• Florence American Cemetery

    The Florence American Cemetery is where America's Fallen in the Northern Italian Campaign (after the fall of Rome) who were not repatriated are interred. Two minority units as part of the American contingent of an Allied effort fought in this sector and contributed to the liberation of Italy. The 92nd Infantry "Buffalo" African Americans and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team "Nisei" Japanese Americans along with the 91st Infantry Division "Fir Tree", 88th Infantry Division "Blue Devils", 85th Infantry Division "Custermen", 34 Infantry Division "Red Bull", the 10th Mountain Division "Climb to Glory" and the 1st Armored Division "Old Ironside" closed with and defeated a well-entrenched enemy. On the Wall of Missing the names of Bomber Crews and Fighter Pilots from the 12th and 15th US Army Air Force dominate highlighting the sacrifice of these Airmen.
    The cemetery is located in the heart of the Tuscan Chianti Region, 7 km south of Florence and 35 Km west of Siena.

  • Italy: Departure

    Today we started our journey home. Already in Italy I said goodbye to some participants of the work camp, who departed separately. I was looking forward to the trip, because here I was able to calmly work on many things on the laptop that had been left undone in the past few weeks. My back was the only thing that bothered me. The mattress in the hotel, the bumping on the tractor and now the long sitting on the bus didn't do my back any good. We push our way through the slow-moving traffic and the traffic jam caused by a rear-end collision and later by the Brenner Pass.
    From our lunch yesterday at the restaurant on the Futa Pass, I took two half slices of bread with sausage with me. Very appetizing, but when I take the sandwich wrapped in a napkin out of my backpack in the late afternoon, the smell of Cucina Italiana has changed to the smell of a not quite housebroken dog. I must not make the mistake of giving in to hunger tomorrow and eating my sausage sandwich on the bus while driving. That would smell disgusting and, at the end, once again draw the displeasure of my fellow passengers.
    In the afternoon after four o'clock we return to the Hotel zum Goldenen Löwen in Kufstein. After moving into my room, I walk to the parking garage and look for my motorbike. After two weeks and only with the vague memory of a parking space number with 6 or 7, I still find it in less than ten minutes. I start the engine for a moment. That works smoothly. I take the two side cases with me straight up to the hotel room. I'll load them there, then tomorrow I'll get the motorbike right in front of the door and hang them up there. This time, by the way, I stored my motorcycle at a particularly reasonable price. I can get an exit ticket from the hotel reception for twelve euros. On the last trip to Lithuania, during which I parked my motorbike in a rental garage for two weeks, it cost me eight euros – per day!

    Kufstein Fortress
    The largest open-air organ in the world is located in the fortress. It is always played at 12 noon and in the summer months of July and August also at 6 p.m. The choice of pieces is very frank and, despite the long tradition, by no means outdated.

    At 6 p.m. the open-air organ at Kufstein Fortress begins its concert again. I don't recognize the first two pieces, then Offenbach's Barcarole follows, then Zorba's Sirtaki. That's really courageous and shows that this musical tradition is by no means outdated here.

  • Italy: Nothing is missing

    I get off the bus one last time this morning at the entrance to the cemetery, load the tractor trailer with two brushcutters, a canister of fuel and the rest of the accessories, drive comfortably through the small forest at the foot of the cemetery hill and up the slope through the sunlit burial grounds. Today is largely devoted to tomorrow, which will be the closing commemoration of the labor deployment. I go up to the crypt with operations manager Detlef and we think about how we want to stage the final photo. I look at the summit monument from several sides, take test shots at the position of the sun, which we will also have tomorrow morning, and the decision is soon made.

    Over the Futa Pass War Cemetery, a granite wall spirals up the mountain and ends in a monumental pinnacle
    Over the Futa Pass War Cemetery, a granite wall spirals up the mountain and ends in a monumental pinnacle


    Later I can still take some time to work on my texts. At half past eleven I start the tractor one last time, load everything that still needs to be taken down to the cemetery administration garage and bump over to the other side of the cemetery with Susanne on the back of the trailer, then turn right to the compost heap, through that small forest up to the big diesel tank. Here I say goodbye to my vehicle. I have the afternoon at leisure and spend it sitting on the bed with the shutters closed and the air conditioning switched on, deep in work. In the evening there is our desired menu again and really our favorite pasta dishes of the last two weeks are served in three consecutive courses. "What will you miss?" is the question. We ponder for a while and come to the conclusion that you can't be missing anything from home without it meaning that there was something bad about that trip. I think that is the best possible result of such a trip.