|The Brandenburg Gate|
This trip was very special, as I visited the small town that my father's ancestors came from. But more on that in a bit...
I went to Berlin with my co-expat friend Marion, who was born and raised in Germany, but has lived in the U.S. for many years and is married to a co-worker of Tom's here in Rauma. It is always great to visit a country with a "native," so to speak. For one thing, they know what to see and how to get around. And in small towns like we visited, the language skills are wonderful.
|The Reichstag Dome|
|Fresh-baked and delicious!|
We had wonderful weather, and we visited all the top sights: the Reichstag (where Parliament meets), the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the nearby museum, Charlottenburg Palace, the Berlin Cathedral, the Pergamon Museum (the Ishtar Gate is amazing), the Memorial to Murdered Jews, the TV Tower, Potsdamer Platz, and of course, the remaining bits of the Berlin Wall. We took the Hop-on, Hop-off bus ride and a boat ride on the River Spree. We shopped at central Europe's largest department store, KaDeWe.
|The famous sign at Checkpoint Charlie|
|Remnants of the Berlin Wall|
After Berlin, we rented a car and drove south, stopping in Leipzig, then heading to the town of Erfurt, where we spent two nights. The next day, we drove to Bad Langensalza, home of my ancestors. I couldn't have asked for a more picturesque town! We went to the Rathaus (town hall), where Marion talked to the archivist, who spoke only German. The archivist is going to search the written records and try to find out more about the ancestors before Andreas Hildebrand, who was born in 1598. His three sons emigrated to America in 1690. By the way, the prefix, "bad," is used as an official designation for a spa town. Sulfur springs were discovered in Langensalza in 1811, and salt and mineral water springs in 1996.
|Bad Langensalza -- the town dates to 932 A.D.|
Here is the link to the pictures. I swear I tried to delete a lot of them, but I just couldn't get rid of too many!