The wrong shoes for Dedenhausen

| April 6, 2014

IMG_8137I’m two weeks behind on posting about a weekend we spent in the tiny farming town and the abandoned fish hatchery drainage ditches of Dedenhausen, located outside of Hannover. When I say tiny, I mean that the only place you could purchase a food item would be at a cheese shop attached to a dairy within walking distance of our friends’ home.  When it’s open.  While cheese sounds delightful, I think I would want something to go with the cheese after a bit (suggesting, but not limiting the menu to, wine.)

On that Friday afternoon, we left Dieburg with Flash, brisket marinating in a tub, and Some Guy’s Hat (which would be popping into Hannover during our return trip). It is a miracle that there was no roadside crisis involving a brisket and a newly-homeless hound. Instead, it was a slow but uneventful trip consisting of Autobahn traffic and typical urgent bathroom stops.

IMG_8140Once we arrived at our friends’ lovely new home, we immediately got to the important things: meat on the grill for 24 hours, beer in the adults’ hands for 48 hours, and Flash in the yard relieving himself on everything. After an evening of chatting and watching Flash stare at hamsters, we all hit the hay.  We unwisely allowed Flash to sleep, fart, and steal Sequoia’s sleeping bag in the girls’ slumber party room, where there was less sleeping and more giggling on night one.

IMG_8136On Saturday, our friends Val and Kai gave us a walking tour of Dedenhausen. Flash accompanied us on a borrowed bunny leash since two hours into our trip up, we realized we’d forgotten his leash when he hopped into the car. Dedenhausen consists of only farms and homes (and the aforementioned dairy and cheese shop). The new surroundings were quite a change for Val & Kai, who had come from living for over a decade in Dieburg, where we have a robust Marktplatz and several small grocery stores within walking or biking distance of the house.

The Fachwerk of northern Germany is of a different style than is found in other regions; it is built into brick. We first saw this during our Maerchenstrasse road trip, where it created a very noticeable transition as we made our way north. Well, noticeable to me–Paul, who had an entire windshield in front of him during that trip, acted like this Dedenhausen visit was the first time he’d ever seen this phenomenon.



Above most doors you would find beautiful, ornate blessings.

IMG_8132We stopped at the playground so the girls could have fun torturing Flash. Back at the house, as we awaited the brisket, a raucous game of the original edition of Trivial Pursuit broke out. Unfortunately, even pulling answers like Betty Grable out of my ass couldn’t save the women from devastating defeat.

We’d been tossing around ideas for what to do on Sunday. In the morning, we talked about taking a long walk. Kai mentioned that he’d noticed a lone street lamp in the middle of a field and had always wondered what it was, so why didn’t we walk in that direction? Sounded like a plan, so after playing restaurant in the yard with the girls (rating: one star–service was slow, chicken soup tasted like mud), we headed out, Flash again on a bunny leash.

IMG_8149We walked out past the horses and came upon a broken down tiny shed, followed by other wooden structures. Soon we came upon long, narrow, manmade water holes that we began to suspect had belonged to some kind of abandoned fish hatchery.

Kai approached the lamp that had called to him. Meanwhile, we were discovering drainage holes filled with frogs, drainage creeks, and all kinds of things to trip over and fall into.


When we arrived at the back of the hatchery, we found several abandoned buildings, which we immediately began to trespass and explore despite the rotting wood, rust, and mold.

We noticed that they needed one shed to be located in exactly the right spot, so they built it around a tree.


And then they abandoned me. *Sigh*

It was not long before one child fell through some rotting wood.


In a trailer that contained a few old clothing items and remnants of fish food, Val and I dug around until we found an old newspaper indicating that the place was probably abandoned 11 years ago.  Eventually, the two children who had not fallen through rotted wood were yelling from the banks of some water they were ready to fall into as they tried to make their way along the edge of a tree line they had explored without permission. It was time to go.

IMG_8202After we were able to tear the kids away from a mass of humping frogs in one of the ponds we were passing, Kai suggested we do a loop back to the house. He asserted that there was a trail just through these here woods, taking us to a road that looped back.

Kai lies.

The trail quickly disappeared into a mess of thorns, sticks, logs, and, eventually, an unending series of parallel drainage ditches we were forced to cross.


Not everyone was prepared to handle the trail dropping off.

I was wearing one-week-new walking (not hiking) shoes which I was not looking to plunge into dark gray bubbling mud, and Val was wearing a jean skirt (fortunately with leggings).  When Val and I initially realized we’d lost the trail, I was leading the younger girls through the woods as Val kept a watch on them from the rear; Paul and Kai were far ahead with the oldest, who had taken off with Flash, not to be held back by the little sister and Sequoia—that is, when Paul didn’t stop to wait to take a few pictures before abandoning us again.

By the very end, however, I was bringing up the rear (Kai eventually coming back for me), bitching about my shoes, gingerly testing every log, stick, leaf and bank before taking a step or leap across. I can hike with proper footwear, but I was determined to keep these shoes clean. And I did. It’s my language that wasn’t quite so clean.

Not long after our adventure, Flash would be getting into the car. With those paws.  We returned to the house, cleaned off all paws, and then after buttering and steaming some leftover brisket (serious yum), we headed home never to speak of the fish hatchery drainage ditches again.

Flash, after a weekend of not sleeping with the girls, not napping while keeping a steady watch on the hamster cages, and not knowing why he was being dragged through woods and drainage ditches.

Flash, after a weekend of *not* sleeping with the girls, *not* napping while keeping a steady watch on the hamster cages, and *not* knowing why he was being dragged through drainage ditches.


Bonus photo! Husband: “Honey, does this look level?” Wife, not looking out the window: “Looks great.  Now get in here.  Dinner’s ready.”

Bonus photo!
Husband: “Honey, does this look level?”
Wife, not looking out the window: “Looks great. Now get in here. Dinner’s ready.”

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Category: In Germany A Broad blog, Shits & Giggles, Travel

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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