24 Aug 2017, 0649 Frankfurt Time
It is the land of my ancestors. My great great grandfather, Joseph Koenigseder, boarded a boat, in a barrel, in 1885 to cross the ocean from Europe. It was his great escape. He had a feeling what was coming around the bend, with the Nazis and all, so he bailed. Or so the legend goes.
Of course, I never knew him, or even his daughter, my great-grandmother, Monica. They were both gone well before I came along, but man what a story that would have been. My grandmother often told the story, shrouded in mystery and suspense. She told of his bravery, his gumption, and his foresight. She told us that he was a very smart man, and that he was very German as well. All the good qualities – neatness, organization, etc. I see that today in my travels to Frankfurt.
I don’t know if any of my family has ever been to Germany since 1885. I am really not sure. I know none of my mom’s immediate family has been. I know my grandmother and at least 5 of her siblings hadn’t been. I don’t know about the 6th, and I’m not sure about Monica’s siblings’ families, either. But, I know I’m the first on this branch, anyway. It didn’t hit me until we were about to land earlier this morning. I hadn’t really thought about it. But, as we touched down, there was a little part of my organized, clean-freak self that felt absolutely at home. And I don’t speak of word of German.
It is a very clean airport. Terrazzo tile marks every floor. The seats are neat and clean. There is almost no trash sitting around, and you can be guaranteed that none of it came from any of the Germans who were seated near us. A flight just left to Stockholm, and they appeared to be very neat as well. Even here, there are a few other nationalities, but not nearly the diversity you’d see in Paris, London, or even Barcelona. Of course, it’s 7am, so most normal people aren’t even up yet. We are going on nearly 20 hours of awakefulness, so this is going to be a long long day. Headed to Venice, with only three days in the city before we board our ship, we want to cram in as much as possible before we leave.
Sitting in this airport, I wonder what the rest of the German countryside is like. We are stopping on the way back in Munich for a day, which should be really cool. It’s one of those things you do when you have the opportunity. It didn’t cost anything other than some time and a hotel room for the night. Might as well. It would cost a heck of a lot more to do it on its own some other time. Like doing London for one day a couple of years ago, and the time I took the train to New York from Philly, just for the evening. Worth. It.
Travel is so open minded. Travel truly does feed my soul, heal my heart, and help my psyche. It is the very best of things. Today, I not only get to travel, but I get to see the land of my traveling soul ancestors who braved the Atlantic in a barrel so that I could be here today.