Thursday, August 18, 2016

In Darmstadt

Even though I have written about the three and a half weeks I spent in Germany, it was impossible for me to tell you everything I learned and enjoyed there.   

First of all, I want to acknowledge our host and hostess in Celle, Wilhelm and Karin, whose generosity and hospitality were - and I don't use this word lightly - overwhelming. Because they live in a secluded part of downtown Celle, we were able to walk to the heart of the town and see everything there was to see there, including the inside and outside of the castle pictured below.
But most of our time in Germany was spent in Darmstadt, the city of poets, thinkers, and students of three universities. It is also the city where my son lives. As in Celle, Darmstadt has a rich and varied history as well as some beautiful and charming old buildings like the Rathaus and the Mathilde chapel, which was built by the last czar of Russia, Nicholas II, for his wife who was born in Darmstadt.

But when it comes to hospitality, Darmstadt is a place that cannot be beaten since it is also the site where, in September of last year, a party was thrown by its residents to welcome, with open arms, refugees from the Middle East and from Africa. 

 Also, while in Germany my son and I watched Iron Sky, a movie in which an African-America astronaut travels to the moon in 2018 and discovers a colony of Nazis (the Fourth Reich) who have been living there since the end of World War II. Although Iron Sky is a low budget film whose humor can sometimes be so subtle it can be missed, (there are scenes in which there is a poster with the words "Black to the Moon" on it, the movie successfully and playfully pokes fun at both America's future and Germany's past.

But what I enjoyed most about Germany is learning that it is a country with a lot of history, hospitality, humility, humanity and humor.

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