Discovering Schlesien

I'm a bit of a luddite when it comes to technology and yet it’s technology that has been one of my biggest supports throughout this pandemic and a bridge to new worlds. When I take my dog on our cold nightly walk down icy sidewalks in suburban Winnipeg, I need my tech connection. While Striker sniffs out the yellow snow and leaves his mark on the mountainous snowbanks, I listen to podcasts sharing travel tips, discussing novels or pondering history. 

I’m also using podcasts to improve my wobbly German language skills—grateful for this gift of fluency in another language—but quite aware that I need to use it or lose it. 

Which brings me to the latest German novel I just finished reading—Wodka mit Grasgeschmack by Markus Mittmann. The novel is about two adult brothers who travel with their parents back to the former Schlesien in today’s Poland. I first heard about this book on the podcast: Culture to Go where the topics focus on refugees from the Second World War.  

Lommes-CC By-SA 4.0


The Schlesien area was decimated during the final months of the Second World War after Hitler declared Breslau a ‘fortress’ city. All the Germans had to leave after the war and Breslau became Wroclaw, Poland. As Wroclaw, the city has thrived and become a hub of culture. In fact, Wroclaw received the distinguished title of UNESCO City of Literature in 2019. It’s considered one of the best and smartest cities of the world.

Mittmann’s book was also smart—and funny—and so relatable. A family squished into a lemon-yellow VW beetle driving into the past. Isn’t that a great set-up for a novel? I loved it. And I love all the episodes on Culture to Go where I’m connecting, learning and validating my own family stories. The luddite in me has to admit, technology is amazing with so much history only a podcast away. 


1 comment:

Unknown said...

I am also mostly a Luddite. Just this week, I walked into a tourist office again, asking for paper maps. They still had them, probably because it's an area of Germany that is usually catering to elderly hiking/cycling tourists.

But I am absolutely with you regarding podcasts!
Often, I am not even too excited about going outside (especially in the cold season), but I am so looking forward to learn more about history, literature, philosophy or listen to an interview with some intrepid traveller, the curiosity for the podcast is what actually makes me put on my boots and go outside for a few hours.

Andreas

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