Tuesday, September 26th, 2000 Serendipity Day of adventure...
Up early, raining outside. Packed, had breakfast at the hotel in their beautiful breakfast room. In talking to another guest, an older German lady from the Frankfurt area, the hotel is about seven years old. Sure looks newer. Even has hall lights controlled by sensors so that they go on and off automatically when you enter a hall.
We left about 9:30 and worked at finding the Oldenburg Cemetery. Finally found it and Jim walked about in the rain with an umbrella but only found some Janssen (ss) names. Hard to do unless you had a map as they are rather large cemeteries. Left Oldenburg about 10:45 and headed south to Osnabruck. We were looking for Lohne (O.) which is about half way there. Arrived in Lohne about noon. Larger town than we’d thought. We think that this is the town that the Jansen family migrated from. Drove around checking large maps on sign boards and Martha finally convinced Jim to stop at a hotel and ask for a map of the town. He did, but very reluctantly – Volla – he got one and we found a cemetery. Again, no luck in finding any family names. It is still raining! Left and headed south again towards Osnabruck.
There we headed east to Melle to see if we’d do any better with my side of the family. The rain was stopping and we saw a very bad accident about half way there on the other side of the highway. They were completely diverting the traffic from that side. We arrived in Melle about 2 pm. Jim went into the hotel next to the train station to see if he could get another map, found a brochure on the city but no map. Martha suggested he go back in and find a person and ask about the map. He did. Came back without the brochure or a map. But the clerk had drawn him a map to the cemetery.
We didn’t find the cemetery but we did reach a wonderful estate down a country road. The owner stopped to see if he could help as he was leaving in his Jaguar, spoke excellent English. Jim explained that we were lost but that we were so delighted with his home we wanted to take some photos before heading back. He smiled and wished us good luck!
We then headed back into town and stopped at another hotel. Martha got out and went in. Couldn’t find anyone but went into the bakery next door. Clerk was very nice but spoke no English. A policeman who’d stopped to purchase a sweet roll asked me to wait a moment and he could help me. So we went to his car (Jim was panicked as he worried that he’d get a parking ticket as we still don’t have a blue card for parking) and he gave me a wonderful city map just like the one that Jim had received in Lohne.
We found the cemetery and both walked all over it as the rain had stopped. No luck. Found lots of variations by none spelled correctly. Some of the graves were before 1800’s. Very old, but also very large. Found a group of German soldiers from WW II. Back on the road by 3:20 pm we returned to Osnabruck, the accident was cleared by then, and then south towards Koln. Went off the road near Dortmund to a small town called Unna. Finally parked the car and found the information center about 6 pm. They made hotel reservations for us nearby at the Kraka Hotel. Reasonable and clean with secured parking.
We walked to the hotel, registered and then returned to move the car to the garage. This room has our first bathtub and the room is quiet. Walked to a little side walk café called the Grill House and had a meal: meatloaf/hamburger, peas/carrots, potatoes along with a beer. We sat at a counter and watched the people go by in the shopping area. Really good! Home early we met the owner’s Yorkie dog in the elevator. When Martha spoke to the dog, the owner said to the dog that he probably wouldn’t like it in England! Washed my hair and enjoyed the evening downloading my photo’s onto the computer, sat everything on the floor.
When I was done I picked up the camera to delete the photos and the LED had stopped working. Very frustrating. Read the instructions after working at it for a long time. It did say something about the cold would affect the LED, so decided to put it away, give it a rest and check it tomorrow evening. No English TV, but we watched the German. To bed by 10 pm.