Thursday, August 11, 2016

Something I Miss: Thirty Day Writing Challenge Day 24

Germany. I miss Germany. 


In 2011, my husband, Steven, traveled to Germany for two TDY's. He's a smarty-pants IT guy, and works for a government contract company. He went over to do things to computers that I don't understand. Even if I was computer savvy, his job is a highly secured one - he couldn't tell me what he was doing even if he'd wanted to. 

His first trip was to Stuttgart, where he spent almost three months. He was home a little more than four weeks when he was sent back, this time to Heidelberg. Before he came home the second time, he'd interviewed and been offered a position on Ramstein AFB, and shortly after Thanksgiving that year, we were all Europe bound. I was excited - but I had no idea just how meaningful this adventure was to become in my life.


We lived about twenty minutes outside of the Kaiserslautern in a wonderful little village called Linden. This was our home. It hurts my heart to see this picture. Our landlords, Kurt and Elfie Becker, lived on the left side and we lived on the other. The backyards were separated by a low wall that we just stepped over when we wanted to go visit them. The Becker's became very dear to us while we were there, and we visited one another many, many times.

Easter Sunday, 2013. Me, Elfie, Maya and Scotty in the Beckers' back yard.

Both of the Beckers were educators. Kurt was the vice principal at a middle school, and Elfie was an elementary school teacher. They're both retired now, but Elfie and I had many discussions about teaching. She was very interested in homechooling. That's not allowed in Germany - strictly against the law - but the Beckers had been renting to Americans since about 2009, and had known many American families who homeschooled. 

This was taken on a road called Burgstrasse that went above and behind our house. The house to the bottom and left in this photo is ours.

While in Germany, I became very interested in Frederick Barbarossa. He was named the Holy Roman Emperor in 1155, and was greatly admired by the Germans. I decided I wanted to write a book about Frederick and his family, so Elfie enthusiastically hopped on board and began collecting articles and other things to help me with my research. We spent many hours outside on her 'terrace' while she translated from German to English for me as I typed ferociously upon my lap top. I have chosen to name that book Red Beard and the Ravens. It's going to be historical fiction ... with a bit of a ghost story intertwined with the story. 

One of my favorite places to visit in Germany was Speyer. It was less than an hour away from our home, and Barbarossa's wife, Beatrice, and his daughter, Agnes, are buried in the the crypt below Speyer Cathedral. There is also an amazing transportation museum there.



I don't know when Red Beard and the Ravens will be written or released. Within the next few years, hopefully. Thanks to Elfie, I have a lot of research from which to draw the tale.

I can't possibly list all my favorite places - places that I desperately miss - in Germany, but I can show you a few. 

Hohenecken

We drove past this village every time we went from our house to the Vogelweh base. We went there a lot because I loved the library (and the librarian, Holly May), and I liked the commissary on this smaller base. This was the first castle we explored after arriving in Germany. I loved the way the castle stood high above the church. We hiked the trail that led from the church up to the castle a couple of times. 

 
Horbach

This little village was only a couple of kilometers away from our house. The kids and I walked there and back many times. There was a wonderful walking path that took us past both the Linden and Horbach cemeteries.




Saarburg

We found this place by accident - but it turned out to be one of my favorite places out of all of those we saw in Germany.





Heidelberg

Oh, how I loved Heidelberg! After spending some time there, I was very envious that Steven got to live there for three whole months. Again, this wasn't very far away from our house, and we traveled to Heidelberg often. 





The Old Bridge and Heidelberg castle

I can think of twenty more places I'd like to include - there's Nanstein and Burg Lichtenberg in Kusel and - no ... I'll stop here - one, because this post will just continue to get longer and longer, and two, I will continue to become more and more unhappy about the fact that I am no longer in Germany.

We got to live there for two years. It was an incredible adventure ... one I will always be grateful for, and one I will always hold very dear to my heart. I will probably always miss it, but it's highly likely that I will find myself there again in the not too distant future.