Parental Visit: Northern Germany (and Denmark!)

(Disclaimer: This post is going to be way longer than most of the others, because I know certain family members are dying to hear details of the trip!  So if it’s too long and you skip it or just look at the photos I won’t be offended. 🙂 )

So we flew to Hamburg, which is a town in northern Germany.  We met our distant relative Peter there, who is related on my mom’s side.  I’ve been emailing with him and another VERY distant relative Karen on and off since October, when I first considered visiting our ancestral home.  The home is a house near Husum in the very north part of Germany where my mom’s ancestors lived!  My last direct relative to live there was my great-great-great grandfather Peter Jürgen Petersen, and Peter’s (who owns the house now) and my closest shared relative is that man’s father Peter Petersen (yeah, I know, the names.  Ridiculous).  Peter Petersen is my great-great-great-great grandfather and Peter’s great-great-great grandfather.  If you kept all that straight… kudos.  Way too many “Peters” and “greats” in that paragraph.

So Peter picked us up and then we rode with him for about two hours, driving straight north to our ancestral home.  It was dark, but cool to see!  Peter showed us around the inside of the house and we dropped off our stuff, then headed to the restaurant where he had made reservations for dinner.


I took this the next day. Because it’s not dark. Obviously.

Dinner was really good, except for the fact that Peter had to translate the menus for us!  I really hate not speaking the language of a country.  After dinner we came home and sat up and chatted for awhile.  Peter is really into genealogy and had my family tree figured out like, 14 generations back!  Just one branch of it though, obviously- my mom’s side, to her mom, to her mom!  The packet of paper was HUGE.


Yep that is beer in the background! OF COURSE

The next morning, Mom and Peter went to the grocery store in Bredstedt, the closest town, to get some food for breakfast while SOMEONE was still snoozing.  That person was me.  We had a good breakfast together and then headed out in Peter’s car to Denmark, so that we could add another country to the list!  On the way, we stopped to see the marshlands along the North Sea.   We could see small islands, called halligs, from the shore.  I don’t seem to have any photos of them- I think I was too cold to take photos!!  It was VERY chilly and windy and a little rainy during our time in Germany.

The first place we stopped in Denmark was Mogeltonder, a small town with a cool church:



and Prince Joachim of Denmark’s house!

Not TOO fancy, because he's not the oldest son.

Not TOO fancy, because he’s not the oldest son.

Then we went on to Tonder, where there were lots of little shops, a big furniture store, and a year-round Christmas store.  The houses in Denmark were really cool- very old-timey, although some of them were built fairly recently.


One of the streets in Tonder.


We ate lunch in Tonder, walked around and hit a few more shops, then headed back to Germany.  On the way, we stopped at another church in Germany.



Not far from the home there is a TV tower where you can climb the stairs to a lookout point 40 feet up.  It wasn’t too high, but the view was great!


The tower next to the rising moon.

Freezin' in North Freezeland.

Freezin’ in North Friesland.

The area of Germany we were in was called North Friesland, but I coined it Freezeland.  So punny

The area of Germany we were in was called North Friesland, but I coined it Freezeland. So punny

Our last stop of the afternoon was at Bordelum Church, where my family attended many generations ago!  It was SO cool to see it.

The bell tower and the church.  The bell tower is separate because the marshland is so swampy, the vibrations from the bell could crack the foundations of the church!

The bell tower and the church. The bell tower is separate because the marshland is so swampy, the vibrations from the bell could ruin the foundation of the church!

Two family graves in the church graveyard.

My ancestors' graves!

My ancestors’ graves.

Mom posing for me.

Mom posing for me.

Me posing for Dad.

Me posing for Dad.

Dad climbing in the trees to take photos and not posing for anyone.

Dad climbing in the trees to take photos and not posing for anyone.

Finally we headed back to the home to hang out for awhile before dinner.


We ate dinner at a delicious restaurant in Bredstedt called Norditerrean and then came home, hung out for awhile, and went to sleep!  The next day, we ate breakfast, then headed to Husum (the home is in Uphusum).  On the way, we stopped at a small art gallery run by a friend of Peter’s and had some coffee.  Dad and Emmy made friends with the owner’s cat.


Roll, kitty.

The first thing we saw in Husum was Castle Sloss Husom, which was built as a home for dukes’ widows.  There’s a museum in it now.


We walked around Husum for awhile.

Statue of Christine with wooden clogs.

Statue of Christine with wooden clogs.

The old harbor.

The old harbor.

We ate lunch and then went to the Nordsee Museum, which was mostly about the history of the area.  It had a lot of hands-on stuff, which was cool!  On this one, you could move the sand around, then crank a wheel that pushed water in waves up over it.  It was to simulate a flood, because the museum told a lot about the different floods in the area.


There was a recording there in Low German that you could listen to, and it was Peter's voice!!

There was a recording there in Low German that you could listen to, and it was Peter’s voice!!  Dad was surprised.


A model of a traditional German house. The longer the house, the richer you were. Animals were often kept at one end.

After the museum, we had a coffee and some baked goods, then headed back to the home.

Husum at night!

The streets of Husum at night!

On the way, we stopped at a grocery store and bought ingredients for our favorite potato soup, which Mom made for dinner.  We stayed up for awhile talking and listening to music.  Mom and Dad went to bed fairly early, since we had a 4 AM wakeup time the next morning to drive to Hamburg to catch our plane, but Peter was up, so I stayed up late working on the puzzle that I mentioned here!

The next morning we were up bright and early.  If I remember right, we left at 5 to make the a two-hour drive to Hamburg, where our plane to Rome left at 8:30.  We had no problems getting to the airport or on our plane, and then we headed to Rome!  But that’s the next post.


TL;DR my parents and I went to Germany and Denmark and had a great time 🙂

Categories: Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Post navigation

11 thoughts on “Parental Visit: Northern Germany (and Denmark!)

  1. Clarette

    So very interesting! Can’t believe the family graves at the church. Gets me a little teary.

  2. Peter Nissen

    Although the weather wasn’t fine you took some lovely pictures. They give a really good afterglow of your (too) short visit in North Friesland and Denmark.

  3. Mom

    Kelsey says the roles were reversed and she was the parent on this trip. See me playing in the water and sand exhibit at the museum?

  4. Dad

    You took a picture of me taking a picture?

  5. Aunt Con

    Thank you, I had a couple of corrections but tey are not important. One day I will give you an illustrated family tree from you to Peter Petersen. It sound so far off. Peter Petersen to me would be like you are to my Grandpa August. To me I don’t feel you were so far off. I think he got to see you in his lifetime. THANKS AGAIN, KELSEY

    • Please, help me out with corrections!! For the family tree I had to go off memory and all those Peters are confusing. What did I get wrong? Also, I’m sure Peter in Germany will have some corrections for stuff I said wrong about places we went!

  6. aftonjoy

    Not too long! I read and enjoyed every word.

    Did the cat learn how to ROLL?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: