Pictures rarely do reality justice. How can a single snapshot capture the beauty of a seemingly everlasting moment? As I stare into the forest and see the thick trees silhouetted by the orange sun rays, the last whispers of a day soon to be known as history, I know that although I may feebly raise my camera in a half hearted effort to capture the scene, nothing can truly bring me back to this moment. I’m feeling that way a lot on this trip, it’s making me think a lot about sentimental value and just what it means to travel in general.
Take this blog for example, I may pick and choose what I put on here, but most of the time the things that I will cherish most in my memories are not what I choose to share with the world. While I do love visiting old churches and getting my own personal glimpse of ancient history in a castle – the things I will most remember have more to do with feelings, with people, then tangible places. I will cherish the night my aunt and I spent reading each other german poetry for example (Rilke of course), or the philosophical discussion my uncle and I had late last night in the car as we drove back home from Bonn. The experiences and moments I most truly value are rarely the ones that can be summed up by a single photograph or a few sentences, they are the ones that require an intimate understanding of the person you are talking about, the appreciation of what is not tangible and visibly present but rather the feelings that made that moment special.
I have had many of these moments during my time in Germany so far. These include meeting an amazing uncle for the first time (shoutout to you Basti), having screaming matches with my aunt and uncles over which national anthem is better, the German one or Canadian one, and going on hikes with the entire family where it seemed that fate was working to see how we would respond to life throwing us as many temper tantrums, bike accidents and scrapes and bruises as possible. It’s interesting trying to explain to my family how much simply hanging out with them makes me happy – I’ve been the happiest on this trip while spending last week at my aunt and uncle’s, just spending time with them at home talking and playing together.
That’s not to say I don’t appreciate a good change of scenery now and then of course. Tuesday my Oma, Opa and I drove to a little town not far from here to take a hike through the woods where an old abbey is located. As you make your way steadily through the thick forest you come across little numbered shrines every fifty metres or so, each depicting a different scene significant to the Catholic religion. It was absolutely stunning to walk through the woods and spontaneously come across these amazing shrines now and again in which so much effort has so obviously been placed into. We made our way through this thick forest, admiring the beauty surrounding us and constantly likening ourselves to the Hansel & Gretel fairytale as we got lost, until we stumbled upon the traditional village in which the abbey is located. It is a beautiful little village, although I was completely creeped by it because although it wasn’t too small in size, it appeared to be almost completely deserted – we barely saw a single person as we spent time winding our way through it’s cobblestone streets.
On Wednesday I fulfilled all the dreams of my fellow white girls and visited the local Birkenstoch factory outlet. It truly was a white girl heaven – rows upon rows of comfortable and affordable footwear, I had many orders from my family and friends to carry out. After our adventures at the Birkenstock factory we drove back home to my family’s village and then I headed to my aunt and uncle’s for our already mentioned family hike. It was quite the accomplishment to actually convince the kids to come at all, let alone for us to actually have a somewhat without grave incident hike. It was too hilarious to watch the kids interact with each other, each one having their own unique and huge personality. Emelie the monkey always trying to convince Jacob that it would be super cool for her to push him in the stroller, Jacob being the sweet natured little being he is just coming for a good time, and Florian keen to practise his karate moves with me at any possible moment. They entertained me to no end just being their normal crazy selves.
Yesterday my grandparents and I ventured to Bonn to do some sightseeing and shopping which included the Beethoven House and an excessive amount of time spend at H&M. The city of Bonn is widely known as the birthplace of Beethoven, and holds numerous festivals and events throughout the year to celebrate this fact. The house in which he was born is open to the public and can be viewed along with many other significant artefacts of his life. This is what we did yesterday. It was truly magical to better understand the renowned genius that was Beethoven and to experience at least a small part of his life. I found the most beautiful poster yesterday at this museum – a print of an oil painting depicting the house in which he was born that I absolutely have fallen in love with and can’t to get home and pin it on my wall.
After our adventures in the “downtown” core of Bonn my grandparents and I went to my aunt and uncle’s house to have dinner. The neighbourhood they live in is beautiful and I was transfixed as my Oma told me the history of where they lived. The area in which they live used to hold the embassies of different countries and was the residence of high society while Bonn was still the capital of Germany. These magnificent buildings and houses now stand empty, a ghostly reminder of the splendour it once was.
I think today I will go for a long bike ride in the forest, visit the local city and spend time with my many small cousins. I also need to have a lengthy chat with my family back in Canada and keep them updated on what has been going on here as well as inquire about my crazy puppy.
Until later xx