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    • Day 39

      A personal pilgrimage

      October 1 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 22 °C

      Got up nice and early, went for walk around the countryside and back for a full English at the van, yum.
      Off on our travels again, first point as we’re passing through anyway was Hamelin, as in the pied piper of - the town where the rats (and subsequent children) disappeared. Apparently based on fact? Must read Grimm fairy tales… Very pretty city but we didn’t stop. Onwards to the first stop, my birth town. Found the building that used to be BMH (British medical hospital) Rinteln, closed in 1997 then converted to a care home for elderly and special needs schooling. We walked around the back path still with old fencing and barbed wire, quite military looking then drove to the entrance. Nicely modernised but still with elements of military, looks a little like a prison! Interesting opportunity to see where it all began nearly 50 years earlier.
      Then on towards Cologne but, again, stopping along the way to Iserlohn, my maternal grandmother‘s home town. Again, a lovely looking old town but we headed to the cemetery as Grandma had mentioned that the family were buried there. Sadly, the only name I have is her maiden name, Schwarz. She keeps everything close to her chest! We had a wander. A massive, beautifully maintained grounds. We didn’t find any Schwartz however not surprising as in Germany, you only rent the burial spot usually up to around 30-50 years. After that point if you don’t want to continue paying, the grave is cleared and reused for the next burial! A German friend of ours went and reclaimed his father‘s headstone. It’s now in his garden! Apparently you’re not allowed to scatter ashes either, they have to be buried in a cemetery too?
      We paid our respects anyway and drove to our stopover by the river Lenne in a town called Altena. Another lovely looking town with a castle on the hill. More walking, dinner then whilst we were gaming, we thought it was our music first but heard a loud siren, opened the door and there was definitely a siren from out side, very loud. V scary. The same as an air raid siren. It sounded for 3 rounds then stopped. Few minutes later we heard lots of vehicle sirens go past. Apparently a few towns in Germany still have a warning system which was tested recently (similar to our mobile phone alert we had but theirs was sirens too). The alert we heard was for the fire brigade calling to warn them of an incident so not an alert for the public. There are different alerts that we should listen out for, though.
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