Germany and Poland memory lane

It’s easy to forget the degree to which circumstances can completely alter history and the lives associated with those events. Looking back, history is not traditionally kind to people in general. Granted we mostly hear about the displaced, mistreated, or killed and I’m sure a higher percentage of people over the course of history simply lived out there lives with the minor tribulations of daily life. Being able to empathize is difficult for those that exist in a time of relative peace, or at least in a place secluded by some tragic event somewhere.

Sabine’s mom grew up in a placed called Silesia. It was part of Germany before the second world war. As Germany was loosing the war the Russians marching towards her town and so they entire family fled to norther parts of Germany. Out trip to Germany would include revisiting her home town and see how much it had changed.

The beginning of the trip was very much about Germany. We arrived in Frankfort and drove, completely jet lagged, to the small town of Meiningen. Sabine’s mom’s brother lived there and because he had such a small space we stayed in an odd guest room near by. The strange decor did not stop me from napping after the drive.

Odd hotel with me napping after a long trip.

The view from the room was not too bad with the church in the distance and the lovely red roofs.


Food in Germany is slowly rising from the doldrums of the traditional German fair, but I hope the pure goodness of a plate full of meat, gravy, and kartoffelkloesse (potato balls) doesn’t ever go away.


For the most part Germany is old and traditional looking but does suffer from an over clean exterior. Buildings like this are always good reminders of a long history.



We quickly headed over to the main purpose of the trip, Poland. We headed straight for Jelenia Gora and then south to the small town where Sabine’s mom grew up.

This building was one of her relative and sits right on the square of the old town. It was strange walking around the town because it felt absolutely deserted. We had no idea where the people were but we saw only a few and most were drunk.


This hill overlooks the village and back in the day was used as a ski hill in the winter. No lift.


Some of the few locals we saw.

The old train station, now deserted.


Sabine’s mom’s house. We were tempted to knock and see the inside but chickened out. To the right of the photo just past the main tree is one of the drunk passersby. When I say drunk, I mean stumbling drunk. We rarely saw anyone in-between this state and sober, it was either or.


Move views of the town. I’m not sure what bother and sister are seeing here but I took the photo because it was a moment of pause with no words.


More rubble.



After visiting the town we headed for the mountains for a hike. We were there a bit early so the weather was quite cold, but we did get some breaks here and there.

Still, no one seemed to be around but the lifts were running as if by magic. We rode them up and walked down. The chairlift looks like an old locomotive.

The fact that the chairs had us sitting sideways was interesting but surprisingly pleasant because you could better watch the views going by.

I believe this was a known place for kuchen.

We of course found many pierogis. I could eat these every day of my life.

I do love that pretty much anywhere in Europe there are community gardens that are thriving. For such dense countries they do well to preserve space.

One of the rare moments of sun, and an odd path that felt more like we were walking a road to Oz than anything. I forget exactly where this was but at this point we are still in Poland.

This house was mid way up where we drank mulled wine before continuing.


A rougher part of the path.



At this point Sabine and I split from the family and headed south. Our destination was Oberstdorf.

On the way we checked out Neuschwanstein which is the castle Disney used as a model.


Oberstdorf is an amazing, cute, friendly town. We stayed a week and explored the hikes, restaurants and…actually that is all we did there. This was the trail right outside our hotel. In the winter it is a XC skiing paradise.


The trail from our hotel leads to yet another restaurant, but also one of the training jumps. They are very intimidating up close and during the summer you can go up top and look down.

From a distance the jump resembles something from a Star Wars movie.


The trams run in the summer and the views are simply amazing. I can never get enough of these types of views.


A lake perched on the edge.

Hochvogel is the mountain in the distance and is 2.593m…I’ll let you do the conversion.


The clouds where moving fast through these rugged peaks.

We rented bikes one day and rode along a bike only path. We didn’t find any off road trails, but the bikes really were not set up for that…nor were we.



At the end of any hike, ride, swim, it’s worth always finishing with coffee and kuchen.

There is always a good chance when you in these small towns that there will be a festival of some kind.