Rows and Rows

Two things, both independent of each other, and often working in cahoots, make you get out and about more in your own neighbourhood; visitors and good weather. April and May gave us the former in abundance and the latter in just enough quantity to be of assurance the sun does indeed exist and it can, when it feels like it, smile upon northern Germany. Ergo, the last couple of weeks – while we’ve waited on internet technicians and key locksmiths and hassled incompetent moving companies – we have been getting out and about to sightsee with Kiel first timers, and to check out more of what surrounds us. Checking out what surrounds us, it must be admitted, found a logical extension in adding scenic, pram-friendly routes to the ‘stroll list’ for when we are no longer two, but three.

My cousin was with us for last week and he was, as many are when they journey to Germany, keen to see some historical war sites. Kiel has several of its own memorials and sites of interest tucked away, but its main association with WW2 still exists today; Kiel’s port was a major naval base and where the war ships and submarines were built. Consequently, it was bombed heavily and largely rebuilt after the war. A walk to the water today will take you to the once-more significant naval base and ship and submarine building yards which remain central to the sailing city’s industry and economy.

Unsure of what else to show my cousin beyond Laboe, where the Naval Memorial and UBoot-995 lies, I asked SG’S Mum about some other historical war sites we could visit. She suggested the British Commonwealth War Cemetery, the final resting place of nearly one thousand WW2 soldiers from Great Britian, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Poland. Turns out the cemetery, which is part of the Nordfriedhof (Kiel has two beautiful cemeteries, one in the north and one in the south) is about a 900m walk from our place. So on a suitably grey and grizzly day, my cousin and I set out to find it, via my favourite cafe for a warming drink.

I love cemeteries and this one is beautiful. Huge trees crane over the headstones, and drip onto the wide paths. Everything is green and quiet.

photo 5 (10)

With no one about and quite unsure if we were allowed to do so (one can never be sure) we went off the muddy path and pushed through the little gate into the British Commonwealth Cemetery.

photo 1 (16)

photo 5 (9)

Row and row of headstones, with names and ages rarely over 29. Some headstones had no names, some bore a sentence of two of Godly sacrifice and gratitude, some families had been able to engrave a few words. We wound our way quietly through the rows.

photo 4 (6)

11 Replies to “Rows and Rows”

  1. Beautiful pictures, Liv. Found your blog a short while back and have enjoyed reading all your posts. My boyfriend is from Nuernberg so we’ve had a good laugh and quite a bit of head nodding as we read through several of your posts. Right now we both live in the States, but I’d love to have the chance to live in Germany some day. Until then I’m definitely looking foward to being a continued reader of yours!

    1. Thank you so much for reading, lovely to have you here. Aahhhh a Nürnberger! How is he finding the states? I hope you two do get the chance to live out here at some point.

      1. Thanks for your sweet comment. He has done an amazing job adjusting here, though I like to tell myself that I might have a little bit to do with that! 🙂 Overall I think he really likes it here. He’s pretty laid back about a lot of thing so I think America suits him in that regard–but make no mistake, he’s very much still a German, or should I say Franconian!! Very important distinction, as you know. (I absolutely cracked up at some of your posts regarding dialects and regions–sounded so famililar!) Of course it’s hard to be so far from family at times, but he does a fantastic job keeping in touch with family and friends back home. And when the homesickness hits…and it hits him on both sides of the ocean now (again I like to think I have a little to do with that!)…I tell him he’s lucky, that whatever direction he’s flying, he’s always moving toward people that love him. Not everyone has that bittersweet blessing! He took me to Nürnberg two Christmases ago and then I visited Germany again last year and loved it. Can’t wait to go back…and maybe we’ll stay there one day. So much depends on his work since he’s in a pretty specialized field. But I know you understand since you’ve moved around quite a bit in response to your partner’s job. It’s great that with your writing you can be so flexible! Thanks again for responding to my comment. Look forward to reading more and keeping in touch! Oh and congratulations on the upcoming sweet new addition to your family! I’m very excited for you!

        1. Oh and sorry for my excessive use of exclamation points. Probably didn’t even need to say I was American. 😉

        2. That is a lovely way to see it – whichever direction you are flying, it is towards people who love you. It took me until this year’s trip back to Sydney to finally see this pull between countries as fortunate. That outlook makes the whole process with all of its inherent difficulties and tensions, so much easier. And thank you for your baby wishes – we are getting very excited to meet her!

  2. It is beautiful, yet creepy at the same time. I like Cemetaries in that they are essentially very well kept gardens/forests, but on the other hand I don’t spend more time than I have to there :-/

  3. Just discovered your blog, and as a native Kieler, I love it. Still, a little correction: Kiel has more than just two cemetaries, although Nord- and Südfriedhof definitely are among the most beautiful. However, there’s also Eichhof, which is also rather large (actually it’s Schleswig-Holstein’s largest cemetary), beautifully arranged, and pram-compatible.

What do you think?