2015-07-23 13.47.07

I grew up in a small town of 70,000 people, close to the Dutch border. This is the old city hall, one of the most beautiful buildings in town.

2015-07-23 10.30.00

We started the two night visit in a local restaurant, featuring Westphalian food. We were the only customers but it was still a lovely meal filled with potatoes, ham, beer and really good ice cream. Dark bread ice cream. Interesting.

2015-07-24 01.21.56

We rented bikes and and rode along the Aa, the local river towards the Netherlands.

2015-07-24 01.22.40

The father of a former girlfriend owned this factory once. Now it’s just ruins.

2015-07-24 01.26.12

Good intentions. Terrible spelling.

2015-07-24 01.26.39

Fields of corn and wheat reflected the sun and brought back memories of a time long past.

2015-07-24 01.35.26

Weeping Willow or Trauerweide as we say in German. My favorite tree.

2015-07-24 01.50.13

The cow won the staring contest.

2015-07-24 02.05.40

The route is beautiful in the summer, really breathtaking in the fall when the fog creates a romantic and somehow spooky atmosphere.

2015-07-24 02.23.39

After 10 km, crossing the Dutch border. Dinxperlo is a Dutch city but some streets are part of Germany. There was never a real border, just a green crossing and a sign.

2015-07-24 04.17.03

After a quick coffee break, we returned to Bocholt. Our destination was the local forrest. As a kid, I spent hours here catching tadpoles.

2015-07-24 04.16.22

My old playground was now her favorite stop in Bocholt. Well, the ice cream parlors were really beloved.

2015-07-24 04.49.52

Quick lunch stop at the local lake. Not many beach types on a Friday afternoon.

2015-07-24 05.45.40

Returning along the Aa to our hotel.

2015-07-24 06.17.35

The vast majority of Bocholt was destroyed during WWII. Some of the old architecture is still around (right), the city is now dominated by ugliness (left).

2015-07-24 03.59.46

This used to be a place where you could feed swans and ducks in a small lake. Now it’s sad example of inhuman architecture.

2015-07-24 06.27.04

I was born in the room behind this window. Not many people can pinpoint the exact place where they were born. My mother hated hospitals and decided to give birth in this room.

2015-07-24 06.23.43

Christuskirche, the church I was baptized and confirmed in.

2015-07-24 06.31.17

I saw this statue for 9 years when riding my bike to school. It’s very special to be able to retrace the steps of my childhood. Not much has changed in Bocholt.

2015-07-24 06.52.41

We paid respect at my father’s grave.

2015-07-24 06.59.16

And said ‘Hi’ to my mother.

2015-07-23 13.44.21

One last look at Bocholt and it was time to say goodbye.