Monday, October 11, 2010

Last Tango in... Auschwitz?


Sig Other and I like to travel abroad on Thanksgiving.  Very few Americans are willing to give up their turkey and football and stuffing and pie and leave the country over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Americans are definitely traveling then.  But they’re flying to Detroit or Atlanta or Peewaukie or Portland.  No one expects Americans to leave the country during the four blessed days of patriotic celebration.  We’re meant to be stateside, snug in our fireplace-fueled homes stuffing our faces with dry bird, constipating stuffing and oversweet tubers topped with sticky sweet sugars.  We’re not expected to be in Marrakesh or Paris or Rome.  But those are the places Sig Other and I have gone for the past several years.  No ten-day minimum, no black out days, no holiday premiums.  Because Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday anywhere else in the world.

So this year, we thought “Argentina”.  Where better to head than South?  What more enticing than the land of Tango and Dulce du Leche?  We spun fantasies of warm wind brushing over bare skin as we shopped for leather and planned our late night dinners in the lively city of Buenos Ares.  But plans are not always easy and logistics conspired to make the notion of traveling such a long way for such a short time entirely unattractive and seemingly untenable.   Our ever-efficient travel agent had, however, already done some early legwork and we were committed to a particular airline.  Thus our trip would be restricted to the destinations on that particular airline’s hub.  Tahiti was sold out.  So were Paris and Amsterdan.   London reminded me of work and Hawaii was just.. Hawaii.  And then there was Prague.  We could get to Prague pretty easily, Sig Other had never been there and was, after all, of Czech descent.  He wanted to take the children to Prague to show them the Jewish ghetto with its famous cemetery and I thought how long it had been since I’d last visited the beautiful city and got excited about seeing how it had changed over the last decade.  And so we decided.  And so Prague it is.  Tickets are booked and we’ll soon be on our way.

Prague, it turns out, is quite is near Brno, the birthplace of Sig Other’s father.  And as Sig Other has never been to his father’s hometown, we’ve added that as a destination as well.  And Brno is not terribly far from Auschwitz where Sig Other’s grandmother and great aunt perished during the war.  And so that is a destination now as well.  I tried to throw my grandparents hometown in as well but was told that, in addition to the town being in the opposite direction, my grandparents hadn't perished in the holocaust and therefore did not get a place on the itinerary.  This, Sig Other pointed out, was a trip about his dead family members.  His family perished in the war.  Mine did not.  Therefore his family history would take precedence.

So somehow, due to inconvenient layovers and ill-fated mileage transfer, our sunny, sexy sojourn to the South has become a chilly trek through Holocaust history.  We’ll end our trip in Vienna where no one we know died and I have promised Child Two a trip to the Hotel Sacher Wien for a taste of its famous Sacher Torte (mit schlag of course!).  But I’m still trying to figure out how my trip to learn tango turned into a tour of the dead Jews of Eastern Europe…

4 comments:

Miss Whistle said...

This may be the most inadvertently hilarious line ever:
"I tried to throw my grandparents hometown in as well but was told that, in addition to the town being in the opposite direction, my grandparents hadn't perished in the holocaust and therefore did not get a place on the itinerary."
I'm sorry you're not going to Paris or Buenos Aires, but I'm sure it will be a profound experience.
Love,
Miss W

Susan Erickson said...

History can be fascinating but in the case of this trip, it may be a little disturbing.....you will feel thankful when the concentration camp part is over.....

Staircase Witch said...

If it's any consolation, late fall seems like a fitting time to pay one's respects at a place like Auschwitz. My husband was working with a collaborator at Max Planck in Garching one April and took the opportunity to visit Dachau while he was there. He said he couldn't help feeling that for it to be springtime there, ever, somehow just seemed inappropriate.

Protagonist said...

Wife. My Father was born in Drohobyz and moved to Brno at age 2. My aunt "mercifully" perished in Terezin of TB missing the transport to Auschwitz. The trip into the actual history has already begun. I can't wait. Husband.