Die Deutsche Familie und meinen kleinen Dorf

Throughout my entire life, I grew up with this fantastic oil painting in my home accompanied by hand drawings and a poem my Oma wrote in German. The theme of them all? Haslach in Kinzigtal. The place where my entire maternal family is from and where a large majority of them still reside. In 2008 I was the first member of the USA side to return in over 25 years. The reunion was so eye opening and soul awakening that I am not sure I can put the feelings into words. The best way I can put it is that you feel whole and you leave with a better understanding of yourself, as if you found the missing piece. I am so excited that I got to share my heritage with Duane, because it is a huge part of who I am.

We left for Haslach Friday after Duane got off work. Since it is such a small town, we took a train over to Freiburg, Germany, which is a bit bigger. My cousin Florian and his girlfriend picked us up from there to make the last 40 min stretch through the Schwartzwald (the Black Forest) to Hasalch. Upon our arrival we had a fantastic traditional German dinner (bread, cold cuts, cheese, salads, pickled vegetables) with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins and caught up on everything that has happened since I last saw them 2 years ago.

Saturday was full of great things! First off, we had the first snow of the season!!!!!!! Schnee!!!!


After walking around downtown, we had a family lunch together with the famous Uncle Sepp, and my cousins Aaron, Valeska and Florian at Mikaela and Ludwig's house. During this we learned that 1) Duane must have spoken German in a past life, becaue he has a knack for speaking it correctly and 2) since he is from America, his grandfather is a famous fictional Native American named Winnetou. After lunch we drove over to Bollenbach to visit the family farm house (the one in the painting) and to meet my other cousins, Stefan and Sylvia, for coffee and dessert.


The Bollenbach farm house
Sunday after breakfast we crazy people decided it would be a good idea to hike in the mountains. So we bundled up and headed up into the white hills. 

The view of Haslach at the beginning





to the Heiliger Brunnen, 


the Sandhasenhütte (i.e., the crazy old man painter house),

Haslach from higher up

the Rotweinbänkle (i.e., where the old men of the village build awesome things to hike to and it is tradition to drink red wine when you get to the top..... no matter how cold it is),





the Memorial Vulkan of the Vulkan Mining Concentration Camp


and played in the snow!

Snow Angel
Running to jump and grab the tree...
Got it!
For the win!

Today Mikaela, Duane and I cleaned the family grave from the storm and prepared it for all Saints Day on November 1. Then we walked around town, bought some homemade schnapps from a farmer and then headed back to cold cold Zurich. It was a very good weekend indeed. 

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