Category Archives: Crazy Euopean People

Visiting Dad’s old home

Last weekend we managed it to take a trip to Poland. We had been talking about such visit for several years but never got around it as so many things got in between. Our destination was the Island of Wolin (Wollin in German) and we stayed in the town Międzyzdroje (Misdroy). This town, also called The Pearl of the Baltic,  is a very popular holiday destination during summer time due to its wonderful beach and these days every second building is some kind of hotel.  We didn’t do much in that town as we had other plans ahead. Together with my little family, my brother and my father we drove 10km further to the village Kołczewo (Kolzow), the birth place of my father, to see whether anything was left from the old family buildings.

At the beach in Międzyzdroje

Now let’s say that we were happy to see that in Międzyzdroje a lot of the old buildings were renovated and looked once again like the old times, however in Kołczewo things were a bit different. As this village is no tourist spot nothing has been pretty much done there since the war ended. Sure some apartment complexes had been build some when in the 70’s / 80’s but the old structures are just falling apart. It was no problem for us to find the old canopy road to get to the general direction of father’s birth place. While driving we only had to look out for some higher hill with some buildings and there we saw the old house on the left. The poor road set with concrete blocks wasn’t the best for cars but we managed it up and parked the cars on top of the hill. The house was a mess, it had further degraded since we had visited in the early 90’s and strange add-ons had been built to the structure.

The old family home, I couldn’t take pictures of the backside as it was in just too terrible condition

On the property of the old family home we could still see the foundation of the engine powered mill my grandfather had built in 1938. Besides the foundation there was an old millstone propped against a tree. Nothing was left of the windmill on top of the hill or the bakery next to the main house. In the distance we could see great-great-great uncle’s farm from whom my great-grand father bought the property for the mill and houses. Down the street there was also the day-laborer’s house (also belonging to my grandfather) standing now divided into two half’s. One of house half was actually in really good condition with even solar panels on the roof. It was probably the best building in the entire village at this point.

Village center, all falling apart

 

We also went to the village center to visit the church as the old German graveyard was there on its property. Back in 2007 someone had still taken some pictures of some of the graves for documentation however by now it had been all plowed and it was a potatoes and vegetable garden plus little playground. Sadly we could not find any further information about my ancestors from that place any longer. Behind the church we found one single old gravestone leaning against a tree and a lot of the former Lutheran church equipment piled up and rotting away.

The church where my father was baptized in 1941/1942

Even though we could not find anything about our family history it was still nice to see some of the old buildings standing. I also asked some of the village residents for information but no one had any idea as they were all born after the 60s and thus had not even a clue about the former church ruins on a little hill in the village center with a graveyard which also had been demolished around that time. For my father is was probably a good feeling to see his old home once again even though it was upsetting to see it in such terrible state these days. We certainly plan on travelling there again in the next years; after all it is only 3 1/2 hours away by car (in case the traffic is playing along).

Have you ever visited some place where your ancestors came from?

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Circus Krone

As I have mentioned few times before we have a big square next to our building where occasionally fairs and travelling circuses are performing. In the past years we have been to two different circuses but this summer the one and only Circus Krone set up its tent. Circus Krone is something very special for me as I had been going there a couple of times in my childhood and the circus is just huge. It is one of the biggest travelling circuses in the world and it is in fact that big that the entire square is filled with different tents and all the animals and trucks. The tent has seating space for 5000 people and is just enormous. In my childhood this circus was like the plus ultra of all circuses performing here and this time I was not disappointed either.

The stage

Circus Krone was founded in 1905 and has evolved to one of the big names in the circus world. Ever since it was announced that the travelling show would stop here we planned to visit it and which seats to get. Surprisingly all people living around the square got free tickets for an evening show as an apology for noise. This is actually something all travelling shows used to do in the past but it never happened again till this big circus. Of course there is a big controversy about the animals in circuses but at least this one tries its best to have good conditions for their animals. They do have multiple elephants but as two of them got into retirement age they set up a “retirement home” for them in Spain which includes a big outdoor enclosure. Because elephants are needing their herd to feel well they decided to keep their herd together and have all their elephants currently in Spain and thus not performing with them for now. Furthermore all animals have outdoor enclosures so they don’t need to spend the nights in the trucks when having their performance days. Here we hear every day the lions roaring and during the first day our little Haruki was a bit spooked.

All the artists at the end of the show

Even though the circus has a lot of animals the main focus in the current program is more about the acrobats and they did quite a show. Nathan was so amazed all the time and the two hours of show flew by way too fast. Needless to say the only annoyance for me and many other people where the demonstrations on the street against animals in circuses. Even I got shouted at because I dare to “own” a dog in a city and it is all animal cruelty and how I would feel being on a leash. Haruki got rather scared by the people shouting at us and also the kids got scared. I am all for animal rights but these people take it way too far and in the end even get the normal people against them due to their behavior. Just my two cents about this topic but I had to mention it.

What do you think about travelling circuses?

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Revisiting the Middle Ages

Last weekend we visited a Renaissance Fair again after three years. The last time we went back in 2016 in Hamburg which is/ was the biggest one in Germany. This time we went to the town of Hohenwestedt which is nearby my hometown and is probably the best location of all middle age markets we have visited. The entire fair is set up in a large park in the middle of the town and a small sports field next to it. The feeling is just so different when visiting such event when nearly everything is located in a park surrounded by huge old trees compared to other fairs where you only walk around an open field.

Some interesting fellows

We all (except MIL) went there dressed up in some costumes. Nothing historical correct or whatnot all, just what we like to and this kind of fair is just right for it as the name already says “Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum” – “Medieval Fantasy Spectaculum”. You can see all kinds of people there dressed as knights, monks, Vikings, death and even some animals. Anything goes and the atmosphere is just great with music playing from several music stages and some randomn groups playing in between. We met some friends there and of course also other people we know already from my hometown such some neighbors and even a civil official working in the registry office specialized on marriages who has a Galadriel tattoo on one of his arms.

Sunken Nathalie

It was a lovely day with nice weather and a lot of walking for us. Nathan and Nathalie had tons of fun in the straw bale field playing with other kids and I could enjoy a couple of “interesting drinks”. Visiting such event, especially in Hohenwestedt, feels like entering a different world disconnected from the outside. Clothing for the event was kind of odd at first as we hadn’t done so in way too many years but as soon as we left the parking lot we were surrounded by like-minded people and everything felt right. Ruowei went once again as a Chinese princess, Nathalie was a mini princess, Nathan a General and I went in some odd mix of clothing and armor similar to the Rangers of Ithilien. Nothing too fancy but it took us long time collecting everything till we were satisfied. I think it was back in 2015 when we started this all after visiting the very same Renaissance Fair for the first time as a family. Back then my wife was shocked to see so many people dressed up for such event and loved it immediately. I always wanted to dress up for something like that but I had no idea that my wife of all people would like it as well! Even after several years of marriage she still manages to surprise me from time to time.

Have you visited any events where you have dressed up in a similar way?

Be sure to follow me also on Facebook and on Twitter as I will post there occasionally pictures which do not find their way into my blog posts. Furthermore there is also my Instagram account in which from time to time some pictures and short videos might pop up.

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