Day 14: Kamen to Lippstadt

Holy Cow!

(Sunday - June 17th, 2018)

On my way to Kassel and Ermschwerdt, where my great grandfather Fredrich Rappe (Alte Fritz) lived before moving to Brazil about 1890.

This was probably the longest ride of my trip and full of... cows. My map app took me the wrong way out of Kamen, but I discovered the error before going too far. As I biked north to the Lippe River, then east towards Lippstadt, the small cities gave way to farms and rural agriculture.

Farms (bauernhofs), fields of corn (maize), wheat (weizen), or oats (hafer), small woods (wald), towns with churches (kirche), cows (kuhe), and the smell of manure (düngen)... did I fly 5,000 miles to visit Wisconsin?? Actually, the differences were noticeable - from the imposing brick farmhouses, barns of brick and wood (half-timber) oriented towards a farm courtyard, the maypoles, and of course churches and buildings much older than anything in my heimatland.

I also noticed different bird species: a grey and green, white ringnecked pheasant, and black birds with white stripes. I´m not a birder, so I can´t say what the latter birds were.

There were a few humorous elements - like the horse blanket with zebra stripes, or the self-operated pull-ferry which seemed overly complex. Just build a bridge. Oh you Germans...

Loneliness

This was also the first day that I occasionally felt alone and a bit lonely. But there were a couple uniquely German reasons for this. First, it was Sunday - nothing is open (well, maybe some restaurants and of course hotels). And second, it was the opening game for Team Deutschland at the World Cup in Russia. I heard Germany lost to Mexico, 0-1... sorry my German friends!

So yes, it was quiet, but I did see a fair number of bicyclists. And a lot of groups of 4 or more. Biking for leisure, not racing or exercise, is very common in Germany. Older women, families, and couples can all be seen biking. Even way out in Lippborg. Of course, I found that even when I started to feel the ¨what the hell am I doing?¨ I simply focused on putting one pedal in front of the other. Soon I would be in a cool wood, or looking across a field at a beautiful old church.

One Last Thing

Before I finish this days´ review, I have to say that my time in Kamen was wonderful. It was a short 24 hours (less than that actually), but Hanno Peppmeier and his wife Ingelaura (I hope I spelled her name correctly), and daughter Inga, and son Lars were so kind and hospitable. I stayed overnight, and Hanno and Ingelaura took me to dinner with their friends who were all friendly and enjoyable. We had quite a few laughs over dinner and bier, and three or four kinds of grappa (schnapps?)... I don´t remember all the flavors, but not because of the alcohol :-).

So to Hanno and family, thank you so much for making my stay in Kamen - short as it was - very comfortable. Also, I wish you the best in the upcoming re-run of the mayor´s election in two weeks! I hope your candidate comes through!

FYI for my American friends. In Germany, at least for mayor races, if no one reaches 50% of the vote, the top two candidates go into a run-off. There were three candidates. All elections are on Sundays. Unfortunately, this is what we would call a ¨Special Election¨ - they mayor of Kamen is retiring early - and also the first football game of the World Cup. Turnout was abysmal. Less than 65% voting in a local election is pretty bad in Germany. I wish the U.S. had better turnout - but we need to make voting easier, not harder. Nothing in the Constitution gives any requirement for voting except citizenship and age.

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This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Hi Kirk — I’m really enjoying reading your thoughts and observations. I’m sad that I’m not there with you, and wistful as your describe all the things that I loved so much about Germany during the time that I spent there.

  2. Hey there Kirk! Glad to hear you are enjoying the trip and fun to connect with family. Thanks for sharing all the great photos!

  3. I know I’m a few days late in reading this, but I really love this post — from the sweet lil’ cows in the meadows, to the weird ferry, the confused equine, and the New Glarus biking shirt all make me happy. Could see there being a sort of emptiness on Sundays with things being closed.. not to mention the endless pastures. At the same time, I like hearing about the different people-connections you’ve been having, with a local mayoral candidate no less!.Looking forward to seeing you when you get back stateside, you shaker & moo-ver. 😉 Heart you friend

  4. I love that you shared you were feeling a bit lonely and that you just focused on the pedaling and scenery. So great all the people you’re hanging out with and staying with there!

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