking really artistic pictures and are very subtle to 'see' that you two or I do. However, technically, he can run circles around us. If the picture is pointed out to him, he's the one who will get it the best, partly due to the film and camera he uses of course. Maybe that is the difference between male and female and doing handicraft type of things etc.

We also went to the Dom Hotel where we stayed in '50. Remember it was still being reconstructed after the bombings, and bathtubs etc were still hanging thru the floors in the airways. Well it is certainly 'plush' now!

If only I had more time! I did want some new clothes so badly. I'm tired of what I have been wearing all summer, and feel very 'ratty' besides. But the prices in Germany were high anywhere I went that didn't look 'German'. I don't see how Germans can look so German! Those suits and hats! Those who wear hats. They look like 1916.

Second section - Wurzburg

Lets see where I left off. I guess I'll go back to Wiesbaden. We left there Thursday to go to Nordlingen to do the last proofreading. Oh, I forgot to say that Carol [our first cousin] met us there the day before. She brought us some canned Canada Dry ginger ale. I knew I would need something to drink if it was hot and I couldn't drink 'apfelesaft' all the time (sort of cider) and cokes are universal, but I don't like them. She also brought a jar of powdered coffee for Daddy, a plastic ruler with cm and inches to measure galleys, a bottle opener, and I don't know what else. We had fun together for the few hours we were there. It was sort of like having one of the children with us.

I couldn't figure out why uncle Harry's children turned out to be blondes and ours didn't. Then I realized that was probably due to aunt Alice's Swedish background.

We set out for Nordlingen [where the printers were] about 10 or so and were on the autobahn at first to Wurzburg. We were going to decide there whether to go via Nuremberg or cut off the autobahn (it goes all the way to Nuremberg now) and head for Ansbach and Nordlingen. Well when we reached Wurzburg, we decided to visit the castle, which we had never seen. We were either always in too much of a hurry to get to B's or else we had stayed there so late we had to hurry on to where we were going.

We saw the castle on the hill, and kept that in sight in getting off the autobahn and into the place. You know there was never a sign that clearly indicated the stadtmitte, and we didn't know whether we wanted the "sud" Ost or what, but we got there and stopped below the castle, still puzzled how to storm the ramparts. We asked a uniformed man, and he whipped out a map of the place and marked it. We suspect he was a policeman, but couldn't tell, not knowing the uniform.

We got up to the top and paid a pittance to go in the museum which was really very good. Not so crowded that you had to inch along to see things, but you could really walk around, which was much better for sightseeing with Daddy. We saw the huge wine presses. They had a whole room of them. After we had walked around the restaurants a little and decided we weren't really hungry, we paid another pittance for the tour of the castle. The tour was in German, but for our benefit he afterwards gave a resume in English. We were the only ones who needed that.

It was most interesting. Looked down many feet into a well that had a temple-like structure built over it some centuries later. The castle dated from the 7th or 8th century. And had indications of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden being around there. I asked Mr. Maneke once if G. Adolphus had been at war with German, and his reply was that the two countries had never been at war with each other, that G. Adolphus had been fighting the Catholics down into and thru Germany. I hope this fall I'll have a chance to read over some history so some of this will jell.

They had a beautiful rose garden shaped like a gondola, including the steps, masonry etc. And from that you could get a terrific view of the city. And we also saw the dungeon where those who had opposed those in power had been put, including the well-known woodcarver Riemenschneider. We had met up with his name in Dinkelsbuhl and I recognized it as the same one.

We went down to the town and got directions to the University and landed out by the hospitals and clinics and had to be re-directed back downtown to the Anatomische Institut. I didn't go in but addressed postals in the car. Daddy said they were completely remodeling it, and it looked like it would take at least 6 months. Also that he had more Sobottas than they did. That is where he [Sobotta] began teaching.

There is a girl on shipboard who is going to start med.sch. there and she says they don't start until Nov and go thru Feb. then have Mar. and April for "holidays" and then begin in May thru July and have Aug. and Sept. for vacation - or something like that, because that doesn't work out exactly even somehow. But that is why the remodeling is going on now.

By this time, it was too late to go via Nuremberg, so we headed for Ansbach. We got there just as a street fair was breaking up. We walked around a little and saw a few booths, but not enuf to make it worthwhile except we bought some "wurst" on a roll, which is sort of like a hotdog, only they were about 10 or 11 inches long, and the roll was round and hard - the regular "brotchen". That was really our dinner, we didn't feel like eating anything else then, so we drove on down toward Nordlingen.

It was a longer drive than I thought it would be. The road was better than it used to be, but much of it was still under construction, which meant we had 3 places of one-way traffic, all set up with traffic lights to let you thru. We reached Nordlingen about 9 p.m.

[skipping description of hotel and proofreading until 4:30 a.m. the next morning. We pick up the next day at lunch]

We went on over to the hotel for lunch, Mrs. Wachter joining us. I could see that we were going to have some cans of ginger ale left over, so we gave them each 2 cans. Did we have a time trying to explain it was not beer (the ale gave them that idea); that it was not champagne (the Canada Dry motto); and that they should serve it VERY cold, but not frozen; that they must not shake the can before they puncture it or it would fizz up in their faces. I would love to know what they think of it! Did I tell you that you can't buy cokes in Portugal because the officials think it isn't good for your health?!

The Manekes were going to Dinkelsbuhl to sightsee and spend the night. We didn't want to move for one night, so we drove our own car, following them. It was only about 18 miles. We parked and walked around town. Dinkelsbuhl is a lovely little town, the houses are very picturesque, the flowers are beautiful, and there are swans on the pond. We went in the Cathedral which has a Romanesque door, but the cath. itself is late Gothic and has a very unusual feature, there are three naves of equal height, usually the outer ones are not as high as the center. And the cath. was built before Columbus discovered America! The guide book is in German, but it really needs someone other than a German to do the final work on the translation. They call the portals or doorways or entrances 'porches', and there were some oddities of translation.

Oh - I forgot the most important thing. The Manekes took my camera to the factory where it was made in Stuttgart, and had it fixed for the grand sum of one dollar! I hope the pictures will be good, it seems to work. And I might add that we are returning home without Daddy buying another camera! That in itself is an accomplishment! I also add that we didn't use that blankety-blank telephoto lens for the movie camera more than 5 min. the whole trip, AND I want this thoroly engraved on everyone's mind that we are NOT traveling with it again, unless we have a personal baggage man to carry everything for us! You must back me up!

The Manekes were very excited over a German play that was being given in the outdoor theatre, and wanted us to go, but I knew we would never stay awake thru a play in German with the little sleep I had had the night before. And I didn't want to drive back at night, so we decided to go back to Nordlingen. As we were walking back to the car, I happened to look up and THERE was a stork's nest, and Two storks playing peekaboo with us over the edge. We were thrilled to pieces and took pictures like mad. On of the storks stood at the edge of the nest and "let go" and then we knew why the roof was sort of whitish!

We didn't leave as early the next morning as we thought we might. It was such a grand feeling to be rid of the book and be comparatively free. Mr. Wachter promised to have the final galley waiting for us and then we insert the plates and send it back (Did I tell you that Daddy thinks he's clever, calling me his "galley slave"?)

As we drove past Dinkelsbuhl (which is much more tourist-y than Nordlingen) Daddy decided he wanted some movies of the storks. But they were out feeding someone said, and would be back in a few minutes. We waited about 10 min. and decided we'd better go on. So I drove on and told Daddy to keep an eagle eye out for a stork's next as we approached each town. By jingo! He found one!

For some reason we were always able to look down on the towns (or rather villages) as we approached them. We had expected the nest to be on the highest building, usually the church. But this time no. Daddy said he spotted it by the whitened roof. We made our way into the little village (Neustetten - they actually had a R.R. station) and found a huge nest on a large barn. Inside the cows were mooing and the chickens cackling. This nest was much lower down than the one in Dinkelsbuhl. And it had FOUR storks in it. And they were all standing up and moving around and cleaning themselves up very nicely to have a movie taken. So Daddy was very happy on two accounts. One on being such a clever detective and the other at being able to get movies of something we were interested in ever since that far-distant stork's nest we saw in 1950 with Aunt Peg and Uncle Bob [no real relation, but that's what we called them]

We went on to Ansbach and decided to go via Lichtenau and get some Erdbeer Wein. This strawberry wine is made by Johann Leidel (Lichtenau bei Ansbach) and is really good, or so I thought one time when I tasted it. He and his sister run this little 'weinstube' and his mother was some sort of cousin of granny's. Daddy went in and bought 3 bottles and paid for it without telling who he was (before when we asked for one, they wouldn't let us pay).

He saw they were serving a meal, and it was about time to eat, so we ordered lunch, and as we sat there, the sister came out of the kitchen and sort of looked at us (he had never looked at us really) and she went back, and I guess she thought it over, and came back again and said something to us to show she was thinking. Then we smiled and nodded, and he looked and then looked away, and then back again, and suddenly light dawned and he pantomimed taking a picture, and we all laughed. (That is a great international language.)

We 'chatted' and they asked about Barbara, and the baby and where she was and surprised me by asking to be remembered to her! A little boy came in and I asked if he were his and he said no, his sister's. So when she came back, we mentioned it, and she sent him up after his little sister, they are 5 and 6 years old. He's a smart alecky little boy, and just wouldn't believe we were from America. Thought his mother was 'spoofing' him. But he finally halfway succumbed to the idea and we took pictures of them and the little girl shook hands and curtsied nearly to the ground. We went in and looked at the graveyard that is right there. but didn't see the names of any relatives.

Carol Lynn seemed so interested to hear there were some relatives left and I told her vaguely how to find the place, so we told the Leidels that she might be coming, and that she was very blond and Daddy's brother's daughter and what her married name was. They said that sounded like it was German. In fact the sister's married name sounds something like Carols, but like a dumb bunny, I didn't ask her to spell it or write it down. Now if these pictures are any good, I'll have to send them to the brother unless Carol goes and gets the info.

Now I'm going to write the directions of how to find this place, so if anyone wants these they had better make a note of these, because I won't remember two months from now!

First, you get to Ansbach which is a fairly good-sized town and on any map. If you are coming from Nuremberg, you will reach the road for turning off BEFORE you get into the town proper. If you come from Nordlingen or Stuttgart area, you will go THRU the town, past the 'castle', the hotels, the square etc. and start on the road to Nuremberg. All the main traffic and citified stuff will be behind you, but you will STILL be in Ansbach, just a few blocks from the center, when a road goes off at an acute angle, back on itself (if coming from Nuremberg).

The sign points to Windsbach in big letters and underneath it says Lichtenau in small letters (I think - that is the road anyhow). You go along quite a piece thru some other little villages - about 10 km more or less. And you come to Lichtenau. Keep on thru the town until you come to a war memorial more or less in front of you, and the road turns to the right. But straight ahead is a little road and a walled in place. Take the road to the right. I think it goes over a bridge, but not sure. It isn't much of a bridge. You come to a little section and in front of you is the graveyard, and on your right is Leidel's weinstube with pear trees flat against the building esplanade style. It is very attractive in a German-village sort of way.

To the left of the cemetery is a road leading to Boxbrun, 1 km to this little town where Granny came from - about half a mile. You get to the end of the road and there are several VERY nice looking houses, well kept up with flower boxes etc. That is NOT the place! You turn to the LEFT, and the BIG house on your left is the old Schwab place, and it still is 'A' Schwab place - great grandfather sold out to another family with the same name, but no relation.

We didn't go in this time. They have a HUGE dog chained by the front door, and I didn't want to go thru an explanation as to whom we were in a hurry. That takes time, and we were running a little late, unless we could really stay and accomplish something. I think the reason they have this big dog is that the 'father' in the family was killed or missing on the Russian front (according to a diploma like thing hanging in their living room) and the mother and half-grown daughters, late teens or maybe grandchildren are the ones we saw there last time.

This old Schwab place is really enormous in comparison to most little houses in villages. It has 3 floors, and the walls are about a foot thick, made of stone. A very large living room and enormous kitchen is all we saw. I would have loved to have gone upstairs, but didn't know how to ask! The barn part with the animals is adjacent. There is the proverbial manure pile in the front yard, chickens all over the place. The wood is in a shed across the road and is beautifully and artistically stacked. There is a big structure for all the farm equipment. This place is built on a rise and the fields go down in back of it. The road goes on past, but I don't know to what, we really didn't have time to investigate. It looked like it was just a lane to a few more farms.

[Note: I think this house has been torn down to build a highway.]

We went on back to Lichtenau, and investigated this walled in place that Granny told me about when I was asking her about the family place over here. She said there was a big place wall-in near a bridge where they had what I decided must have been like our county fairs. Now it has a no trespassing sign with "Jugend-? Hof" on the posts.

We wound ourselves back into this cobblestoned group of houses and found the church. The door was unlocked, so we walked in. Daddy said it was definitely Lutheran, and we wandered all around, and then knocked on someone's door (as you face the church door, this house was on your right), and a very bright-eyed young woman (you could almost imagine it was Granny at that age) came to the door. We gathered the pastor was on holiday and the records were all locked up. The church was 3 or 400 years old and it would have been the one granny would have attended.

That is the end of that section of the letter.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:16 Archived in Germany Tagged köln storks nuremberg ansbach wurzburg dinkelsbühl lichtenau

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