Sun 22 Dec - Kleinvillars, Germany

An insight into the German hotel business...and yet another part of Di's family.

First off, why did Di do what she did flapping her arms in yesterday's photo? The answer is she demonstrated crossing Sydney Harbour Heads on a Manly Ferry during a violent storm. Cute, hey?

Sunday is church day for Roland and likely for most of the residents of Kleinvillars village. So, we got up at 8am for breakfast and then whilst Roland and Christa were at church we did some washing and used Roland's desktop computer to check our email (no wifi for the 3rd day running, we are (barely) coping..., pretty sad hey?).

Just before 10am Roland and Christa left for church and our quiet abode was suddenly interrupted from above by... great music from Nils Lofgren's Acoustic Live album, one of our absolute favourites, which we also carry with us on the iPhone.

Good on ya, Werner, as we assumed that he believed he was all by himself in the house.

Of course, we believe that Nils is a distant relative to Hans (Hans' great grand father is likely to be Nils' grandfather or great grand father) and we also tracked down Nils' home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Hans' grandfather changed the family surname from Lofgren (or Löfgren in Swedish) to Carlen after 12 of his 16 siblings emigrated to the US, but which one of them eventually produced Nils is not known to Hans.

Now back to Di's family... the Suedes have been in Kleinvillars a long time. This sack is from Louis Suedes, Di's great great grandfather from 1874.

After Roland and Christa returned home we together made some telephone calls to Oz. We spoke with Di's father and his wife in Ballina and to Di's brother Bill, also in Ballina. Fortunately Di's mum and her husband were visiting Bill so we spoke to them too.

Lunch had been planned in a nice hotel in a town nearby, which happens to be owned by another of Roland's cousins. We soon found out that this branch of the family tree has a bit of a hotel empire, owning about 5 hotels in total.

Here we met Rut and Horst again and enjoyed a very nice lunch.

Elke Suedes is related by marriage to Roland and as the hotel manager/owner was our host (she is seated at the end in black). She kindly shouted us a pre dinner drink and also dessert and coffee. The meal was of our own choice and was delicious. Again for us its a lot of food in the middle of the day but Roland and Christa promised us a light "abend essen" tonight. Yeah, right...

After lunch we were taken on a tour of the renovations of another hotel (in the same town) that the Suedes own and met Alfred Suedes here (Elke's husband) who manages all 5 hotels of behalf of his family. This one is a Best Western and as you can see from the crane, the extensions are quite extensive.

Alfred is the second generation of hotel owners in this branch of the family and 2 of his adult children have also studied hotel management. So it appears that a third generation Suedes will continue the family business.

The extensions will cost about 8€ million in total and we were proudly shown the construction and temporary breakfast room.

The breakfast room felt like it was in a barrack, and it was.

We were also invited back to stay once the renovations are finished. Who knows, maybe we do one day...

A term we picked up during the afternoon, which is likely to stick, is "Power Frau". Very apt term from Roland to describe Alfred's mother who was a driving force behind the extensions of the original hotel empire. Also to describe some other women we know well... Di...!?

The rain had now settled in so our plans for a bit of a stroll around town were dismissed and we headed home just after 4pm. Perfect time for a siesta, which we enjoyed.

Social again at 6pm as Roland and Christa prepared a simple supper (well as simple as these things go in Germany) as Christina, Roland's daughter and her husband Tom arrived with their son Tim for a meal and chat. Catherine, Roland's other daughter who lives upstairs, also turned up and it was yet another social gathering with wine and beer flowing.

Christina is the same age as Di and remembered when she was a child and met Di's mother and father when they visited here in 1973. She said she had some old photos from that time and would pull them out for us to see on Christmas Eve.

The guests gradually left and the rest of us chatted and drank until 11pm or so when it was bedtime for us. No pictures as we left that for Christmas Eve when we are invited to Tom and Christina's place across the road for the big family Christmas. For now, it is good night from us.


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