Edertal, Betzigerode

From Prague we travelled to Edertal in central Germany. Craig's mother's family (Dörr) immigrated to Australia from this area in 1870, so again we had a stop to research some family history. Our apartment in Wellen was new and looked over fields and the Eder river. It was a rural community with pigs and horses in yards in the village, relaxing walks down to the riverside and through UNESCO listed Beech forests.


I will expand on family history for those who are interested on a seperate page but in summary, The Dörr family moved from the village of Dillich (Christian Dörr) to the village of Betzigerode in 1802. He married and had 2 sons, Justus (my ancestor) and Johann Heinrich. Justus was the carpenter for the local lord and he married Anna Elisabeth Becht. In 1846 he built a house in the village, which I was fortunate enough to visit and the current owners gave me a tour of this house. It was an amazing experience to be able to sit in the kitchen of this house and explore a place built by and lived in by my ancestors 167 years ago. It is still in pretty good shape. I also saw the houses in which Justus and Elisabeth were born. 


Our remaining time in Edertal we used to give the kids a well earned rest after a few very busy weeks and exploring the Eder Valley. The town of Fritzlar is one of the best preserved Medieval towns in Germany with over 450 Fachwerk (half timbered) houses inside the almost complete city walls. Every turn was a post card moment and it was hard not to photograph everything. Fritzlar was also an opportunity to repair the damaged centre console in the car. We also visited the towns of Bad Wildungen and Frankenberg which again have amazing Fachwerk buildings and soaring gothic cathedrals. This area is along a route known as the 'Fairytale road', due to the number of Fachwerk buildings that remain to this day.


The Edersee Wild Park was a local zoo where we were able to see a wide variety of local animals including Wolves, Deer, Lynx, Otters, Wild pygmy horses, European Bison, Wild Cats (looks like a tabby cat that has run away from home) and many different birds that we saw in a bird show. At what part of the show the announcer said, 'and if you watch over the head of the girl in the green hat you will see our next bird". At that point a Vulture with wing span of around 2m swooped in about 30cm over Claire's head. 


After a relaxing few days it was time to bid farewell to Germany and off to Sweden. 




Not a sight one really wants to see, your car being loaded onto the back of a tow truck. Always looking for the up side - the car lost all its power as we approached an off ramp from the autobahn - thank goodness - there was a play ground, toilet and food. So our 5 hour wait was a whole lot better then it could have been. We were on our way to Sweden and we didn't have accomodation booked anywhere so the insurance company provided a hotel room (right beside the Volvo dealship) which was really a bonus. 


The car is still in the workshop (but we have internet at the hotel, a real luxury) the fuel filter was damaged and we lost all our fuel on the autobahn, bit of a bugger as we had just filled up - oh well. We will be a day late into Sweden, staying with frinds for a week, so again not the end of the world - all in all it could have been much worse.


Its been a great month here in Germany. I set Claire's homework for today to consider the pros and cons of living in Germany and it was pretty hard to come up with many cons. Lots of pros with excellent recycling practices, alternative energy (one town we visited produces more solar energy then the entire UK), bike paths and public transport - all things that a large population can support but there is a philosophy that goes with it that is great to see.


Germany has a rich history with beautiful architecture and an obsessive pride in their gardens. It has been visually beautiful.


Food has been good, loved the awesome $1 ice cream cones which have become a daily delight. Its been particularly good with Craig speaking german as we have been able to confidently interpret menus and enjoy traditional meals. The kids have eaten happily everywhere - not sure it will be the same everywhere we go. 


The only thing I think I'd really struggle with if we were to live here, apart from family and friends and the familiararity of things, is the diversity within the environment. I think it's probably an artifact of many years of intensive agriculture and dense human population. We have walked in a range of different environments in the Black Forest, the Bavarian Alps and the Beech Forests near here. They are all very beautiful but the range of plant and animals species seems low compared to home. I think I need to educate myself better about what's around, maybe I'm just not seeing it, maybe its a continental thing - home is an entire continent and by comparison Germany is just a region of a very large continent that was been together since the day dot. Evolving in isolation has provided Australia with a wonderful and rich diversity in plants, animals and landscapes, which keeps us scientists constantly amused.


So off to Sweden we go, for berry picking and moose hunting (cameras only!).


  1. The house that Justus built 1847, Betzigerode
  2. The church where Justus was baptised
  3. Sarah and Cate walking through the wheat fields, Edertal
  4. A play in the hay, Edertal
  5. View over Fritzlar
  6. Kids under a tree, Fritzlar cathedral
  7. In front of Fritzlar Rathaus, Fritzlar
  8. Fritzlar alleyway
  9. A rest in an alleyway, Fritzlar
  10. Fachwerk houses, Fritzlar
  11. Rathaus, Frankenberg
  12. Picking wild rasberries, Edertal
  13. In the UNESCO Beech Forests, Edertal
  14. Never a good sign, 96 Euro worth of Diesel pouring onto the road
  15. Car being loaded onto tilt truck, A7 Autobahn
  16. All loaded, car on the back, family in the front