Seven years before he took his family to Bremerhaven to board a ship to America, George’s great-great-great grandfather Johann Heinrich Germer married Dorothea Stichmann in the small village of Sickte where they both lived. Johann and Dorothea already had two sons by then.
Tales of travel, humor, sarcasm and other nonsense.
In August 1845, Johann Heinrich Germer left his home in Sichte, Germany, accompanied by his wife and four children, including a son who was also named Johann Heinrich (Junior). The family traveled to the port city of Bremerhaven, where they boarded a sailing vessel headed for America. A shoemaker by trade, Johann Heinrich Senior believed – as did many of his countrymen – that a better life awaited them in the New World. But the journey was risky.
We expected our next destination, the city-state of Bremen, to be just a convenient base for nearby adventures. But as luck would have it, our interactions with two Bremen residents made our time there far more fascinating.
The city of Cologne, which the Germans call Köln (and it’s their city, so they can call it whatever they like) is one of the oldest cities in Germany. As a result, it has lots and lots of churches that were originally built during very different periods in history.
We’re writing this post on a rainy evening in Cologne, while we hang out at our hotel’s bar drinking red German wine. Yes, red German wine. It’s quite good, actually. We hope to drink more of it during this trip. Oh, who are we kidding? Of course we’ll drink more of it.
In June 1963, John F. Kennedy visited Berlin to rally the West against the USSR’s newly constructed wall that was designed to separate the Eastern (Soviet) part of the city from the Western part, with dire consequences for those who tried to cross it. In his speech to an appreciative crowd, President Kennedy famously uttered the phrase “Ich bin ein Berliner” – meaning, I am a person of Berlin; I am one of you. As the story goes, the crowd both applauded and laughed at Kennedy’s words, because unbeknownst to him those words had a double meaning.
Our last stop was Mumbai, by far India’s most cosmopolitan city, though maybe not its most picturesque. Mumbai doesn’t have a lot of tourist attractions. But the international blend of cuisines made for some wonderful meals, and we managed to find some pretty interesting vistas.
Our travels through Rajasthan took us to Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur. All those names end in “pur” because that’s the Hindi suffix for “city” – similar to the Arabic “abad” (Islamabad, Jalalabad) or the Russian “grad” (Leningrad, Stalingrad) or the English, er, ah…”city.”
Bad pun, Ok, terrible pun. It’s actually pronounced OO-dah-pur. In any case, Udaipur is unlike anywhere else we’ve been in India.
Though the Pink City is no longer pink, the Blue City of Jodhpur is definitely still blue.
Jaipur, the first planned city in India, is known as the Pink City because its founder, the Maharaja Jai Singh II, decreed that all the buildings should be, well, pink.
That’s the name of an early 1970s musical in which the whole cast disrobes piece by piece, eventually revealing all their naughty bits, while performing skits about sexual mores and taboos and so forth. It has nothing to do with the city of Calcutta.