Uetze: At the Heart of the German Countryside
It was my first visit to Germany to stay with my cousin Charaf, a brilliant former belly dance and ballet instructor and his wonderful wife, Sylvia, in their late 1800′s fach werk outside Hannover in a village called Uetze.
I was picked up from the Hannover train station–Hautbanhof– by Younes, Charaf and Sylvia’s 26-year-old son and an ascending star in the German media who has done interviews with the likes of Kate Perry and Depeche Mode. On the way to Uetze, kilometers of potato fields spread endlessly on both sides of the road, studded with aeolian energy turbines and ancient-looking tractors. Visions of cows, horses and barns became more and more frequent as we advanced. We were officially in the German countryside.
On our first morning out, we went for a walk across the river and into the farmlands. We payed a visit to the local barns, much to my daughter’s delight. Her face beamed at her first close encounter with chickens, rabbits, cows and horses.
The air was warm and still. Almost as warm as what we’re used to in Florida. It was quiet. It smelled of barns, hay and horse manure. It was enchantingly rustic. It was pretty. It was typical European countryside.
On the way back, we walked by houses in front of whose doors were baskets of eggs, red currants, blueberries, zucchini and potatoes for sale. Ah the potatoes. The Kartoffel. I was later to discover they were the tastiest I’ve ever had.