Why we went to Osnabruck and where we stayed

The “where” was a pretty easy choice. We wanted a four-star hotel because four-star hotels have elevators. There are only 3 or 4 four-star hotels in Osnabruck (also spelled Osnabrueck) and Steigenberger was rated number one by TripAdvisor. So we chose the Steigenberger and had a pleasant stay there.

The Steigenberger Hotel Remarque lobby.

The Steigenberger Hotel Remarque lobby.

The full name of the hotel is the Steigenberger Hotel Remarque, named after the famous novelist Erich Maria Remarque who was born in Osnabruck in 1898 and wrote All Quiet on the Western Front, one of the greatest anti-war novels of all time, in the 1920s.

Portrait of Erich Maria Remarque in the hotel lobby. His books were banned in Germany in 1931 and in 1933 he moved to Switzerland and in 1939 to the US where he became a citizen in 1947. He died in Switzerland in 1970.

Portrait of Erich Maria Remarque in the hotel lobby. His books were banned in Germany in 1931 and in 1933 he moved to Switzerland and in 1939 to the US where he became a citizen in 1947. He died in Switzerland in 1970.

More Remarque portraits. He had a three-year love affair with Marlene Dietrich in the 1930s and his second wife was the American actress Paulette Goddard.

More Remarque portraits. He had a three-year love affair with Marlene Dietrich in the 1930s and his second wife was the American actress Paulette Goddard.

In 1996 the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Center and Archives was established in Osnabruck.

In 1996 the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Center and Archives was established in Osnabruck.

We had a comfortable room on the third floor overlooking the hotel’s main entrance. We planned to tour the Old Town Osnabruck and the hotel is ideally situated just across the road from the beginning of Old Town. And if we looked out to the left from our window we could see four major towers of Old Town sticking above all the other roofs. One tower belongs to St Marienkirch (Evangelical-Lutheran) and the other three are all part of St Peters Cathedral (Roman Catholic).

Our view above the hotel's main entrance.

Our view above the hotel’s main entrance.

View of St Marienkirche (right) and St Peter Cathedral (Dom) from our hotel room.

View of St Marienkirche (right) and St Peter Cathedral (Dom) from our hotel room.

We needed to do a washing as soon as we arrived on Wednesday afternoon but we thought that the hotel laundry service was a tad too high. So we stashed all of our dirty clothes into a suitcase and hailed a cab to find the nearest laundromat. Then we walked back along the road that hugs the Old Town walls until we found our hotel.

The hotel's main stairwell.

The hotel’s main stairwell.

One of two hotel elevators.

One of two hotel elevators.

We didn’t make much use of the two restaurants, bar and indoor and outdoor lounge areas on the hotel premises.  It took us all of five minutes to walk across the street and discover that the Old Town is full of pleasant cafes and pastry shops/ bakeries that are much cheaper than the hotel’s breakfasts and dinners.  One bakery we stumbled on served juice, coffee and fruit with their pastries in a room in the rear of the store. We had breakfast there twice. And for dinner we tried a couple of the numerous inexpensive cafes and restaurants that line the Market Square near St Marienkirche.

Looking down from our third-floor room at the outdoor lounge. That's a statue of a bear near the plants.

Looking down from our third-floor room at the outdoor lounge. That’s a statue of a bear near the plants.

The Steigenberger charges for in-room wi-fi internet access but they allowed us to use their computer in the lobby at no charge. We had moderate weather during our entire late May stay in Osnabruck and our room was quite comfortable but we were a bit surprised when we found out that there was no air conditioning.

So why did we go to Osnabruck in the first place? This is the land of my Theler ancestors. After we booked our stay online I sent an email to the hotel asking if they could recommend a tour guide who spoke both German and English fluently, understood the basics of genealogy and was familiar with the area northeast of Osnabruck where our Theler ancestors once lived. The hotel management forwarded our request to the city’s Tourist Office who in turn contacted a woman named Carol Saint-Clair who soon introduced herself to us via email. To our delight we discovered that Carol is both a noted historian who gives guided tours of Old Town Osnabruck plus a full-fledged genealogist who knew what questions needed to be asked and where records were stored. She told us that she was born in Texas and came to Osnabruck 25 years ago and decided to stay. We corresponded frequently during the months leading up to to our European trip and Carol was able to plan an auto trip that would take us to all of the places we knew where our Thelers lived. She also took us on a walking tour of Old Town Osnabruck one afternoon.

We are very happy with the service Carol provided and are grateful to the hotel management for their part in getting Carol in touch with us.

I will be writing more about our family history quest in the next few days and weeks. Last year I uploaded a number of postings on my Thelers. Take a look at the December 2011 and January 2012 archives for stories on My German Heritage including the many Elises in my family.

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About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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