Publication — 2021
Rhenania – little conversations with Opa 
by Hans-Gerd Blettgen & Sophie Leyendecker

Rhenania – little conversations with Opa is a publication focused on the relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter, which revolves around a river. It is structured into three chapters:

// photographs and documents from the archive of Hans-Gerd Blettgen
and the lifetime he spent the shipping company company  Rhenania;
// a collaborative text describing a conversation between the two in which
the lessons of the river reveal themselves ;
// and photographs revisiting the route of their walk.


Remembering little conversations with Opa, 
who poured all he had into the Rhine, 
but learned every curve and current. 

The sky is grey, 
wrapped in a blanket of clouds.

As we step out of the door, 
it is raining softly. 

    “You’ll cycle –
    I’ll walk”.

We start making our way alongside the Rhine,
with our eyes squinted to see past the droplets in the winds. 

I notice they are carrying wild geese returning from the South,
which have settled by the river.

I pick up Sophie onto my shoulders,
for her to see the wild geese.

       “They’ve returned!”

    “You know, 
    I counted 47 of them in October.”

The geese are sensing our presence,
so it takes us a while.

We agree on 44.

We match our pace to the pace of the river, 
to catch a glimpse at the water.