Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent Calendar ~ Holiday Travel

Please note: This post originally ran for the Advent Calendar of Memories in December 2009 ~  Mom use to watch the Rathhaus video cam everyday, she grew up just down the street from this wonderful little center now alive with the Christmas market. Even though mom is not here with us...I continue to watch it each day too...after all, it's where I was born! My visit back there as described in this story...I remember the Rathhaus very well. 

Aunt Gitta, Uncle Adi, my mom, Uncle Helmut, myself, Oma Lieselotte, Great Oma Margarete and Opa Adalbert Haf

Our arrival at the Munich Airport 1965

My wonderful and unforgettable memory of traveling was when mom and I flew back to Augsburg, Germany - a more than 2000 year old city. I was born in Augsburg and came to the U.S. when I was three. Mom was born and raised there. This was the first trip we made back together and to boot, we did it at Christmas time, the most beautiful time of the year to me.

Munich Airport ~ our airplane ~ Lufthansa

Our flight was about an eighteen hour flight from LAX to Munich. We flew via Lufthansa. I will never forget that flight. Because we were going to be in Germany for a little over three weeks, mom had all of my class work and homework pre-arranged to take with me. I remember doing my school work on that plane! I remember we would get these really neat smelling (lemon scent) wet wipes after eating a meal. To this day, I am reminded of that trip each time I encounter that familiar scent!

Once we landed in Munich, we would have about a one hour drive from Munich to Augsburg. Mom and I were quite tired but we didn't care, it was so exciting - I was in Germany! I remember how emotional it was to see my Opa, Oma and great Oma along with my two uncles and aunt Gitta at the airport. I hadn't seem my Opa since I had left and we were inseparable at one time. The photo above was taken upon that arrival.

The Autostrasse Sudtirol

I remember how beautiful the ride was to my Oma's home. Germany is gorgeous. It was snowing, cold and I didn't care. I was loving every minute of it! We went all over the place--to my great Oma Margarete's, to my uncles homes, shopping at the Rathhaus Plaza.

I have the web cam of the Rathhaus Plaza on each and everyday right now, the famous and traditional Christmas market is in full swing. It's a great feeling to see a place that you were born in all the way across the ocean on a web cam and still feel as if you are there! It's like I get to travel there everyday! They are nine hours ahead so the best time to watch is around eight or nine a.m. here in the states. Mom watches it everyday too and she knows each trolley and where it's headed! My Oma still lives just blocks from the plaza -she is ninety-six years old.

Opa, myself, Oma Lieselotte, and Mom, our trip to the Alps

Mom and I along with my Opa, Oma and my uncles traveled to the Alp's. The Alp's are breath taking. What an experience it was to visit such a beautiful and magical place. Most of all, I enjoyed Christmas with all of the family members and having a very traditional German Christmas. The family, the food, the joy of being together was unforgettable.

Mom tries to go back each year, my daughter went back with my mom when she was thirteen at Christmas time. She also experienced a memorable time that will last her a lifetime.

That really is the only "big" trip that my family has made during the holidays. We normally stay within our area. Mom lives about an hour and a half away. We will travel to her home and spend an evening with her to have our Christmas together. It may be a week or so before Christmas but with the kids grown and having their own families, it's much easier this way. Christmas Eve is spent in our home and Christmas Day the kids spend the day with their own families and in-laws.


Barbara Poole said...

What a wonderful piece. A true travel log with pictures new to me and very familiar to you. Writing this must have brought back many memories and thanks for sharing. Also, I've checked the webcam a few times. What a historic city you came from.

Thomas MacEntee said...

A great post Gini and I love the photos! Remember when people would get dressed up to fly? Nowadays I see folks in sweats, flip flops, carrying their own pillows. Are they going on vacation or to a slumber party?

Gini said...

Thank you Thomas! It was a great trip to remember. Mom always made sure we were dressed appropriately. Mom was very much into hats too!

Mom and I had that very conversation when she was here for Thanksgiving. She said that she finds it sad how casual people dress nowadays --so sloppy! San Diego is very relaxed, at my old job, owners would come in wearing flip flops and shorts! Took a little getting use to.

Gini said...

Thank you Barbara, as I looked at the photos, it did bring back that great feeling when I was there along with many wonderful memories.

Germany is such a beautiful place and Augsburg is so rich in history. It's very rewarding to do research on my German ancestors and I am very proud of where I came from.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Thanks for your post about Germany. I don't have a lot of time to read blogs, but I found this when searching for German Genealogy. I have an ancestor who was a Hessian soldier in the American Revolution, so far back that we didn't even know we had German Ancestry. What a shame! I wish some of the culture had been passsed along, and I'm glad that your family continued with the German traditions.

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

What a wonderful trip that must have been, Gini. And so special that your daughter got to go back with your mom. Thank you for sharing!