23 July 2012
On day nine of our journey we were staying in Germany but headed back across the border into France for some ancestral research. Part of Tom's family is from the Alsace region of France and we met up with a distant cousin that he'd never before seen for a tour. The Alsace region is made up of land that borders France and Germany and has exchanged hands between the two countries four times in 75 years. Tom's ancestors would have considered themselves German while the family that remains in the area today consider themselves French. The history of the area makes for an odd meshing of cultures and architecture.
Looking for information about Tom's ancestors led us to many small churches and their long neglected graveyards. We walked through tall weeds and wiped years of dirt from headstones looking for family names. We knocked on church doors in hopes of looking though their archives but did so in vain since no one answered.
After a few stops we headed to the Monastic Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Ottmarsheim, not because there's family history there but because it is one of the oldest remaining structures in the region and is simply not to be missed. The Abbey was built in 1030 and I had the hardest time wrapping my mind around the fact that I was standing in a building that is nearly 1000 years old.
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