Written by Teal
The next stop on the world tour was to jump across the border of the Netherlands to Germany to see all of my family in Germany.
My Opa and Oma left Germany when they were in their 20’s and started a new life in America – leaving behind all of their family… And with such a distance and long time parted, except for a few occasional visits and emails – we had not been in each other’s lives – but time and distance didn’t stop the family love. They opened up their hearts and homes to us without hesitation and showed us how true family love can be.
We were welcomed to Hamburg by my wonderful Uncle Reinholt Riege who offered us a home cooked meal and a wonderful home to rest our weary long traveled bodies.
My grandfather Walter (Opa) had passed away before I was born so I never was able to meet him or have my Opa growing up in life, but after reconnecting with Reinholt (Albrecht’s brother) I felt as though I had regained a long lost grandfather. He is an incredible man, extremely ambitious, smart and so loving, and although our time was short, I feel like I came away with a deeper soul’s connection to my heritage.
We then went to visit my cousin Janine in her beautiful new home and celebrated her recent marriage with the full family from my Opa’s side of the family.
We seemed to come visit Hamburg on the right day – Hamburger Day! The annual celebration for the city, so they showed us all around as true Hamburgers 🙂 This beer is half lemonade half beer – so refreshing on a hot summer day.
Spence loves his gummy candies — and Haribo’s are a classic in Hamburg 😉 He was in heaven.
Janine cooked us a huge feast and we all celebrated reconnecting with each other after 6 years. It felt like time had never passed.
After spending a wonderful week visiting with my Opa’s family, we headed on to have a few days to celebrate Spencer’s birthday in one of his favorite cities of Europe… Berlin.
Berlin has a very unique feel to the city. With so much history from World War 2 and the repression from the Nazi regime, people of today seem to have swung the other way. People of Berlin, both locals and expats, have taken on the attitude of “anything goes” – from clothes, to music, to art, and expression. Coming from the quaint, cobblestone, romantic European cities of Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris and Brussels, to us Berlin was edgy, urban and ethnic.
Night 1 we followed our feet to go exploring and stumbled into a local ice cream shop late at night to see a local band had taken over to do a debut show. The owner welcomed us in from his spot dancing behind the ice cream counter and handed us free beers. Welcome to Berlin! We think we’re gonna like it here ❤
The next morning Spence turned 29, so I cooked him a big breakfast in bed and danced around the house with candles singing him Happy Birthday 🙂
We then spent our day doing what we love best– renting bikes and exploring the different neighborhoods of the city.
We had to pay our respects to the Berlin Wall of course. Truly inspiring and massive – covering still a large part of the city in beautiful murals and graffiti.
We ended our day to celebrate in the highest part of the city – the Berlin TV tower, 680 ft high overlooking the entire city. The restaurant at the top has a revolving floor that gently moves around the entire sphere so you can enjoy views from all parts as you’re eating dinner.
The view was truly remarkable – and it was a the perfect way to top off the day’s celebration. Happy Birthday Spence!
Throughout the other days in Berlin, we explored the canals, various local farmer’s markets, and soaked up the history of the holocaust museum.
After 5 days in Berlin, we continued South to visit my father’s mother’s side of the family (my Oma’s relatives) and were welcomed after a long 6 hour drive by my wonderful cousins, Ulrike and Uve. They made us a home cooked meal and we spent the evening catching up on old memories from the past 🙂
From there, it was on to see my Aunt Saskia and Uncle Albrecht. We had a wonderful 3 days with them as they welcomed us in and shared fantastic time cooking meals, hiking, and talking through broken English / German.
My uncle just turned 81 this year, but was more alive and energetic than ever! After never getting to meet my Oma, (she died before I was born as well) it was so nice to be able to spend some quality time with her brother.
I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful time with everyone. Each of my german relatives remind me a bit of who I am and where I came from, and on such a traveling journey through so much newness and unknown, it was so comforting to take a few weeks to rest our souls with the comforts of family. Spencer was an awesome sport in meeting so many new faces, and blended in instantly. I am so grateful for our time to connect.