Biographical Log of Michael Furstner - Page 30

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Friday May 16, 2008 (diary, travel)

Church in Sankt Peter Although slightly cooler than the previous 10 days or so the sun shines again today. At Heitzmannshof (where Wivica lives) the cows have been let into a fresh pasture today, located immediately underneath Frau Heitzmann's vegetable garden. Pastures are fenced (by electric "shock wires") as much as possible into horizontal slices which follow the slope's contours, requiring minimum efforts of the animals to stroll around.   I am starting to feel very comfortable here. The landscape exudes a tranquility and peace which it transfers across to me.

Let me tell you about my second notion since coming to Germany I referred to on April 26.
Upon arriving in Germany I have taken off immediately not to where my ancestors actually came from (as my strong initial intention was back in Australia), but instead to where they have moved to. As soon as I arrived in Sankt Peter I felt (and still feel) an emotional reluctance to go East, into Bavaria and Austria. Why is this so ?   These, I feel, are very much self contained regions. Every road, like in a maze, leads to nowhere, or back onto itself. Within it you are a prisoner of the region, there is no way out !

How can I say this, I who have never been there before ?   I strongly suspect that what I feel now is only the emotional echo which drove my ancestors out off these regions, to escape the sense of imprisonment, of staleness, of not being able to develop and grow, almost of claustrophobic proportions. How elated must they have been to reach the area where Wivica lives right now (on the edge of the Black Forest), looking down onto the valley of the Rhine, the gateway to freedom.
Successive Furstner generations (Förster > becoming > Furstner) gradually traveled North following the Rhine valley, until they eventually (in 1775) arrived at the Rhine delta, the Netherlands, the undisputed focal point in Europe of tolerance and moral and philosophical progressiveness and freedom.

It is only here and now, visiting Germany, that I see my own life in this broader historical perspective. And I marvel at the fact that my own individual longing and decision to migrate, are an extension of, and represents the latest (but who knows, perhaps not last) leg of this multi generational journey which started at least 400 years ago and now finally has arrived at the ultimate country of freedom Australia.

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Saturday May 17, 2008 (diary, travel)

Wivica's Atelier It is overcast today, but not too cold. Wivica is expecting a client from Switzerland in the afternoon to pick up her painting. A 1-2 hour explanation of the Soul- or Dual-portrait is always part of the over handing process, so I decide to be out off the way and do my regular walk to Sankt Peter. On the way back I stop at the Wald Cafe, and sit on their terrace admiring the view, reading my book ("Emma" by Jane Austen, brilliantly written) and enjoying a couple of Fürstenberg Pils.

Germany is an absolute heaven for beer drinkers. I am delighted with the many local breweries they have, all with their own subtle varieties in taste. In the Black Forest I have so far tasted three brands : Fürstenberg, Rothaus, and Ganter, which I only yesterday tasted for the first time, a lovely beer. Like in the Netherlands each Restaurant, Pub or Hotel in Germany has only one single brand of beer on tap.

Upon my return home I start work on a photo collection of Wivica in her studio and of some of her ceramics which most of the family are not very familiar with.

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Sunday May 18, 2008 (diary, travel)

At the Burgerstüble, St.Peter It is again overcast this morning and rather cool. I complete my photo work on Wivica's ceramics and upload it all on the Blog. In the afternoon we go for a drive around the country, quite nice but I do like the St.Peter region best. In the evening dinner at the Burgerstüble where we get into conversation with three gentlemen (Hermann, Wolfgang and Jürgen) who are doing a 5 day walking trail through the Black Forest.
We end up sitting together at one table and having a wide ranging discussion about beer (Rothaus definitely rated the best Schwarzwald beer by all three), skart (card game, declining in popularity because men don't visit Pubs any more in the evening), life styles and philosophy.

Wolfgang tells us that Pangasius (which Wivica again has for dinner) is an aqua culture produced fish. I have to Google this up, having been given three different origins, Asia, the Atlantic and now a fish farm. Two of the answers are in fact correct, the Pangasius is a type of catfish living in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. It is now been bred and produced in fish farms in Vietnam and exported worldwide in ever increasing quantities.
Hermann takes a video of our get together. We will feature in his story of their Schwarzwald track he assures me. A most pleasant evening to round off the day.

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Monday & Tuesday May 19 & 20, 2008 (diary, travel)

Ceramic by Wivica Two cold and overcast days. I don't feel like doing much in this weather but manage to do my walk to St.Peter and read in a small Cafe in town, the Zähringer Eck Cafe.
I still don't feel inclined to go East into the mountains, don't like all this zigzagging up and down mountains without making much progress. So I am redirecting my attention to France and Spain.
After some reading through my Lonely Planet Guide I decide on a route :

Beaune ("Côte d'Or") - Orange (Provence, 37 km NE of Avignon) - Perpignan - NE Coast of Spain

Beaune is at the Southern end of the famous wine region the Côte d'Or, which runs from Beaune 50 km North to Dijon. Orange is the place where the ancestors of the Dutch Royal family (van Oranje Nassau) come from and is by all accounts a lovely small town. Then onto NE Spain. There is just across the border, North of Barcelona the small town of Figueres, which was the birtplace and residence of Salvador Dali.
On my way back I may stop at Arle (Vincent van Gogh country) and Avignon ("Sur le pond d'Avignon") before returning to St. Peter. If I have time and feel so inclined I may also check out Auxerre (Bourgogne), one of the canal boat centers in the region.

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