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Saxony-Anhalt Germany

When I took a trip to Germany after an absence of 15 years, a lot had changed. Germany had grown in land and population. West Germans had been reunited with their East German brothers, sisters, cousins, and other family members, as well as old friends, after the Berlin Wall was torn down on November 9, 1989.

My first stop to see family members was in Arnstadt, Saxony-Anhalt. One of my cousins from Berlin lived here. He had married a widow with three children and together they had another daughter. I took a taxi from the train station to the street address. However, I could not find the house number. Then I heard someone hail me from above. It was my cousin. He told me to wait and that he would come down to get me.

To say that the conditions were primitive is an understatement. He led me through a doorway into an inner yard and then to the door of the apartment building. It was as if I had stepped into an open sewer. Yes, they'd had some problems with the toilet system and the water system as a whole. I kept gagging and it was only because I hadn't eaten much on the train that I managed to keep everything down. We had to walk up four flights of stairs and the smell still did not get any better. I shudder to think of it even now. Barely five years after the reunification of Germany, all the corruption of the Communist system and the barely livable conditions of the common people had been alleviated in very limited areas.

But the family was happy to see me and made me as comfortable as they could. I also hoped to lighten the load of my luggage, since I had brought gifts from Canada for all the children I would be seeing.

We drove around in the surrounding areas, and visited the Wartburg, a castle of great religious significance the next day. We also went to see Schweinfurt.

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