09.10.2010 - 09.10.2010
Well rested after yesterday's trials on the road, we found ourselves back in the car today for the Part II of Susie's Family Roots Route.
Elaine's maiden name is "Roth". Susie has researched the Roth family to a local about 1.5 hours southeast of Frankfurt. Finding these towns successfully pinpointed via GPS, we are certain of a shorter and more predictable day than yesterday.
Our path leads us first to the city of Idar¬Oberstein. On the way, we drive over the Rhine River and by hundreds of acres of vineyards. This is the home of the Rhine wines, world-famous sweet white wines. We also climb into some low mountains that are covered in heavy woods, part of the Black Forest.
The first stop is in old Oberstein. The most notable feature of this city is the "church in the rock", a church that was built into a cleft in a mountainside high above the city in the 1400's. Requiring 215 steps to get to the entrance, we decided to admire it from below. We did go through the city museum, which highlights the city's history of gemstones and jewelry. In one of the galleries, several pieces of work by various artists named "Roth" were displayed.
The sister city of Idar melts into Oberstein, so a short drive up the street got us to the center of the old town of Idar. Along the way, we stopped to snap a picture of Elaine and Susie in front of the Roth jewelry store. (It was closed.)
We ate lunch in an Idar restaurant—American hamburgers and French fries.
The rest of our afternoon was spent driving down quiet country roads to various small German towns that have some place in the Roth family tree. We drove through at least a half dozen small burgs listed on Susie's genealogy notes as the birth places of numerous great-great and great-great¬great grandparents dating all the way back to the late 1600's. The culmination of the this tour was driving into the center of Birkenfeld where we found the Roth Eck, "Roth corner". At this intersection is a building that was built more than 100 years ago; engraved on the building above the front door are the words "Carl Roth."
The building is now a perfume shop. Of course we went in; Elaine hoped to buy some German perfume as a memento. The young woman working behind the counter gave over to assist her. She wore a name tag: Carolin Roth. What could have made this day more perfect than Elaine Roth Reinhardt meeting an actual modern day Roth in the Roth building in the hometown of her Roth ancestors? Along with the perfume, Elaine came away with a snapshot of herself and Carolin. This was the ultimate memento of her trip.
That brought us to the end of our journey. All that was left was to journey back home. The drive promised to be shorter than the one on the day before. Despite some congested traffic that set our estimated arrival time back about an hour, we got back to the hotel before six. A bit of a rest, and we walked across the street to a very authentic German restaurant for our last dinner in Deustchland. Weinerschnitzel, spatzle, and beer made up the meal.
After dinner, it was back to the hotel to rest up for our departure back to Iceland tomorrow.