Uh oh! Big City!

June 24, 2009

Amsterdam was a shock to us after our rural experiences so far. The buses, trams, Metro, bicycles, bicycles, boats, trains, autos!  Everywhere the bicycles!

We did see some things today – the Royal Palace, the Flea Market – but today was largely about getting our bearings.  We took a boat tour of the canals to get off our feet and see the city at the same time. The weather was perfect, and when we got off the boat we sat again for a cappucino right next to the canal. In fact, the cafe was on a boat, too!

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Damme

June 17, 2009

The second town we visited on Tuesday yielded the clearest sign of our Freking ancestors.  The street sign boldly declares the name Freking, and the people who live on that street are all Frekings. We buzzed the street twice, enjoying the rural setting and scheming for future communcation with our Freking cousins.  They don’t speak English, Marilyn knows through prior contacts.

The farms along Frekingweg are devoted to laying hens. We also saw a few horses. Marilyn spoke to a young man at the Rathouse (city hall), who invited us to return on the weekend for the annual town party. So we know where we’ll be on Saturday!  Drinking dark beer and trying to understand Freking cousintalk.

There is a local custom, both in Steinfeld and in Damme, that is very odd to our eyes: life-sized statues of Christian saints and crucifixes in shrines in front of homes. There is one across from the Freking Weg street sign. Many of the beautiful homes in Steinfeld had these shrines in front.

Slow internet

June 16, 2009

The photos we have available right now (from Laura’s camera transferred to the house computer) are very slow to upload. I think the internet connection is slow. I’ll try again to upload the photos. But then we must go out and make the day trip to see what we can find of the family farms.

The LandRover

The LandRover

We’re Here!

June 16, 2009

Long flight, beautiful train ride, wonderful host … we’re in the MOST beautiful home in Mittengen, Westphalia, Germany.  We haven’t yet gotten the code for the wireless internet, so I cannot upload the photos we’ve taken yet.

The Landrover that they said we could use is a 1970s model that is quite a collectible. I drove it yesterday and it was an adventure. However, it seats two in front and the balance of the seating is in a covered area. That helped us to decide to rent a car for touring.  Other issues had given us pause as well:  1) such an old vehicle, what about break-down? 2) it isn’t very comfortable, 3) with no power stearing or power brakes, it takes some strength and determination to drive.

So, we rented a little Peugeot.