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Mr & Mrs Annhig go bummelling round Germany.

Mr & Mrs Annhig go bummelling round Germany.

Old Oct 18th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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not me, bilbo, and I don't remember anyone else mentioning going this year. I know that I talked about my previous visit on your planning thread and I might have said that it was a possibility for us, but in the event it didn't happen. sadly.
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Old Oct 25th, 2014, 10:10 AM
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Intriguing to read Weinstube couple's feelings about UK and Scotland. Somehow never imagined Germans' wanting to visit UK POW camps. I'd like to visit deepest Shropshire or the snowy wastes of Scotland, too, of course.
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Old Oct 25th, 2014, 11:36 AM
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stoke - they are by no means alone. My penfriend's father visited Hamburg where he was a british PoW; not only was he fed better than he had been in the german army but he avoided going to the russian front which was more or less certain death. Her FIL had been a PoW in Nuneaton, and never stopped talking about it, apparently with affection.

I don't think that there's much left of the camps to be honest, so I don't know how much there is of them to see. Many were sent to work on local farms so they could go there, but there are few if any left who are able to visit themselves; the people we spoke to were of course their children who had been brought up with their father's stories of the war. For those in what had been the DDR, travel to the UK also had the element of novelty after the Iron Curtain came down.
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Old Oct 25th, 2014, 12:38 PM
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Years back I was working in Bradford and an American big wig turned up from GM and wanted to speak to the whole workforce about working together against the Russians after beating the Germans together expecting a happy workforce.

Trouble was a fair number of our workforce were ex-German-bombers who had remained in the UK.

Exit stage left persued by a bear
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Old Oct 25th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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Weimar - a window on the history of Germany [well, some of it]

After a very good sleep [in a much more comfortable bed than the two previous nights, thank goodness] and a very nice and cheap breakfast in a bakery near the National Theater, [about €10 between us as opposed to the €19 charged by the hotel] first stop was the TI in the market place, where we picked up a map, and then headed for the Schlossmuseum where we thought that we would learn something about the history of Weimar.

http://www.klassik-stiftung.de/index.php?id=350

Well we did, but mainly about the artistic history as the part that we saw [and looking at the website we may have missed some of it, but if we did, it wasn't obvious at the time] was all about paintings. Fortunately these were better than we might have expected and particularly the Impressionists proved very interesting, with many obvious [and not so obvious] links with french and other Impressionist movements. Some of the rooms are interesting too, with lovely rooms and furniture.

After a couple of hours however we had had enough and we decided that we'd like a beer, but before that, as it was reasonably near, we thought that we'd pop over to Goethe's garden house which was just the other side of the nearby park. This took rather longer than we had thought, and by the time we got there we were gasping, but with no cafe or pub in view, we decided to see the house anyway, and then seek out refreshment.

The Gartenhaus has clearly been done up a bit since Goethe left it, but still it was possible to get a good idea of how he lived, particularly inside which is laid out more or less as it was when he left it to live back in the city [which was all of 1 km away!]. The garden is very pretty in a english cottage garden style, [I was a bit surprised that C18 Germans knew about that!] with paths going off into the woods, which presumably Goethe would have known well. After an hour or so our thirst drove us out and we made our way back into the town where we found a nice table outside the Elephant Hotel, and had a lunch of soup, bread and beer.

To walk off our lunch we decided to go for a wander around the city centre, and found ourselves at a church [sorry I can't remember which one] where Goethe's wife and many other notable persons are buried. Then a bit further on we came across the Stadtmuseum which looked interesting, and had the great advantage of being free. Its main exhibit was about the origins of the short-lived Weimar Republic, its demise when the National Socialists took over, and a smaller exhibition about life in the DDR. Certainly we learnt a lot and being virtually the only people there had plenty of time to stand and stare and study the copious amounts of material they have such as a room which is set out as if you are one of the first delegates of the Weimar Republic which met in the National Theatre.

However there came a point when even we had had enough of culture and desperately wanted a cup of tea, so we thanked the lovely lady at the reception desk and made for a cafe that we'd seen on our wanderings, where we had lovely cakes and a pot of tea to wash them down. The cakes were local specialities - I think I had a plum tart known as as "Zwetschkenkuchen" [they are a bit like damsons] and DH had a raspberry confection, made with sponge and cream. Yum.

The hotel wasn't far away so we made our way back for a rest before dinner. A day was really insufficient to see Weimar properly - we missed out on Schiller completely, did not see the Duchess Anna Amalie library as tickets had run out for that day, and never got up to the Schloss Belvedere. But on the whole we enjoyed our time and we were quite happy to be moving on the next day.

We still had dinner to find, though, and we found ourselves back in the Market square where the offerings at the Weisse Schwan appealed most, and by the looks of it we weren't the only ones as the place was heaving, so much so they had to put us in a room by ourselves at the back. We kept thinking that other people would come and join us but we seemed to have arrived when the restaurant was at its busiest, and we spent the whole meal alone with just the waiter, a very friendly chap, and an assortment of deer antlers which decorated the room along with a single boar's head. This did not stop us enjoying an excellent dinner of stewed venison, spaetzle [german noodles] and salad, which we washed down with a bottle of german red wine - which has definitely come on since we last tried some about 10 years ago.

On the way back to the hotel we picked up more ice creams from the gelateria near the National Theatre [unfortunately not showing anything the nights we were there] and ate them admiring the statue of Goethe and Schiller that stands in front of it.

Tomorrow - Beer and Sausages in Bamberg.
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Old Oct 25th, 2014, 03:28 PM
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Glad to see that you are continuing your TR! Thanks!
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Old Oct 26th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Oct 26th, 2014, 12:55 PM
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What a fun read, am glad to be back on the European board..
Your car trouble remind me of when I first got my drivers license in NYC and had rented a car to pick up my future husband from the airport. Was completely unable to start it because it was an automatic and I had only driven manual shifts. Had no idea it had to be in neutral.
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 02:50 AM
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I too have had new car troubles in the hinterlands of travel. I discovered the idiosyncrasies of push-button parking brakes on an incline driving into Taormina, Sicily. The amazing cloud of smoke from the clutch was very entertaining for the crowds at the intersection.

Ian
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 03:02 AM
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Ian - fortunately we avoided THAT particular drama, but only by luck, not judgement. I wonder how many hire cars have to be returned/replaced early because they haven't bothered to tell the customer how to drive the thing before they let them drive away. Our rep was clearly utterly uninterested in how we were going to manage the car, even though we couldn't even start it.

Nywoman - glad to see you back here, if only because you were attracted by a fellow sufferer of hire car malaise.

More soon I hope!
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 04:38 AM
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More Woes in the Wet.

I don't think that i have yet mentioned the weather that we had on our trip; sad to say that it got worse the further south we travelled. The morning was dull when we left Weimar, and positively gloomy by the time we got to Erfurt, where we were planning to stop for breakfast and a wander round. First of all though, we had to park, and by the simple expedient of following the signs to the centre, ended up in an underground multi-storey near the vast marketplace under the shadow of the cathedral. ok, parking was easy, [too easy?] and we'd deal with getting out when the time came.

Things looked up a bit when we found a very nice bakery overlooking the square to have breakfast - all sorts of options but we went for one that included a boiled egg each, croissant and a roll, juice and a yoghurt, as well as tea/coffee all for €6 each. Then, unarmed with any maps but following our noses, we decided to explore the city, which seemed very interesting, possibly, dare I say a better over night base than Weimar as there were lots of nice concerts advertised, which had been sadly lacking in Weimar. There was a nice mix of old and new, and we were particularly taken by a covered walkway where a load of umbrellas had been hung over the top - of course like everyone else we had to take a photo! Then we come across an interesting church where luckily the organist was rehearsing for a concert that evening [see what I meant about concerts - and that was not the only one] so we sat and listened for a while. However we didn't want to spend too long [or too much in the car park] as our goal today was to see the Wartburg near Eisenach - one of the cradles of German democracy, according to our guide book. So we made our way back to the market place and climbed up to the cathedral, or rather cathedrals, as there are two, [or rather a cathedral and a huge church] side by side. Both were massive gothic structures, but sorry to say I remember little more than that about them, apart from my childish pleasure at understanding the explanation from the guide in the church as to why the two churches were built together.

The system of paying in the car park was fun - you needed your ticket, obviously, but you also needed it if you wanted to use the loo, so I had to sit and wait while DH went off to locate and use the facilities, and by the time he came back, we'd tripped over into the next hour thus doubling the cost of the parking, and meaning that we didn't have enough change. Fortunately it took notes, so we weren't forced to go back out and buy something in order to be able to leave the car park. I was just glad it hadn't been the other way round!

Leaving Erfurt was surprisingly easy, and we were son back on the road heading west towards Eisenach, famous for being the birthplace of Bach, and the Wartburg cars of DDR days. Plagued yet again by the all too familiar "Umleitungen" , we eventually managed to reach Eisenach despite rather than because of the diversion signs, and followed our noses up the hill to the parking for the Wartburg castle, which is a "good" 15 minutes walk uphill from the parking area. [we never did work out what the disabled were supposed to do to get up there].

We weren't sure what there was there to see, to be honest, besides its being a huge stone built edifice, but having got there we wanted to see it, whatever it was, and for once we struck lucky as there was a tour in english starting in 3 minutes time. No time for hesitation - yes - even at €9 each. So we followed the directions to the entrance and opened the door -no signs, but there wasn't anywhere else to go. Yes, this was the right place, and yes, it was about to start. Phew. The guide was full of information [perhaps too full - he said that this was his first english-language tour so we were his "guinea-pigs" so full marks for use of idiom there!] and we learnt about the history of the castle, its place in german culture, etc. which helped to fill in many of the gaps in our knowledge, though I can't say that I remember much of it now. It was definitely impressive, and the famous room with all the stars on the ceiling was lovely.

After about an hour we emerged out into the gloom again, and though it was nearing 3pm, the cafe was still serving warm food [I DO like this about Germany] so we dashed in, found a couple of places at the end of a table already occupied by others [yes, sharing a table with strangers is quite de rigueur in Germany, Palen Q take note!] and ordered 2 soups, variety now forgotten, a beer for DH, and an "Apfelschorle" [apple juice topped up with a bit of soda] for me. Great. then after a quick look at the "view" [which would have been nice if we could have seen it] we wandered back down to the car to start our drive to our next destination - Bamberg.

Next - more car parking woes, and a fat lady!
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 08:52 AM
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Now I know why we can never find.some of those wines here in the States that we drink in Germany. Did not know that. Reading your reviews after that post about reports. Very good.
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Old Oct 27th, 2014, 10:16 AM
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flpab - it remains a matter of astonishment to us that so much of the vast amount of wine produced in Germany is for home consumption, but then, when you see how much they put away at the numerous wine festivals they have, perhaps it's not so strange.

Nice to see you here, however you got here, and thanks!
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 04:40 AM
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We were in Rothenberg and had the best wine and when I got home searched and searched for something made in that area. NADA. There we were surrounded by vineyards and nothing. We find lots or Rieslings here though and ice wines.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 05:47 AM
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flpab, there are lots of local wines in Germany that most germans can't get hold of. The friends that we stayed with at the end of the trip were delighted when we presented them with the bottle that we'd been carrying around with us, as it was from an area that they never see where they are.

Franken wines [ie from the area around Rothenberg, aka Frankonia] are particularly some of these, ditto ones from the area where we were staying further north.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 06:13 AM
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Three years ago, after I finished up my Goethe Institut course in Dresden, I brought back wines from Saxony for my line manager and the department head. Goldriesling for the line manager, a pinot noir for the head. Both loved their wines, both were not that familiar with Saxon wines. Yet both were German (from Hesse and NRW). I've been to several wine stores over the border in BW and never see Saxon (or Franken) wines on the shelves.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 08:27 AM
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Annhig, I'm enjoying your report. One thing about Weimar is that I don't believe it was ever the capital of Germany. It was the site of the constitutional convention of Germany after WW1. Hence, the term Weimar Republic. I believe it was picked over Berlin as it was a more mellow, less politically agitated city at the time, right after WW1. The constitution, btw, was actually pretty good, IMHO, but alas some bad actors and the effects of a defeat in war doomed the new Republic.
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Old Oct 28th, 2014, 09:21 AM
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WT - that's our experience too. We were really sad that we hadn't bought more wine in the north and in Franconia to give to our friends as they liked the bottle we gave them very much.

robincal - I'm not going to get into an argument with you about whether Weimar was the actual capital of Germany, or just that the National Assembly met there, as I really don't know enough about the history of the period. In the museum I mentioned there are lots of very interesting photos of the members of the assembly and of inside the theatre itself, including where all the new members of the assembly sat in 1919. So much hope!

talking of hope, in the Indy today there are some very interesting pieces commemorating the fall of the wall in 1989, it being the 25th anniversary thereof.

thanks for joining in!
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Old Nov 25th, 2014, 04:32 AM
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Ann:

Please continue this fine report!

Thanks
H
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Old Nov 26th, 2014, 07:25 AM
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thanks for the reminder, huggy. Trouble is that i am so busy at work at the moment, I don't have time to sit down and concentrate on a TR [leastways, that's my excuse!]. i will try soon though.
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