So this picture above is Bernard’s cousin’s home, she (and her husband – that’s them in the center) taking over care of it from her parents. It’s beyond spectacular, the kind of place at which Americans fantasize having a wedding but can’t because nothing like it exists in the US. Everything about it is beautiful and picturesque, from the home itself to the grounds that include several outbuildings, pastures, a moat and more. We got a personalized tour of it yesterday, marveling every step of the way. It’s hundreds of years old.
The picture to the left is inside the pigeon house on the property of Bernard’s cousin’s home. We have been learning that the size of one’s pigeon house determines one’s status. This pigeon house is quite large, capable of housing 2000 pigeons (each opening in the wall is a pigeon apartment). That’s quite a bit larger than the one Melinda and I have back in Seattle. Wait a second, that’s right, we don’t have a pigeon house, although I could probably find a used parakeet cage on Craigslist. In this photo, Melinda and I are obviously looking up at the ceiling, Melinda imagining what she could do with all this space and me thinking, “2000 pigeons and no indoor plumbing?”
Okay, the house above is where Bernard’s father grew up, meaning it belonged to Bernard’s paternal grandparents. I was mesmerized three years ago by a story Bernard’s dad told me about being a young teen during the German occupation of WWII and German soldiers being billeted in this house. We got a great tour of it and the grounds by another of Bernard’s cousins who is now living here.
The photo on the right is outbuilding in which Bernard’s father’s family lived during the German occupation. You can kind of see the larger main house in the distance. This building also houses an ancient cider press (photo on the left). We were able to go inside and see it, hearing stories of how the press was turned by horses and that families from the nearby village brought their apples here to be pressed. I asked if they made apple cider, the kind of drink for children we think about mostly in the US. No, I learned that the cider was all fermented and was consumed like water.