June 1945 in Aussig (Ústí nad Labem)

"The train sadly only goes to Aussig! We all have to leave the train. So now I stand, entirely alone now, on a station platform with people pushing and shoving. [...] Then a train to Bodenbach pulls into the station. This time the conductor has no mercy. I have no idea how I got onto the train. […]"

12th July - Teplitz

Leaving in the morning. A little later than hoped. But rest was needed. More moments at the station, trying to sense her presence again.

"In Bodenbach, the same misery on the platform. I stand alone on the platform with my children. […]– Suddenly a young woman taps me on the shoulder, somewhat cheekily. “So where are you heading?” “To Hamburg” I reply, almost shy. “Me too, come on – quickly!” I feel disoriented. I follow her. She also has a pram, and three small girls (2 ½ , four and 5 ½ years old!). She is with another woman, who has two older children. At the very last moment we get to a goods train, which was meant to leave hours ago. It’s now finally leaving – what luck – and with the help of an official we just manage to get on. It’s an open carriage, but so what, it’s meant to go through to Dresden. "
"The carriage is full of refugees. I take a moment to consider my new acquaintances. The woman from Hamburg with the three children is a proper Hamburger from the Hop market.[…] The other woman […] wants to come to Hamburg, but comes from Berlin. Both women were living in Oberleutensdorf where their husbands worked in a big factory. "
"For her part, she keeps explaining to the other woman that she won’t desert me with my two tiny ones. Once she’s cleared out my cigarettes, the other woman would happily leave me behind. I know only too well that I won’t get through on my own, and that I am just a burden for the other two. But Frau Neuman, who uses ‘du’ with me, really does stay with me. […] "
A long walk through mad paths behind Industrial estates. Through scrub, and landscapes.

Walking finally along a clearer feeling river, and then up, up a mountain. Through forest, and finally arriving to the town of Usti Nad Labem, which was just a transit town for her.
Feels like a transit town for us too. No real feeling towards it.
Adventures navigating the trains and buses - we get on the wrong train. Realise just in time. Find the bus, hop on, and drive through the valley and to the foot of new mountains.
But, in the evening – hungry, and struggling to find a place to eat, we finally land on a restaurant that looks like a castle, at the top of a hill overlooking the town.
Enjoying the view, and the last evening together, looking back over our days spent together.
Beauty all around.
(the hill above the train station from terrace)