In 2010, Andrew and I went to Germany to check out Rothenburg ob der Tauber for a bit. While we were investigating the fairytale-esque town, we stumbled across a sign by a path declaring “Steinbach”.
Whaaaat. I mean, I’d heard there are Steinbachs in Germany, but I’d never seen one before. I realize it has nothing to do with Mennonites. Probably. But we couldn’t pass up a chance to investigate. We followed the path.
Rothenburg is on a hill, so the path took us down into the valley… where the stony brook was to be found. We strolled through fields while following the perfectly paved little path. At one point a gentleman on a segue passed us. As we walked through fields. It was hilarious to me. (You expect to see those maybe on boardwalks in California, but not in a rustic setting. At least, I don’t.)
And then, at last, we arrived in Steinbach! This was a surreal moment for us. We had never set foot in another Steinbach before.
It was weird because this Steinbach was probably about same size ours had been… in 1876.
Just one street, along a stony brook. The houses weren’t attached to the barns, though.
We may have been trespassing when we encountered this lovely little footbridge and bench. But it seemed pretty inviting and the paved path led us right there. We sat for a moment. Wonder washed over me.
Our walk back to Rothenburg was kind of amazing. Everything seemed infused with magic, and I think it’s because what we’d seen had caught in my imagination.
This may have been the seed of wondering about our own people’s past, and how it came to be somewhat similar to this little village, while having nothing to do with it at all.