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Published: August 30th 2007
A leafy Wedel path
Out walking with Tante Elke
In this post, I’ll be visiting the heritage from the German side of my family. I was born in South Africa to a German mother and an Australian father. Living in Australia makes my Australian heritage easy to see, and with visit, the German side of the story is filled in.
I took the ferry across the river Elbe to Wedel and was greeted by Tante Elke who is effectively a grandmother to me. We made a brief visit to her house where I dropped off my things and we each enjoyed a glass of champagne while catching up on family happenings. With all recent news exhausted, we proceeded on a walking tour of Wedel which is essentially an outer suburb of Hamburg. Wedel is a fairly sleepy suburb populated mostly by retirees. This is evidenced by the numerous amounts of banks and pharmacies that line the main road. It felt like I saw ten or fifteen different pharmacies in the five minutes that it took to walk down the main street. Departing these monuments to retirement, we continued around the outskirts of Wedel featuring leafy paths and flowery meadows until we reached the river again and walked along the
The Wedel Gang
Rut and Elke behind with Klaus in front.
bank to get back home. This featured the Wedel yacht harbour (it's where the wealthy retirees hang out) and the Elbe “Welcome Point” which is essentially a jetty with a sign that says welcome and a loudspeaker that plays the national anthem of whichever freighter is passing by at the time. What they would do if two ships of different nationalities came past at the same time I have no idea, but being run by precision Germans I’m sure that there is a plan accompanied by a series of detailed pie charts somewhere that has taken this contingency into account. We stopped there to have a fish brödchen and watch the ships go by.
Eventually we paid a quick visit to Tante Rut (pronounced ‘root’) and Uncle Klaus who were absolutely fabulous. If I make it to their age I want to be just as full of energy and enthusiasm as they were. We had a grand old chat covering many different areas and I found them singularly interesting. For example, Klaus was a front line officer in the German army during World War 2 and fought on both the east and west fronts. During this time he was
The welcome point
The welcome point that plays the national anthem of any arriving ships.
wounded seven times and each time after he healed, he just kept going back! Not to mention that one of these times he was left for dead as his unit retreated had to pretended to be dead as the Russian infantry moved past to avoid capture. Wow.
On telling them my further travel plans (next stop Italy) Tante Rut suggested that I should go to Padua to touch the tomb of St. Anthony who is the catholic saint of recovering lost things. Uncle Klaus responded to this by saying that I would be better off going to Verona instead and stroking the breast of the statue of Juliet (of Romeo and Juliette fame) for good luck in my love life. Rut then gave Klaus a playful smack on the hand... hilarious.
Finally to finish the day, we returned home to have a very traditional Hamburg meal of Bohnen, Birnen und Speck (long beans cooked with pears and bacon).
Coming next, a day in Hamburg.
Also, Google Maps link for Wedel: Click Here!
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