Feeling Home

Do you know what it’s like to travel somewhere you’ve never been before and it feels like you’ve come home? 

Walking the streets of my father’s home town of Waldkirch, in the Black Forest of Germany, I feel “home.”  While subtle, it’s not the first time I’ve had this feeling.  Five years ago my parents gifted my sister and me with an invitation to accompany them to Germany.  From the moment we landed in Frankfurt and many times during, I had the “oh this is why I am the way I am” response to seeing the country and experiencing its people.  A penny had dropped down deep. 

It was a dreary, grey, rainy day when I landed in Frankfurt early Thursday morning.  Grateful for the non-eventful flight with a fairly spacious bulkhead, aisle seat, and slender row-mate on his way from Calgary to Albania, within a half hour I was on an early high-speed train to Freiburg, the cosmopolitan city fifteen minutes from Waldkirch.  Immediately I was struck again, as I had been that initial visit,  by the impeccably neat and clean landscape.  A marked contrast to the mess revealed by spring thaw and melting snows in our parts. 

Last visit, cyclists with their upright posture, panniers and baskets plied with fresh market groceries and flowers, inspired me to get my own European version last summer, helping me live lighter.  I “get” how and why people address each other by surname, unless and until the nature of relationship, would indicate otherwise.  Again a contrast to our presumption of familiarity.  I like seeing people of all ages out and about making daily physical activity the norm.  The year round farmers’ market in the markplatz… standard size refrigerators that don’t hold more than a week’s worth of food…kaffee und kuchen in the afternoon…the Christmas butter cookies that brought tears to my eyes reminding me of my Oma…kirschwasser schnapps that takes my breath away with its pure and potent essence of cherries.

Since my arrival I’ve been blessed with kindness of strangers and embraced by my father’s childhood friends.  From the Lufthansa agent who kindly arranged for me to have my larger and heavier suitcase delivered so I could manage myself on the train (how I’d manage my luggage had been a source of worry early in the planning phase), to Saturday’s traditional luncheon with friends, to the moment-by-moment practical advice and interventions by our “German sister”, BellaThea, my home-base hostess for the duration.  I am home.

About Katharine Weinmann

living and leading with courage, clarity, compassion and creativity
This entry was posted in Pilgrimage and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Feeling Home

  1. Mom says:

    Stay safe my beauty–and know you are in our thoughts each day. Certainly hope that the weather “smartens’ up and wonder if you remembered an umbrella. Have been seeing picuturs of Carnival in Venice, what fun you will have. Love you, Mom. p.s. my patient passed over.

    • Buongiorno Mama
      Si I have an umbrella though right on time, the clouds are breaking and the remainder of the week is forecast to be sunny. Today I got my bearings, went on a guided walking tour, bought formaggio, vedure, gnocci and fresh flowers for my apartment. It is very small—really perfect for one. Blessings to Erma. Ciao!

  2. Julie Daley says:


    What a lovely post. I enjoyed reading about your trip and to know you are now in Bologna…I love that city.

    I know the sense of which you write. I traveled to Germany with my mother to see the town where my GGG-Grandfather was from. I felt a kinship that was hard to explain.

    Have a wonderful time.



  3. sue boo says:

    sounds utterly delightful so far! your parents must be so pleased.
    look forward to the next one!
    xo sue

  4. Kathy T says:

    So lovely to hear that you have settled in, and have found a welcoming abode, and kindness in strangers along your way. What a great picture of you! It was brilliant to take fun hats and funky shoes that speak of your uniqueness, creativity and energy. Blessings.

    • So very very good to hear from a friend so quickly because right now I am in Bologna sitting in mia apartmento…sipping vino, and finally getting settled to have sent this first post. What a lovely way to feel the companionship along the way. Yes the hat definitely was an eyecatcher.

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