Friday, September 23, 2011

This week's tourism

I had a couple of touristy days this week.
On Tuesday, I went to the Herrenhauser Gardens with Renee, a woman from New York that I met through the Hannover International Women's Club. I don't know the history exactly, but the estate there used to belong to Hannover's royal family and was built in the 1700s. There are huge gardens there - very manicured with hedge mazes, statues, and fountains. Here's more info if you are interested:

Then on Wednesday I went as a chaperone on the International School's 10th grade field trip to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It's about an hour outside of Hannover. The Nazis used it first as a work camp for those Jews and other prisoners with British or American that they hoped to exchange for German POWs. When that didn't really work, they continued bringing other prisoners there from all over Europe for slave labor. At the end of the war, the Nazis shipped prisoners from Polish camps to Bergen-Belsen so they would not be rescued. Eventually most of the prisoners died from starvation or disease. About 50,000 people died there. It was really intense, as you can imagine. Some of the strange things are how peaceful it was there - all the buildings were burned down by the Allies since they were disease-ridden, so it really looks like a big forest preserve. There are some foundations of buildings still there and a cemetery and museum. In the museum is original footage that the British soldiers took when they liberated the camp. Also, there is a large town very nearby. The residents of the town knew what was happening at the camp and it was a part of the local economy for farmers, construction workers, etc who provided supplies. It was a powerful, draining experience for the kids and for me.

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About Me

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Thanks for coming to my blog. It started as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, and now has become an ongoing project. I'm an American living in Germany and trying to travel whenever I can. I write about my experiences as an expatriate (the interesting ones and the embarrassing ones), and about my travels. There are some recurring characters in this blog, particularly my husband Brian and several of our friends. The title comes from the idea that living in a foreign country means making a lot of mistakes. So the things you used to do easily you now have to try over and over again. Hopefully, like me, you can laugh at how idiotic it feels. If you have happened upon my blog, then welcome. Knowing that people are reading what I write makes me keep going. Feel free to write comments or suggestions for future posts.