Thursday, November 5, 2009

Familie Wochenende pt.2

[ Family Weekend pt. 2 ]

Sunday afternoon continued my family weekend with my new host family - the Sebode Family - and we were going to take a little Ausflug - a little excursion together. A little over a half hour outside of Göttingen lies rolling hills, fields and little villages - This is the very center of Germany after all! In the distance, one of the hills had another small collection of houses and buildings, all looking typically German, and a very cool castle tower seen prominently from the far view.

Some of the buildings looked familiar in style to me, but others looked a little older - a little more worn even. Even being only a few minutes outside of Göttingen, we had crossed the border of what used to be Eastern Germany - and Inge told me how in some ways you can still see the lingering differences between the sides. In this situation, it was houses that were very weathered and a bit crumbling, but neighbored by very well kept houses and new buildings.

Once parked, we walked our way up the hill to tour the very cool castle dating back to the early centuries in the Roman style and it was still remarkably very much intact. I always love seeing the different rooms of castles, the dark, cold hallways that connected the rooms built of stone - seeing the places where corners could only be lit by torches. It is all really exciting for the imagination.

The tower and steps out to the balconies of the castle were very windy, but you were still able to get some very impressive views. I had some laughs with Inge and Andreas since many castles in this region of Germany are often connected to stories from the Brothers Grimm. This particular castle did not have a story, but apparently the tale of Sleeping Beauty was inspired in another castle not too far away!

What was a fascinating story however, was that from the Castle, into the trees, there was actually a visible line where there was a cut in the forest and that turned out to be the old border between the once divided Germany. Andreas shared with me how crazy it is to him that as a child he saw this castle from another hill on hikes with his parents and couldn't visit it, but now there is no thought of a border anymore. These are all interesting to me, especially with the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall coming up next week as well.

Wrapping up the day we had lunch together of some typical northern German sausages and breads and it turned out to be another very nice opportunity to get to know each other and involve myself in conversation with them in German as much as I can.

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