Category Archives: Germany

PASSAGE PLUS

KIEL CANAL

Friday-Sunday, August 31-September 2, 2018

With a favorable Nothwest wind we left the luxury of Denmark’s Vejrø Island for Germany’s Kiel Canal. The canal is 60 miles long and night-time travel is not allowed for pleasure craft, which usually necessitates a stop at one of the few designated mooring spots along the canal. We chose to moor at the 85.4 km mark near the east end of the canal, a place we’d tied up twice before; last year heading back from Sweden, and this year heading into the Baltic.

Continue reading

On the other side of the Kiel Canal

LABOE

April 22 -May 3, 2018

To rewind for a bit, after we exited the Kiel Canal we made our way to Laboe, just across the harbor. Laboe being an important naval base, the government sited a German Naval Museum here next to a 1936 memorial. Originally built as a monument to WW I German sailors who lost their lives, in 1996 the German Naval Association rededicated the memorial. Now this imposing structure stands for “those who died at sea and for peaceful navigation in free waters” regardless of country. The plaque also notes that naval vessels and merchant ships from all nations show their respect by lowering their flags when passing by.

Continue reading

Cathedral Squares

Cologne and Aachen

Tuesday-Wednesday, December 5-7, 2017

We’d heard some European cities celebrate the Christmas season with flair, including warm wine and hearty hot dogs. Since sipping glühwein and noshing on street treats while perusing a variety of wares augments the holiday spirit, we decided to check two out on our way to Hoorn. Of course, we can’t just go to a market when a huge stone presence, i.e., cathedral, demands your attention first. Almost like having to eat your peas before you can have cake. So, off we drove.

Continue reading

Waiting for weather… still

NEUENGAMME

Friday, May 5

Winds still not favorable, so on to our next Hanseatic port city:  Bremen; but, first a sobering stop along the way outside of Hamburg. We wanted to see Neuengamme, a concentration camp we’d never heard of before.

Continue reading

Waiting for weather…

TERSCHELLING

Saturday – Monday, April 29 – May 1

With Danielle on her way to new adventures we readied JUANONA for our next port, a Friesian Island off the northern coast of Netherlands. Having stopped at Vlieland Island going to/returning from Norway last summer we opted to explore a bigger one just to the east.

Continue reading

Where to begin? PART V

DAY 19:  Monday, November 3 (arrival in BERLIN)

It was time to end our wanderings around Germany, and Berlin was the place. After stopping off in Lutherville, aka Wittenberg, we drove another three hours, turned in our rental car, and found our VRBO.com (vacation rental by owner) apartment. We were staying in Charlottenburg, a western suburb of Berlin located about a 30-minute S-Bahn (fast urban train) & U-Bahn (underground subway) ride from the city’s center.

The owner of the apartment couldn’t have been more helpful in our pre-planning for Berlin. The approach to the apartment, however, didn’t bode well for what the interior might look like (graffiti walls, trash on sidewalk, grungy windows). Fortunately, it was nicer on the inside than out although a few extra dollars wouldn’t have hurt to improve first impressions. But, it was clean, offered a nicely outfitted kitchen, and was plenty large. Climbing five sets of stairs to reach it ensured we’d have plenty of exercise (Only after our stay was over did Max point out the complete lack of a fire escape).

After figuring out places we wanted to go, and sights we wanted to see, the next morning we walked to the convenient metro stop. Like a lot of our German experiences, using the public transportation was another example of this country’s efficiency:  you purchased a ticket (lots of different configurations; we chose the 7-day fare); hopped on the public transportation; arrived at our destination; hopped off; end of story. No turnstiles, no swiping, no barriers to entry or exit. The way they ensured compliance was by spot-checking passengers’ tickets. Talk about streamlining transportation.

With so much to experience in this historical city, it was a whirlwind of a visit in spite of allowing ourselves seven days; so, I’ll try to keep each day’s wanderings to captioned photos beginning with our self-guided city walk on Day One in Berlin…

DAY 20  Tuesday, November 4

Brandenburg Gate was our first stop. The only surviving gate of the 14 surrounding the original city, this impressive structure was built in 1791.

Germany PART 2 160

It was originally designed as an arch of peace with the Goddess of Peace riding the chariot as the God of War sheathes his sword. After several mishaps and misrepresentations–Napoleon stole the statue in 1806 but lost it when Prussia beat him 1813; Hitler used it as a symbol of aggression–in 1989 it reverted to its original symbolism with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Germany PART 2 176

And, since our trip was timed to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s demise, we were fortunate to have the East-West Berlin history in front of our eyes as we walked around the gate (THE major site for the November 9th celebratory events) and throughout the city.

Germany PART 2 156

Germany PART 2 164

Squatting in the square in front of the Brandenburg Gate we spotted a small blue car. Later we found out it was a Trabant, an East German car manufactured so cheaply it became a symbol of that government’s economy. Supposedly, a ‘people’s car’ in answer to West Germany’s VW Beetle; yet, it made TIME Magazine’s list of the 50 worst cars in the world…

Germany PART 2 177

Looking around the square we noticed the Adlon Hotel, famous for Michael Jackson’s baby dangling over a balcony.

Germany PART 2 170

Realizing this would be the primo place to be for November 9th’s celebrations, we casually walked in to inquire about a room. Well, let’s just say we weren’t dressed like the people who typically stay at this hotel, and the desk clerk definitely thought it was out of our price range the way he answered our question. In spite of his being right, we still thanked him and said ‘we’ll think about it.’ At least the doorman was nice. And, frankly, if we had known Gorbachev was staying there that weekend, we might have even said ‘to hell with it, let’s do it!’  (We did, though, find another place much more reasonable and still in close proximity to Sunday’s coming celebration.)

Nearby was the DZ Bank building designed by Gehry with his saying he thought it was his best designed shape ever.

Germany PART 2 171Germany PART 2 172

A short stroll away we found the stark memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, a granite maze of pillars of varying heights.

Germany PART 2 191Germany PART 2 184

Continuing on we stopped in at one of the ghost subway stations, stations blocked off by during the Cold War. When the wall fell these subway stations re-opened, providing a step back in history with the decor still unchanged since they were built in 1931.

Germany PART 2 195

Germany PART 2 194

As we walked towards Museum island away from the Gate on Unter Der Linden, a major boulevard, we saw a lot of construction, both in buildings

Germany PART 2 204

with temporary offices simply attached by cables

Germany PART 2 222

and temporary, above-ground pipes as they worked on the underground water and sewage systems.

Germany PART 2 200

One way you knew you were in the former East Berlin was the pedestrian signal. This East German, street-crossing light is seen around the city today and is one of the few ‘friendly’ symbols to have survived from the Cold War. There are even Ampelmann shops selling little green man logo items.

Germany PART 2 203

Humboldt University was lovely and large, stretching across the street. We had a light lunch at the school’s library cafe and snapped a photo of the famous 1968, stained glass featuring Vladimir Lenin (after being admonished by the librarian not to include any people in it due to privacy issues).

Germany PART 2 209

Germany PART 2 215

When you realize Lenin studied law here, it made more sense.

In the square opposite the library’s entrance is the site where Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, instructed university staff and students to burn 20,000 books in 1933. The memorial is an underground, empty book shelf you can barely see when peering through the covering at your feet.

Germany PART 2 217

Germany PART 2 220

That was only a prelude, there
where they burn books,
they burn in the end people.
Heinrich Heine 1820

One of the fun sculptures we spotted

Germany PART 2 225

which you can see is quite large:

Germany PART 2 226

Another piece of sculpture, only much more sobering, is one by Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945), “Mother with her Dead Son” also known as the pieta. This replica sits in the middle of a stone floor in an 1816 building, the Emperor’s New Guardhouse, which was remodeled in 1993. This national memorial reads “To the victims of war and tyranny”  with the only light coming from an opening in the roof. The sculptress, Kollwitz, was known for her artistic expressions against government repression, and her life is an interesting read.

Germany PART 2 227

Germany PART 2 230

We crossed the river to Berlin’s Museum Island.

Germany PART 2 238

With the fading light and falling temperatures, we decided to visit some of these another day. We headed back to the apartment where Max performed his culinary art and we planned our next day’s tour.

Germany PART 2 244

DAY 21:  Wednesday, November 5

The next morning we continued our getting-to-know Berlin crawl. We ended up along the Spree River where the Chancellery and Parliament buildings stood.

Germany PART 2 250

 

Germany PART 2 256

With the build-up for the 25th Anniversary of the fall of the Wall we were constantly educated by some amazing ‘Wall Stories’ along the wall’s path. The city had erected 100 of these blue boxes, and we stopped at every one we came across. The snippets of history related by a large photograph and accompanying story made the wall come to life, many through the terror and pain this structure caused.  I took photos of many of these, and, hopefully, you can enlarge them to read the mesmerizing tales.

We found one here along the Spree River.

Germany PART 2 246

Germany PART 2 247

A bit of history about this concrete snake…The wall was 96 miles long with 27 miles separating East and West Berliners (the remaining separated the East Germany countryside from West Berlin). Originally it began with barbed wire and some cement blocks in 1961 and eventually morphed into the ugly combination of a secondary wall, electric fence, trenches and death strip.

If anything can be comical about this structure it was how it came to ‘fall’. Over the years other communist leaders were realizing how out of touch the East German leader, Erich Honecker, was becoming. Enough so that Gorbachev was warning him of the futility of not accommodating the growing freedom occurring in neighboring countries (Russia’s Gorbachev’s reforms, Poland’s Lech Wales’s first free labor union, Hungary’s Miklos Nameth’s opening the border to Austria). Push came to shove and Honecker finally resigned October 18, 1989.

During this time a new law easing the travel ban was being considered. At a press conference on November 9th an official for the new East German government was asked about this proposed law. Not having clear instructions the woefully unprepared spokesman fumbled and stumbled and when asked when the proposed easing would take effect he finally said at 6:53pm “Well, as far as I can see, … straightaway, immediately.” Thousands ran to the border gates only to have the guards refuse to let them through. Evidently one guard kept trying to reach his superiors without any luck, so after a while he said open the gates. The rest, as they say, is history.

In addition to the Wall Stories, over 2,000 white balloons were being posted where the wall once stood. On November 9th at 7:00pm individuals would stand next to their balloon and release them one by one. As we were walking around Berlin we saw the numbered posts (so the assigned individual knew which one was theirs) with their deflated balloons being readied for the event.

Germany PART 2 245

We walked to the Reichstag and saw the memorial to Politicians Who Opposed Hitler.

Germany PART 2 269

Germany PART 2 268

Germany PART 2 271

Heading south we stopped on the other side of the Brandenburg Gate on the Pariser Platz where the US Embassy stands.

Germany PART 2 300

We then espied more Wall Stories to read.

IMG_2697 IMG_2703

IMG_2718

and saw a memorial to those who participated in the June 17, 1953, demonstration in Potsdamer Platz. Called the People’s Uprising in East Germany, it began when East German construction workers went on strike June 16. They were joined by the general public the next day, resulting in the Democratic German Republic (GDR) confronting the protesters with tanks and guns. Ironically, it all started when the GDR, under pressure from the Soviet Union, announced easement of some work policies (10% raise in work quotas plus higher taxes and prices) they were going to put into place. Rather than diffuse the bubbling unrest, it inflamed the citizens, resulting in this demonstration.

IMG_2719

 

 

Further on Max bought a hotdog (there are so many names for their hotdogs I can’t remember them all so now they’re all ‘hotdog’ to me). In doing so, he befriended a sparrow

Germany PART 2 281

who quickly drew a flock of his friends…

Germany PART 2 291

Germany PART 2 297

 

Escaping their clutches we strolled along the eastern side of Tiergarten, a 400-acre public park and read more Wall Stories

Germany PART 2 308

Germany PART 2 309

 

IMG_2745IMG_2747

and the site of the memorial to the Homosexuals Persecuted Under the National Socialist Regime…

Germany PART 2 307

 

Germany PART 2 305

 

and more Wall Stories (for someone like me these history blurbs were like candy).

IMG_2755IMG_2756

Further on we reached Potsdamer Platz, the “Times Square” of old Berlin and a postwar wasteland until businesses and a mall sprang up. This was also another site for celebrating the fall of the wall with a large screen showing a Berlin Wall documentary on continuous loop. This area was more like a carnival site with a snow slide, a lego-ed giraffe, commercial billboards, and the new Sony Center.

Germany PART 2 318

Germany PART 2 320

 

Germany PART 2 313

The colorful sights seemed a bit bizarre when juxtaposed next to the history of this area.

Germany PART 2 311

Germany PART 2 315

 

IMG_2761

Germany PART 2 317

We saw one of the guard towers that was saved from being demolished and moved to a site for easy access. Guards who worked the wall weren’t allowed to fraternize with one another so, if one tried to escape, the other wouldn’t feel so bad shooting him.

Germany PART 2 322

Our final destination of the day was the Topography of Terror sited on a former Nazi building used by the Gestapo and SS. Like all of the museums which we toured in Germany, the amount of detail and information is overwhelming. Two hours only seems to touch the surface but it’s at least enough to give you the basic overview; and, when you’re viewing the horrors of what was performed under the Nazi banner, two hours can seem like an eternity.

Germany PART 2 378

Because the history found in this museum was so well documented, I took photos so you can experience first-hand the terrors of that time.

Germany PART 2 334Germany PART 2 335

Germany PART 2 336Germany PART 2 337Germany PART 2 338

Germany PART 2 340Germany PART 2 339

Germany PART 2 341Germany PART 2 342

Germany PART 2 344Germany PART 2 343

Germany PART 2 346Germany PART 2 347Germany PART 2 348

Germany PART 2 349Germany PART 2 350

Germany PART 2 352Germany PART 2 351

Germany PART 2 358

Germany PART 2 359Germany PART 2 360

The faces of the terrorized children is something I’ll never forget, and I don’t think I should. The memory is too much of a reminder of what can and did happen.

Germany PART 2 362Germany PART 2 361

Germany PART 2 366Germany PART 2 365

Germany PART 2 367

Germany PART 2 369Germany PART 2 370

Germany PART 2 372Germany PART 2 371

Germany PART 2 368

It was still early afternoon so we decided to head across town back to the Unter den Linden (at one end is the Brandenburg Gate) next to Berlin’s Museum Island, a UNESCO site. The Deutsches Historisches Museum was our last stop of the day and it offered a mind-numbing but fascinating journey through Germany’s history. Centuries of artifacts, including Roman mosaics, items from when Napoleon was captured (they had a photo of his hat saying it was on loan… we later saw it was up for auction), a Turkish tent from the Ottoman siege of Vienna (1863), paintings and busts, Nazi posters, a trabant car, basically, almost anything German and it’d be there. Unfortunately, what we didn’t do is wander into the Pei annex. Saved for a later visit.

We stumbled out after our typical two-hours meandering to find it dark and chilly, which meant we were a bit disoriented. But we located an S-Bahn and found our way home with this sign illuminating the night sky and offering a suggestion for our heads ready to explode with German facts. Note to self:  never do TWO museums in ONE day.

IMG_2824

DAY 22:  Thursday, November 6

Another chilly day out but still easy for sight-seeing as no rain (or snow). We decided to visit another site, the Berlin Wall Memorial. The museum was closed with a new one opening up on November 9th; however, just seeing remnants of the wall and walking in a former death zone strip gave us a good feel of what happened here.

Still unsure of navigating our way around various U-Bahn stations we happened to ask a fellow rider directions. He kindly said he was heading there with his wife to visit his wife’s mother and offered to lead us towards our destination. Along the way we spoke with his saying he’d come from Africa to study and ended up staying for work. He also shared with us that it was difficult at times living in Germany because of racism. Just as in the states, we are reminded of how different skin colors and cultures can cause ugliness instead of opportunities to learn from one another.

After a ten-minute walk we reached the Berlin Wall Memorial, a green expanse with some memorials placed around. Formerly the site of a church (later demolished by the East German government to make way for the death zone) some graves still exist.

IMG_2843

Germany PART 2 381

In 1961 the wall seemed to appear overnight, with apartment buildings actually used as part of the wall along Bernauer Strasse where this memorial was located. This site was also where the first casualty of the wall occurred when Ida Sickmann fell to her death August 22, 1961, attempting to escape from her 3rd-floor apartment.

The open-air memorial listed with photos those who died trying to flee from East Germany.

Germany PART 2 382

Some were young children and teenagers.

Germany PART 2 385Germany PART 2 384

Photos showing the final wall were on display.

Germany PART 2 389Germany PART 2 390

To visit graves remaining after the church was demolished required special passes.

Germany PART 2 388

A sculpture on the grounds embraces the sadness and grief caused by the wall separating families. One copy exists in the Hiroshima Peace Museum.

Germany PART 2 396

Germany PART 2 397

Some of the wall still stood along Bernauer Strasse, such as one where kids were playing after the fall in 1989, and where I stood 25 years later on the other side.

Germany PART 2 394

Germany PART 2 387 (2)

Looking across the memorial from the street side we saw the second (or first) wall that bordered the death zone.

Germany PART 2 402

 

Unfortunately the Visitor Center and the Berlin Wall Documentation Center weren’t open but  we absorbed the bleak ambiance just walking in this former death grip in the gray, damp day.

With that somber memorial seen, it was time for some lightness. I had read about a famous chocolate store on Gendarmenmarkt, a beautiful historic square where Berlin Symphony’s concert hall sits. We didn’t hear any music but were able to watch a young girl entertained by a street vendor’s huge bubbles.

Germany PART 2 412

Not to be distracted I made a beeline for Fassbender & Rausch, supposedly Europe’s biggest chocolate store. I don’t know if it’s true but this family-owned store offered up some treats; and, after 150 years of creating chocolate candies, I can truthfully say they know their craft.

IMG_2864

IMG_2866

They even commemorated the Fall of the Wall’s 25th anniversary…

Germany PART 2 423

We were hungry for lunch and scoured the area for street food. No luck so we found a grocery store off the square and picked up a wrap. While looking I spotted some dyed eggs being sold. A bit weird considering they were being sold as regular, uncooked eggs.

IMG_2861

We had a cabaret date at a little restaurant bar later that night. Something we had wanted to do, being familiar with the 1972 movie Cabaret starring Liza Minnelli. Although it wasn’t half as spectacular as the movie it was still fun to experience a live performance. Plus, we met a nice couple from San Francisco, which added to the night’s enjoyment.

DAY 23:  Friday, November 7

We ended up going to different destinations, with my heading for the shopping district and Max to Potsdam.

My excursion resulted in an ornament gift I had tried to purchase in Rothenberg but the shop was closed the morning we left. Locating the store took me longer than I had expected; but, It was a lovely day, warmer than previous ones, so it felt wonderful walking up and down Kurfurstendamm, up and down because of getting lost.

Max discovered the trains were on strike so his trek to Potsdam (to see the grim room where the Final Solution was initiated) didn’t happen. Instead he landed at the Berlin zoo and enjoyed a lighter outing amongst animals and their antics such as the ‘roos :)

IMG_0434

Arriving back home within thirty minutes of one another we packed up. We had booked a room downtown for two nights so were moving out. Thanks to economizing on our VRBO.com apartment, we felt we’d give ourselves a treat, especially since we had discovered a day earlier the S-Bahn, the fastest way into the city center, was on strike. Let the festivities begin!

DAY 24:  Saturday, November 8

Knowing Berlin had beautiful art museums, we wanted to see at least one; so, we headed into the city with our bags dropped off at our hotel in Potsdamer Platz.

The museum was the Gemaldegalerie, the “Painting Gallery”, located fairly close by to our hotel. The modern building held Germany’s top collection of 13th-18th century European paintings. [The following are from the Internet because I didn’t take photos of the museum and I couldn’t take them once in the galleries.]

Unknown

Thinking it would be packed on a weekend day, we were surprised to find it rather deserted. Although a fascinating example of modern architecture, it felt rather cold and lonely, lacking a feeling of vitality. Yet, the art was sumptuous, and I’m no art aficionado.

images-1

Once again, two hours wasn’t enough time to soak in all of the magnificent paintings; however, I will say religious art can get rather redundant in my eyes (I need a guide who knows something about it), but there were other paintings that were captivating. One was Johannes Vermeer’s (1632-1675) The Glass of Wine.

images

Another was Lucas Cranach (the guy who was friends with Luther in Wittenberg) and his Fountain of Youth.

Lucas_Cranach_d._Ä._007

This museum I will definitely revisit if we ever return to Berlin. Only next time I’ll be better prepared.

We had purchased matinee tickets for a Las Vegas-like show, WILD, so we headed across town. The circus-like acts were entertaining, the best one being the acrobatic strongmen. The costumes alone were eye candy, and the singing and dancing entertaining. But, like our cabaret experience, the walking around Berlin was more of a highlight.

Once back at our hotel we prepared to go out again as the city was lighting up in anticipation of the next day’s celebrations. But, not before I recorded our dream room…

IMG_2869IMG_2875IMG_2876

Once you live on a boat bathrooms take on a whole new appeal…

IMG_2870

Yes, it was a slice of heaven.

With my drooling under control we went out into the night and took in the sights, beginning with the lit snow slide.

IMG_2878

Our hotel was right in Potsdamn Platz so balloons (they were illuminated starting Friday night) lined the sidewalk where the wall once stood.

Germany PART 2 434

Germany PART 2 438

We took photos for strangers and they took ours. Everyone was excited to be there. And, rightly so! It was exhilarating, spellbinding, and joyful. We felt we were participating in history.

From our hotel it was a straight walk up to Brandenburg Gate where the moon hung over the Peace Goddess and her chariot.

Germany PART 2 450

The stage for Sunday’s events was being checked out for the festivities.

Germany PART 2 452

And, the lights splashed across the sky and venues.

Germany PART 2 462

Germany PART 2 470Germany PART 2 472Germany PART 2 473Germany PART 2 477

The crowds thronged around the stage and the Gate, while Max documented it with his iPad.

Germany PART 2 453

The screen with the documentary was showing on the other side and I snapped some screen shot, including Kennedy’s proclaiming ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ June 1963.

Germany PART 2 457Germany PART 2 459

Germany PART 2 461

Outside Hotel Adlon (the one we inquired about and gulped) featured a banner of Gorbachev; that’s when we wished we’d paid the $$ just to be in the same proximity.

IMG_2918

Back to hotel primed for Sunday’s events.

DAY 25:  Sunday, November 9

And, we thought last night was packed. Saturday was just a tease for Sunday’s crowds.

We decided to go to several locations, the first prompted by CNN’s reporting of Angela Merkel at the dedication of the Berlin Wall Memorial’s new center. We hurried there hoping to catch sight of the German Chancellor. It was freezing but waiting around for her to appear we met a visitor from outside of Hamburg with whom we traded tales and kept each other company.

Germany PART 2 494

We saw another Wall Story, one of a guard escaping.

Germany PART 2 500Germany PART 2 499

Finally, Angela left along with her entourage and I caught the back of her head while Max got a profile view.

IMG_0485

From there we headed north to Bornholmer Strasse. This is the spot where the wall was ‘opened’ and the first East Berliners poured into West Berlin’s working class neighborhood Wedding. By 11:00pm over 20,000, Angela Merkel being one, crossed into freedom.

Walking towards the gate and park the festivities included street music enjoyed by young climbers. Colorful, graffiti walls looked down into the park.

Germany PART 2 503Germany PART 2 504Germany PART 2 508

It was frigid so when we finally reached the end of the walk, we were looking forward to the next stop via S-Bahn, East Side Gallery where CNN was broadcasting the signing of the Trabant car.

The riverside in Friedrichshain is the longest surviving piece of the inner wall. The wall has become a famous work of art thanks to over 100 artists from 20 countries using it as their canvas in 1990.

Germany PART 2 513Germany PART 2 516Germany PART 2 517Germany PART 2 519Germany PART 2 521Germany PART 2 523Germany PART 2 525IMG_0498

We managed to find the CNN car only to discover the reporter had left and they weren’t allowing anyone to sign it. However, we persuaded the assistant we had come all this way to do so. She thought a second, then handed us the pen saying ‘do NOT give this out to anyone else.’ Orr’s Islanders, your home is immortalized or, at least, it decorates a car in Berlin :)

Germany PART 2 529Germany PART 2 527

Walking back along the river we saw a youth hostel, and I was ever so glad we didn’t have to stay there.

Germany PART 2 537Germany PART 2 539

Having seen the sights here we made our way back to our hotel to warm up prior to heading out for the night.

After an hour we were ready to hit the street again and, man, it was CROWDED. I have never felt so smooshed as when I was trying to reach the other side of the walkway during this celebration. We tried getting to Brandenburg Gate but quickly gave up when we were being routed through Tiergarten by police. We knew we’d never reach the stage area, let alone hear the speeches.

To give you an idea, here’s a crowd scene:

http://youtu.be/jwIKDGHjne8

So, we turned around and returned to Potsdamn Platz where we met a German family of two sisters (one married to a guy from California and they were living in London, the other married and living in Germany) and their uncle born and raised in East Germany.

Germany PART 2 594

We grabbed hotdogs and beer along with our new-found friends and proceeded to enjoy the night in spite of the sardine-like situation.

Germany PART 2 550Germany PART 2 554Germany PART 2 590

 

We watched the large screen and recognized places we’d been during our walks to see the wall, only this time it was before the fall of the wall:

East Side Gallery (where the car that we signed earlier in the day was located)

IMG_3036

 

Bernauer Strasse (where we went to see Angela Merkel and where we had been Thursday)

IMG_3047

 

Mauerpark (where we saw the live band and the little girl climbing the rock)

IMG_3052

 

and Checkpoint Charlie around Potsdam Platz (so called because “C” is “Charlie” in the NATO phonetic alphabet)

IMG_3041

With images like the ones above captured from the screen you can imagine how stunningly powerful this documentary was.

A yell went up when the balloons were released and we all watched mesmerized as they drifted into the heavens.

Germany PART 2 628Germany PART 2 617

The documentary (which we hope to purchase once it’s released) played on…

http://youtu.be/PJIiLiKZ-Qc

http://youtu.be/8ym5NWBQt0o

and the night was one of shared appreciation for what mankind can do if thinking the right way.

Germany PART 2 630

Berlin, Thank you. We had the time of our life.

DAY 26:  Monday, November 10

Up and out early for our plane, we took the U-Bahn to catch our bus to the airport via a connection in Stockholm.

Germany PART 2 633

 

Of course, when I say via Stockholm I mean wandering in a deserted airport for an hour or two and ordering a salad that cost at least double what it’d be back home. But, hey, we were in ‘sveeedin’ :)

Germany PART 2 635

Catching the bus from Heathrow to Ipswich we were charmingly entertained by Vinnie, our driver. This guy was great, and nuts. He demonstrated the stopping power of the bus by coming to a complete stop… on the highway. Yes, there was a slowdown due to traffic ahead, but, still, a complete stop was a bit over the top.

He had been to the states to visit his cousin and her husband in Mississippi. Come to find out his aunt was married to Eddie Willis of The Funk Brothers! Holy moly. We ordered the documentary Vinnie told us about, the DVD Standing in the Shadow of Motown, so we could pick it up when back in the states. Pretty cool.

Dropped off at the rail station, we walked home to Juanona. Our Germany adventure had come to a close, and all we can say is we’ll be back humming the Ode to Joy. 

And, to practice, i’ll just have to watch this over (and over) :)

YOUTUBE:  Flashmob Flash Mob – Ode an die Freude ( Ode to Joy ) Beethoven Symphony No.9 classical music

 

 

 

 

 

Where to begin? PART IV

DAY 14:  Wednesday, October 29 (later that day)

One of the most well-preserved towns is Rothenburg, a “free imperial city”. Remember how Trier was under the Archbishop’s thumb?  Well, Rothenburg escaped that fate by reporting directly to the HRE (Holy Roman Emperor). From 1150 to 1400 this town was strategically placed to take advantage of the north-south routes (sound familiar?). Then, it lost its place in history and proceeded to fade from view. Ironically, it’s because of lack of funds after its heyday that Rothenburg is now one of Germany’s most-visited sites. Because they couldn’t afford to renovate over the centuries, when they finally got some funds, they reconstructed their old buildings as if the setting was still the Middle Ages.

Germany PART 2 039

By the time we found our inn,

Germany PART 2 041

parked and dropped our bags, it was time for a major event in town:  their glockenspiel to chime. Rothenburg’s clock tower (built in 1466) features two men coming out behind closed shutters and playing out a centuries-old legend.

Germany PART 1 777

During the Thirty Years War in 1631, the Catholic army was all set to plunder and pillage the Protestant town. The conquering general, taking the mayor up on the traditional ‘have a drink’, offered the town leader a dare:  “if you can drink this entire, three-liter tankard of wine in one gulp, I’ll spare your town.”

Germany PART 1 776

Evidently the mayor did just that, and the town was saved. A fun start to a town to which we would love to return.

Germany PART 1 775

We had read in Rick Steves’ guidebook that an English Conversation Club met every Wednesday night at Mario’s Altfrankische Weinstube am Klosterhof. Thinking it’d be fun to meet some locals we headed over. Sure enough Wolfgang was holding court, and we were welcomed immediately. Sitting at our end were two other tourists, Laurie and Dennis, and Michaela, a local school teacher.

Among other nuggets of history and local folklore, Wolfgang said Rick Steves visited here many years ago as a young backpacker. Somehow he ended up speaking with a shopkeeper, telling her some of his experiences. She suggested he write them down and make a living doing so. To this day, you can visit the shop now run by the same woman, Anneliesse Friese, with the help of her son and granddaughter. I can just see it now. Soon, there’ll be “Rick Steves slept here” as a mark of distinction.

Meals, beer, and wine later, the night passed too quickly. However, we made a plan to take the highly recommended Night Watchman Tour the next evening with Laurie and Dennis.

DAY 15:  Thursday, October 30

Rick Steves does an excellent job of presenting travellers with easy-to-do, self-guided walks around sites of interest, Rothenburg being one. So, up and out that morning we went, taking advantage of the continued summer weather.

Germany PART 2 038

On the Market Square sits the Town Hall with old measuring standards attached to the wall. Of course we had to test the accuracy of each one…

Germany PART 1 783

Besides the town itself one of the main attractions is a beautiful, wood-carved alter piece by Tilman Riemenschneider. Standing 35 feet high, the carving brings Jesus and his disciples to life in spite being wooden.

Germany PART 1 805

Created over five years and completed in 1504, the free-standing alter sits upstairs at the back of the church and showcases the last supper with surrounding events leading to his crucifiction.

Germany PART 1 800

Germany PART 1 808

Germany PART 1 801

One interesting occurrence is the removal of Judas every Easter. Why, I have no idea. And, I also don’t understand why John’s head is in Jesus’ lap. But, I do the know the perfect person to ask.

Downstairs the main alter had the friendly face of Jesus painted on the back, which, seeing it, I’d have put it there, too.

Germany PART 1 813

Today the church promotes its sister church in Tanzania.

Germany PART 1 820Germany PART 1 821

Next to the pews, a Tanzanian carving is quite impressive and lovely.

Germany PART 1 788

Germany PART 1 790

Germany PART 1 787

Continuing our walk we went by the spot where we had dinner the night before (which was one of our top six meals; matter-of-fact, we’d have to say our two top meals were here, based on food and atmosphere).

Germany PART 1 828

We walked through the convent’s garden where poisonous herbs were marked with crosses,

Germany PART 1 831

and, we spotted a cat blissfully content in its bed of catnip?

Germany PART 1 834

Rothenburg was named for its red castle (destroyed in the 1300s). Now, only the chapel from that time remains.

Germany PART 1 841Germany PART 1 842

Outside the chapel is a memorial to the Jews slaughtered in 1298 by paranoid townsmen. Another reminder of intolerance. Chilling when compared to the tranquility and loveliness of the garden.

We reversed our walked back through the gate where we happened upon an old church. Stepping inside we immediately noticed large, free-standing display boards of cheerful Nazi supporters. Silently we went from one photo to the next puzzling over why they here here and why in a church? There were no English translations and no one standing by to answer any questions.

Germany PART 1 857

Germany PART 1 856

It was only later we discovered Rothenburg had been promoted as the ideal, Nazi small town. Hitler was even made an honorary citizen in 1933. This exhibit created a shocking counterpart to the cheerful crowds of happy tourists we saw wandering the medieval streets. Once again, almost 70 years after the end of WWII, Germany was displaying its dirty laundry, demonstrating that even this fairytale village had its evil past.

The next stop was the Crime and Punishment Museum. I wasn’t really looking forward to it since I thought it was going to include primarily medieval torture tools; but, I was pleasantly surprised. The displays were focused more on the evolution of the legal system.

Yes, there were gruesome artifacts

Germany PART 1 888Germany PART 1 887

Germany PART 1 885Germany PART 1 886

Germany PART 1 884Germany PART 1 882

but, also comical punishments. Although, I’m sure it didn’t feel so funny if you were the one wearing any of these.

For those unable to get along…

Germany PART 1 874Germany PART 1 875

as punishment for playing bad music (I wonder who decided what was awful?)…

Germany PART 1 876Germany PART 1 877

and, for gossipers.

Germany PART 1 878Germany PART 1 879

What I found most interesting were documents from the medieval times. One was a papal document with seals of Indulgences. Rich nobles would purchase these in order to be pardoned for sins. In short, this transaction offered the Catholic Church a method to extract money in order to finance its growing wealth (such as paying Michaelangelo for painting the Sistine Chapel). These Indulgences figured powerfully in Martin Luther’s revolt against the established religion of the time.

Actually, this might be the pic of a leader granting a beer license…

Germany PART 1 871

Once out, we again had to test the local hardware.

Germany PART 1 869

Back in our room we relaxed prior to heading to our night tour.

Germany PART 1 778

And, checked how well our daily laundry drying was doing (thank god for those heated towel racks found in most inns!).

Germany PART 1 890

No pics of the Night Watchman’s Tour but the hour spent with him and ten or so others was one of the highlights. He was a consummate performer who looked like Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.

DAY 16:  Friday, October 31

There was still plenty to explore as we woke to a sunny day beginning with a wall walk.

Surrounded by a 1.5 mile city wall, Rothenburg can be circumnavigated most of the way by climbing up the stairs to the covered walkway.

Germany PART 2 011

Germany PART 2 021

The night watchman had mentioned we’d see inscribed stones as part of the wall. They were the result of a post-WWII, destitute Rothenburg raising monies to rebuild the wall.

Germany PART 2 013

Germany PART 2 014

Once down on the ground, we found a 700-year-old tradesman’s house that felt as if he just left on an errand. If I had been him, I wouldn’t have bothered coming back.

Germany PART 2 003

Germany PART 2 001

Germany PART 2 010

One of our last stops of the day was taking Max to the Christmas shop for which Rothenburg is famous:  Kathe Wohlfahrt has her headquarters here and, boy, does her shop do up Christmas big, big as in you would not believe how many hand-painted, wooden ornaments can be crammed into a room. Her shop is so popular, no photos are allowed, and you follow a one-way path up and through numerous displays. You feel as if you’re on the yellow brick road only this time you’re in Santa Land. For Max, this was pure torture :)

Germany PART 2 037

He survived it, though, with all limbs and wallet intact.

Germany PART 2 027

Walking back to our room we spotted another display, only this one was sitting on a ledge blowing bubbles.

Germany PART 2 030

Opposite our inn there was a lovely shop, and, being a devotee of sweets, including hulking doughnuts, I was immediately drawn to this display.

Germany PART 2 035

Schneeballens are a local trademark (one shop even had a video on how they’re prepared),

Germany PART 2 036

and they looked just perfect for a morning (mid-day, afternoon, nighttime) snack. Fortunately, I had read they were basically tasteless, so I steered clear. But, they were tempting. Although, I’ve found in my taste-testing that most of the pastries I tried looked better on the plate than planted on the tongue.

 DAY 17:  Saturday, November 1

Prior to leaving our inn owners kindly printed out detailed directions for our next stop, one they had recommended since we had two unplanned nights before dropping off our rental car in Berlin.

Germany PART 2 042

They had suggested Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, north of Rothenburg. Straddling the River Regnitz, five churches form a cross creating the city’s layout. The historical part of the city is divided into three, distinct areas:  episcopal town, island town and the market gardener’s town; and, it is because of this structure and the well-preserved medieval buildings that Bamberg earned its UNESCO title. Sounded like a good place to spend a day, so off we went.

We headed off with only a few stops along the way…

when we discovered the loud banging noise was because we had neglected to put the gas cap back on…

Germany PART 2 043

when we spotted some storks cruising a field for nibbles.

Germany PART 2 053

Continuing on we drove into Bamberg, did our usual dumping of bags and headed out to explore.

The historical town is lovely. It being a holiday weekend coupled with glorious sun, the streets were packed with tourists.

Germany PART 2 074

As opposed to touring a lot of interior sites, we chose to simply walk around the three areas, beginning with the famous old Town Hall, which sits in the middle of the river.

Germany PART 2 059

Germany PART 2 062

Germany PART 2 071

Germany PART 2 064

Crossing to the island and walking through the avenue of stores (all closed due to the holiday) we found more modern bridges, one with lovers’ padlocks.
Germany PART 2 077

Circling around we spotted parent-child transportation vehicles :)

Germany PART 2 076

and a sign reminding us of one of our friends :)

Germany PART 2 075

With the sun setting, we ended the day knowing we had tomorrow for more walking and gawking.

DAY 18:  Sunday, November 2

When poking down the alleys we saw some brass plaques set in the cobblestones. Looking more closely we noticed names and dates.

Germany PART 2 069

These were the Solpersteine or stumbling stones. They’re called that because you’re meant to strumble or trip a bit and they’re brass so shoes polish them. These stumbling stones are placed where Holocaust victims lived and how they died. Earlier ones would describe a victim’s death as ‘perished’ but it’s been changed now to ‘murdered’. There are over 250,000 of these throughout Germany. Munich didn’t use them saying it was insulting to the people they’re suppose to memoralize because people are walking on them; however, I found the quiet notice moving and powerful.

With another beautiful day we decided to walk up one of the hills dominated by a large cathedral. Founded by Heinrich II (Henry II) St. Peter’s and St. George’s Cathedral has the only Vatican-approved burial north of the Alps (Clemens II’s tomb is there), but the Cathedral was closed for visitors. It still made for a nice walk around part of the old wall.

Germany PART 2 091

Germany PART 2 093

Germany PART 2 097

After climbing up the hill and then down we went back into town and wandered around the riverfront and side streets.

We enjoyed the modern sculptures, both those used as playgrounds

Germany PART 2 102

and one with a slight Mona Lisa smile.

Germany PART 2 108

Lunch was composed of our other street -ood option when taking a break from sausages and no Turkish Doners are around…

Germany PART 2 104

For dinner we decided to try a restaurant rated as offering the best burger around. We ended up sitting at a table with four young students, three finishing their teaching degree and one working on his PHD in engineering. The waitress warned us it would take 1.5 hours to be served, but we were enjoying the conversation (and the beer, although not Bamberg’s smoked beer) so didn’t care.

Sharing that time with those young folk (Anne, Viki, Michael and Moritz)

P1030501-3

was one of the highlights of our trip. We spoke of politics and one student exclaimed, ‘in my program there are people from Cuba, France, Canada, England, Russia, United States and we share meals, discuss events, and we all get along just fine’.

It was a wonderful way to end our stay in Bamberg.

DAY 19:  Monday, November 3

Instead of driving straight through to Berlin we decided to stop in Wittenberg where Martin Luther lived and preached. This city was one of our briefest stops yet one of the most impactful because (1) we were able to focus on a singular person and (2) that person was so much more intriguing than we would have thought.

Germany PART 2 115

Unfortunately, the one museum (Martin Luther’s former home, now a museum) was closed but we were still able to see the church where he use to preach (the other famous one to which he nailed his 95 theses was being renovated for the 500th anniversary in 2017).

Germany PART 2 123

Germany PART 2 124

Further down the street in the Market Square, two statues stood:

one of Martin Luther (1483-1546),

Germany PART 2 127

the other of his sidekick, Philipp Melanchton (1497-1560).

Germany PART 2 127

Melanchthon was a brilliant university professor who helped Luther translate the Bible into German. He was valued so highly that when he threatened to leave Wittenberg, the ruler, Frederich the Wise, bribed him to stay by arranging Melanchthon’s marriage to the mayor’s daughter. Evidently, that was quite a coup for, in addition to not being wealthy, Melanchthon was sickly and extremely unattractive.

Doesn’t look so bad to me.

Philipp-Melanchthon-1537

Continuing down to the street we came to the church where Luther had preached. It definitely had the feel of a Protestant house of worship due to not having a lot of flourishes hanging about.

Germany PART 2 131

Germany PART 2 144

I didn’t know too much about Luther but what little I’ve learned is fascinating:  enjoyed the good ole life practicing law in Erfurt until caught in a thunder storm; he promised the patron saint of miners (he came from a large mining town and his father was involved with the industry) St. Anna (who also just happened to be Virgin Mary’s mama) he’d become a priest if he survived; must have been some storm for he became a monk.

A visit to Rome in 1510 as part of his monastery’s delegation really made Luther think twice about his profession. The corruption he witnessed in the Vatican including the selling of indulgences to the wealthy (allowing them to buy their way into heaven) got him thinking.

Once back in Germany, he transferred to Wittenberg, earned his doctorate in theology,  and began teaching. Soon, his lectures were packed as he began to question the role of priests as religious authority and obtaining salvation through deeds; in short, it came down to the Bible is THE religious authority versus some men dressed in red suits and you can’t buy your way into heaven, your faith earns your place up in the starry blue sky. Can’t you hear those  cathedrals’  walls cracking?

With Luther spouting his philosophy, he was beginning to cause quite a schism amidst the rich and poor. Pope Leo X ain’t too happy. Finally by 1521 the guy in Rome had had enough and excommunicated Luther. Well, Luther escaped, thanks to the local Duke’s friendship, hiding in the Wartburg Castle, and began his ten-year translation of the Bible into German. Luther, also, had enough followers that carrying him back to Rome for a barbecue wouldn’t have been popular.

Meanwhile others had taken up his preachings causing major disruption. His championing of religious freedom led to the desire for less restrictions in other areas of life (politically, economically). Voila,  the 1525-1524 Peasants War, which also included nobles looking for an opportunity to change the political landscape. Luther’s influence was such that local officials asked him to intervene. He tried and actually, when he feared the total overthrow of Church (his church) and State, he urged authorities to crush the rebellion. They did, brutally in some areas; but, this war did set the stage for the Thirty Years War 100 years later.

Back to Luther, he came out of retirement and took up his preaching again in Wittenberg. Together with Melanchthon, they completed the translation of the Bible to the common language. He also married a former nun, Katharina von Bora, in 1525, made children (six) and was good friends with the painter Lucas Cranach the Elder, the court painter for Frederick III the Wise, Elector of Saxony (there were seven of these prominent positions that carried tons of authority).

Cranach the Elder was also the only artist Luther allowed to paint his and his family’s portraits. In Luther’s church we saw several of Cranach’s paintings.

Germany PART 2 129

Germany PART 2 132

Cranach the Elder wasn’t shy about supporting Luther’s cause as witnessed by one of the paintings showing the Catholic Church’s priests and bishops pulling up all the good work the Lutherites (on the right) had carefully planted in a garden with the Pope holding out his hand for payment.

Germany PART 2 139

But the one that really fascinated me was where it truly transported me back in time as kids will be kids. Check out the painting below. Theology students would scrawl their names after their theology exams:  if they passed, it was on the side of the angels; if not, the side with the devils. One of his sons who did fail contributed to the graffiti. Fortunately, his legal studies ended in a better result.

Germany PART 2 135

What’s a real bummer is Luther began his religious quest preaching religious tolerance for the Jews. He supported Jews, encouraging them to revolt agains the Catholic Church; but, when they weren’t converting to his church, he turned against them. Hmmmm, anyone see some double standard here? He became a rabid anti-semetic and an ugly one at that, as witnessed by a sculpture sitting atop his church wall.

Germany PART 2 147

Today, the sculpture is countered with a thoughtful one placed in the church yard below the nasty one along with an olive tree from Israel.

Germany PART 2 149

Germany PART 2 151

Germany PART 2 146

At this point, our Luther tour had to end in order to make our car rental return time in Berlin. We hightailed it back to our car but not before passing some of the Stumbling Stones

Germany PART 2 155

and picking up one of our most favorite lunches.

Germany PART 2 152

Next stop BERLIN!

Where to begin? PART III

DAY 11:  Sunday, October 26

From sublime to horrific, that was our journey as we left the idyllic lakeside village of Meersburg and traveled towards Dachau, one of Germany’s first concentration camps sited NW of Munich. Hitler opened this camp to house political prisoners in 1933. Dachau soon evolved into a death camp for anyone who opposed the new chancellor or didn’t meet his and his cronies’ vision of the perfect Aryan.

Throughout our travels here both Max and I were impressed with Germany’s refusal to hide the Nazis atrocities. Instead, Germany has used these camps and other sites not only as memorials to those who lost their lives during Hitler’s rise and fall from power, but also as teaching institutions. Everywhere we went there were German students, on school trips or individual tours, learning about this despicable past. It would be as if someone turned a plantation into a physical course of U.S.’s treatment of African Americans or a reservation becoming a history lesson on how we systematically destroyed the indigenous American Indians’ lifestyle.  Germany’s past became a stark reminder of what one should never forget:  man’s inhumanity.

Walking from the visitor’s center towards the camp, we saw the SS Training Camp on our left, chilling in realizing it was a school for cruelty. Turning to our right an iron gate, with the same, sinister and duplicitous words displayed at Auschwitz-“work will set you free”, greets you.

 

Germany PART 1 592

A plaque at this entrance acknowledges the long, awaited liberation in 1945.

Germany PART 1 591

You want to dwell on these thankful words for, once inside, your mind is overtaken by the story of Dachau excellently captured and taught by the 13-room exhibit.

Once you’ve entered the compound you’re faced with rows of ghost barracks off to your left with the crematorium at the end, the special prison to your immediate right, and at 2pm, the building housing the fact-filled panels and documents about this concentration camp. Below, Max is standing on the former roll call grounds.

Germany PART 1 615

For over two hours we slowly walked through the rooms covering the torturous histories of those imprisoned here. As with almost every museum here, we were overwhelmed with details and facts. Several caused me to think ‘if only’…

…Georg Elser succeeded.

 

Germany PART 1 607Germany PART 1 606

… or the outside world acted on Hans Beimer’s words.

Germany PART 1 596Germany PART 1 600

However, similar to the infamous Red Cross report on Theresienstadt in Czech Republic, many people and organizations were fooled and/or closed their eyes:

Germany PART 1 598

Room after room, these panels described the horrors and ugliness experienced in this camp. No less chilling was walking into some of the cells for special prisoners and trying to imagine the fear and desperation when one heard keys turning in the lock. I couldn’t. My mind just can’t comprehend how anyone survived this experience.

Germany PART 1 604

A 1968 sculpture by a Holocaust survivor serves as another brutal reminder of where you are and what was done to too many innocent people.

index

Germany PART 1 612

After the morning’s somber atmosphere and travel through a dark era, the afternoon was going to be the exact opposite, beginning with a visit to Munich’s large and famous Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall.

We were staying right downtown, about a 20-minute walk from the center. Our route once we left the hotel was a straight shot, taking us to Marienplatz, the main square. Since it was close to 5:00 pm, we looked up at the New Town Hall (constructed starting 1867) along with everyone else.

Germany PART 1 617

The building hosted a glockenspiel dating from 1908, which performs at 11:00 am, noon and, in May-October, 5:00 pm.

Germany PART 1 618

On the last chime we began the hunt for the Hofbrauhaus. Fortunately, it didn’t take us long to locate this beer hall known for its oompah music, buxom waitresses and tourists. In spite of knowing we were at a place locals probably never set foot in, we enjoyed the spirit and enthusiasm everyone exhibited as they (and, we with them) sampled some of Munich’s beer. Alas, no buxom waitress served us, but the beer tasted just as grand. And, I couldn’t resist one of their pretzels that obviously don’t come in a dainty size.

Germany PART 1 624

Germany PART 1 627

Germany PART 1 629

On the walk home we noticed a line of folk crowded alongside a building. It was only when we looked at the signage did we realize we could have been in any large city around the world and seen the same image-people taking advantage of free wifi outside an Apple store.

Germany PART 1 635

DAY 12: Monday, October 27

Knowing we had some walking ahead of us, we hopped the subway, called U-Bahns and S-Bahns, the latter being commuter railways.

Germany PART 1 637

We felt our first nips of cold air when touring Munich giving us the first true feel of fall since we left England early October. The sun, too, was hiding but we still managed to walk around Munich checking out some of its lovely green space, such as the manicured park, the Hofgarten,

Germany PART 1 639

and the largest city park on the Continent, the English Garden (designed by an American in 1789). If it had been a different time of year, we might have joined any  skinny-dipping locals who do enjoy a summer swim and sun-bath along the river’s banks.

Germany PART 1 638

In addition to German’s investment in green energy via solar panels and wind, they also put their money where their legs are. I can’t tell you how many bikes we dodged, or they dodged us, as we strolled around Munich and later, Berlin. They and their riders came in all shapes and sizes, and I must admit I would have loved to jump on one myself to tour this city.

Germany PART 1 640

Let me say, too, the bicyclists weren’t shy about ensuring their side of the sidewalk designated for bikes were just that, just for bikes. In addition to looking out for car traffic, we now had bike wheels to avoid as well. Made for some interesting walks on crowded routes.

One of the main sites in central Munich is the Residenz, the royal family’s residence from the 14th to 19th century. Munich came about in the 12th century thanks to Henry the Lion and the town’s siting (there it is again-location, location, location) at the crossroads of the salt trade, between Augsburg and Salzburg. Henry built his own bridge over the River Isar after destroying a rival’s. The bridge happened to be by a monastery full of monks, hence the name Munchen. Another 100 years go by and an ambitious merchant family, the Wittelsbachs, take over the town.

Another 100 years and this same family indulge their architectural fantasies by slowly constructing a 90-room home. Building began in the 1300s and continued into the 1800s only to be bombed and later rebuilt after Word War II.

And, boy, did they like fancy stuff. I haven’t seen a lot of palaces but the amount of frou-frou, rococo trimmings made my head spin.

Germany PART 1 672

Germany PART 1 665

Germany PART 1 659

After awhile the rooms all started to blend into one kaleidoscope of richness, and we fast-forwarded the audio guide, especially when the voice began explaining the glories of a table leg.

However, some displays were definitely worth gawking at:

The Antiquarium (mid-1500s):  the banquet hall with busts of Roman rulers (nothing like displaying a statue of Caesar to legitimize one’s own rule…) and paintings, including 120 of Bavarian villages used by historians today for landscape authenticity.

Germany PART 1 652

Germany PART 1 646

The Red Room (1740):  contains miniature copies of most famous paintings of the day, created with one-hair brushes (FYI, coral red was the most royal of colors in Germany).

Germany PART 1 675

Ancestral Gallery of the Wittelsbach Family (1740s):  a hall of faces beginning with portraits of Charlemagne and Ludwig IV, both HREs (Holy Roman Emperors) culminating in a huge family tree.

Germany PART 1 679

Once through these rooms, we came to a fork where we could take the longer tour, i.e., even MORE rooms. Both Max and I quickly joined those making a beeline for the exit. The ‘short’ tour was quite enough, thank you very much.

And, as if we didn’t get our fill, we still stopped by the adjacent rooms showcasing the Treasury. Whoo-whee, talk about jewels.

For me, the best Treasury I’ve ever toured was one where it was chronologically displayed, starting with Charlemagne’s crown, globe, and scepter and ending with Napoleon I’s son’s crib. Not only was it easy to follow a linear timeline but also more compelling when items were attached to an individual. Imagining the person who owned or wore the treasure makes the piece more vibrant.

Here, they didn’t do that, so it was a bit confusing. Yet, I can’t say it wasn’t still fascinating. I still like to look at sparkles and exquisite designs… just ask Max :)

Kings and queens love those Saints’ bones, and they have the reliquaries to prove it. Munich, evidently, has more relics than any other city outside of Rome. With Bavaria being the Catholic bastion against the rebellious Protestants, the Munchens (locals) managed to attract tons of these religious icons; and, one of the most beautiful reliquaries I’ve ever seen, not that I go fossil hunting for bits and pieces of dead religious folk, is the jeweled case of St. George slaying that darn dragon (below). It supposedly contained fragments of this said saint.

Fashioned with over 2,000 precious gems, the helmet even lifts up to show, guess who? the ivory face of a Wittelsbach duke. The best tidbit is Pope John Paul II declared dear, dead George a legend, so whose bones dost lie in said jeweled box?…

I think if I were living back then I’d build a house next to a cemetery and start a reliquary business.

Germany PART 1 691

Germany PART 1 693

Some other noteworthy treasures (to me) were…

the crown Napoleon gave to the Wittelsbachs in appreciation for surrendering in the early 1800s (the little guy then ‘thanked’ the HRE by demoting him to King and giving him this flashy crown; it was never worn because soon after Bavaria went anti-Napoleon with the rest of Europe. So much for thank-yous).

Germany PART 1 699

Madame Pompadour’s ink set, which is fascinating due to its historical trail of famous owners.

Germany PART 1 677

Germany PART 1 676

Enough already, out we go to fresh air and the common plebes such as ourselves. Time to eat.

But, before we did, we managed to poke our noses into St. Peter’s, Munich’s oldest church. We’re glad we did as the church ceiling was filled with floating white doves. Stomachs grumbled, so that was the extent of our touring this site.

Germany PART 1 707

A few blocks away is the open-air market, Viktualienmarkt. Although I can’t read German, some of the names are recognizable once you start assigning meanings to part of the words, and this one, similar to the English word for ‘victual’, made sense. Better yet, it lived up to its reputation for there were tons of eating options.

Because there were so many tasty lunch treats, we ended up going for a simple hotdog and stood munching with locals, all of us bundled up against the cold.

Germany PART 1 712

Germany PART 1 713

After chomping down and an unfortunate pigeon visit, we began our walk home.

DAY 13: Tuesday, October 28

The hills were alive with the sound of music, or so we hummed to ourselves as we drove south towards the Austrian-German border. We didn’t expect to see too many alps considering the day became foggier and foggier the closer we came to the border, but it was nice to escape the city and buildings. (I don’t know about you, but we get museumed-out; so, a respite from feeling an obligation to see famous art and architecture is always an R&R day for us.)

Within an hour or so we arrived at Tegernsea, a village hugging the shoreline of a small lake only to snap photos of ‘Alps in Fog’.

Germany PART 1 718

However, undeterred we continued a circular route (remember, this is a Max and Lynnie drive) now gearing up for some other Bavarian sites.

And, we’re glad we did for the sun started peeking out,

Germany PART 1 719

enabling us to stop for more photo ops along a river.

Germany PART 1 720

Then, in spite of a GSP, we crossed into  Austria (where you aren’t suppose to drive without a special permit, one we didn’t have).

Germany PART 1 721

Quickly exiting, we got back to the ‘right’ side and drove west towards Disneyland’s castle, Neuschwanstein, stopping for a coffee in a small village that looked charming but where locals glanced at us suspiciously.  The coffees took for-EVER to get in spite of being one of the two small tables occupied. As we finally raised ours to sip, Max noticed a poor cyclist sitting at an outside table who probably is still waiting for his beverage…

Germany PART 1 730

Back in the car we followed the GPS and paper map to Mad King Ludwig II’s castles. This king got a bad rap. Yes, he was a weak king, opting to indulge in pleasures versus politics-both his northern neighbor (Prussia) and southern (Austria) were domineering; but, he wasn’t necessary mad as in loco-mad. If it wasn’t for him, Disneyland’s iconic castle could have been less spectacular. What Ludwig II (1845-86) did was build romantic castles, using the latest technology:  Neuschwanstein, in which he only lived 177 days after 17 years of construction; and, Hohenschwangau, his boyhood home and family hunting lodge. In 1886 he was declared mentally unfit (primarily due to his lack of interest in politics and his ability to spend lavishly on art and architecture), and two days later was found floating in a lake. A bit odd…

[Something I read later concerning Ludwig’s sexuality was extremely interesting:  For a brief period in Bavaria (1813 until the unification of Germany 1871) homosexuality wasn’t punishable. Compared to other industrialized countries, this was remarkable. Way to go, Bavaria!]

One would think it’d be easy to find these two, rather large landmarks, but no. No signs specifically said “Neuschwanstein”. We asked twice where it was only to find out we had driven by the sign, twice. That’s because the signs say “Konigsschlasser” for king’s castles.

We did find them as well as the first indication ‘we were there’ once we drove into a parking lot

Germany PART 1 739

but only hiked a bit to take a photo or two of Hohenschwangau (we had read other castle tours, like in Eltz and Meersburg, presented better ideas of castle-living).

Germany PART 1 738

Germany PART 1 740

On the way back to the main road we did spot an unusual site:  a para-glider out for an afternoon float.

Germany PART 1 746

Sun was shining, alps seen, castles viewed… time to head home for our last night in Munich.

DAY 14:  Wednesday, October 29

Continuing north along The Romantic Road from Munich, there was another site to see-Hitler’s Nurnberg. (Seems a bit odd to be on a route evoking love and happiness when one of the places is synonymous with Hitler.)

An excellent museum, the Nazi Documentation Center, was our destination. Sitting a bit on the outskirts, this center was located in part of Hitler’s unfinished Congress Hall and next to the Rally Grounds and Zeppelin Field.

index

Germany PART 1 758

Germany PART 1 763

(Just to remind us of how things change, right outside the center they were either putting up or taking down carnival tents.)

Germany PART 1 762

The Center attempts to explain how Nazism came to be through people’s fascination with and terror of this evil doctrine. The exhibit is set up as a walk through history beginning with World War I and ending with the allied victory of World War II. We saw footage of Leni Riefenstahl’s 1934 classic Triumph of the Will and listened to Germans describing life under Hitler, some as young girls enthralled with the Nazism pageantry and others as survivors of concentration camps.

Germany PART 1 754

Photographs, newspaper clippings and propaganda materials filled the brick walls encasing us in the rise and fall of Nazism. Some we recognized, such as Sophie Scholl, who was guillotined for her involvement in the non-violent resistance group, the White Rose. You can’t escape the feeling of terror so many felt at the hands of this regime.

Germany PART 1 756

Once outside we ended up at Zeppelin Field, the site of mass rallies and raised-arm salutes. It was a cool, dreary day, one well-suited for viewing some of Hitler’s monstrosities.

Germany PART 1 765

Germany PART 1 766

Germany PART 1 764

The Americans blew up the oversized Nazi rooster (eagle) sitting atop the columned backdrop after the 1945, April 21st ceremony celebrating the US victory.

Germany PART 1 768

Just this year engineers have been analyzing the construction. Potentially, there’s a ten-year plan to preserve the Zeppelin Grandstand and Field, symbols of Hitler’s rule. As Max stated, compared to the Coliseum built over 2,000 years earlier, Nurnberg’s buildings designed by Albert Speer to glorify Hitler’s National Socialism certainly didn’t last long. Thank god.

Germany PART 1 771

Germany PART 1 769

A sigh of relief escaped our lips when we were back in the car. We were leaving this ugly reminder behind, replacing it with another step back in history, actually quite a few steps. Better yet, our next stop was like frolicking in a festive snow globe filled with sparkles.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to begin? PART II

DAY 5: Monday, October 20
It had been difficult to find a room in the Black Forest area, so we had ended up in an impersonal building used by out-of-town politicians who need a bed, a working area, and a kitchenette. However, it was fine for doing our day trips, including our one foray into France’s Alsace region. And, most importantly, the receptionist who helped check us in and the one who checked us out couldn’t have been friendlier, so the folk there get A+.

Germany PART 1 297
Our ‘Apart Hotel’ was located in Kehl, basically a German suburb, connected to its lovely French neighbor, Strasbourg. Taking a fifteen-minute bus ride to cross the river then hopping on tram once on the French side, we rode into downtown, enjoyed a bagel for breakfast (not as good as ones at home) and walked to the cathedral, which was sited where a Roman temple once stood.

Germany PART 1 237

Construction began in 10th century and continued in various stages through the 14th century including impressive stained glass windows.

Germany PART 1 249

Germany PART 1 250

Germany PART 1 251

Unique at that time for only having one tower, it was considered the highest building in Europe (466 feet).

230px-Strasbourg_Cathedral

Germany PART 1 240

Strasbourg also features  Grand Ile, located between two arms of River Ill.  Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Center, this small area features streets and buildings from medieval and post-medieval times. It also was woven into the modern city fairly seamlessly,

Germany PART 1 271

Germany PART 1 264

Germany PART 1 290

Germany PART 1 269

including a swing bridge connecting the island to the mainland,

Germany PART 1 268

making our day’s tour an easy and time-travel walk with a time-out to enjoy the local beverages.

Germany PART 1 241

Reversing our morning commute by tram, then bus, then walking to our hotel, we planned the next day’s event. We even prepped for tomorrow’s Baden-Baden experience by walking around naked in our room. Better to try it in private before we doff all in public…
DAY 6: Tuesday, October 21
Today was THE DAY. In other words, it was the day Max and Lynnie would prance around in their birthday suits in front of complete strangers (hopefully strangers) and pretend nothing was extraordinary about baring all.

Germany PART 1 308

Germany PART 1 306
We arrived and the kind receptionist said ‘you don’t need anything except this electronic wristband’, which recorded us as having paid for the full treatment including two mini-massages: a soap & brush and a cream.

Jitterly we nonchalantly strolled up the stairs to the mixed bathing side (certain days the genders have separate bathing areas). Reaching the locker room, we used our wristband to push through the turnstile. A male attendant in hospital whites greeted us. His being clad in clinical attire helpfully provided a medical sensitivity to knowing soon we’d be standing front and center nude. He gave us a towel (for sitting on the hot benches in the fist two saunas, not for draping) and said proceed to the showers once we’re ready. We looked at one another, gulped, said ‘what the hell’, and off everything went without another thought. Well, there were a few thoughts such as my silent screaming mantra “I can do this. I CAN do this. I can DO this. I can do THIS! Yes! I CAN DO THIS!.” as the movie theme for ROCKY played in my head.

Since there are excellent descriptions of this, I’ll link one here.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/fashion/at-the-friedrichsbad-baths-in-germany.html?_r=0

But, just know, it wasn’t crowded, it was progressively easier with each of the 17 steps of steam, dunk, massage as the time wore on, and we’d do it again, which some of you may recall we did when the opportunity presented itself.

And, for anyone contemplating this invigorating and relaxing experience, one of the many benefits is you’ll never have a wedgie from a bathing suit.
DAY 7: Wednesday, October 22
In spite of waking to an overcast and cool day, we decided to go with our original plan of touring the Black Forest. We had two destinations: the German Clock Museum in Furtwangen and then, are you ready?… Schwarzwalder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof in Gutach. The first provided a chronological history of the timepiece including, of course, cuckoo clocks. The latter, an open museum of how life was way back when in the Black Forest.

The landscape was hilly with switchbacks on narrow lanes that would then flow into an open field populated with neatly outlined farms composed of some cows, hay bales, and scrupulously, orderly homes. The architecture, nor disciplined landscape, rarely varied. Even in the rather dour and now rainy weather it was intriguing. I felt like I was in a German Lego-land.

Germany PART 1 353

One of the loveliest towns we strolled around was Staufen. Considered a non-tourist town in spite of its shops and manicured streets, this gem featured a picturesque market square with stalls selling honey, herbs, and wine,

Germany PART 1 311

Germany PART 1 313

little canals (originally created as fire protection),

Germany PART 1 309

and plenty of Germans from nearby who come here to shop the local stores.

Germany PART 1 323

This town is also known as the home of Johann Georg Faust. He was brought to Staufen to produce gold for the town and managed to die from an explosion when conducting one of his chemical experiments. This true-life character was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s inspiration for his story about a man who makes a pact with the devil, who, in turn, breaks Faust’s neck.

Germany PART 1 315

While climbing to a bit higher altitude on our way to Furtwangen, the rain turned to snow.

Germany PART 1 333

Unfortunately, there was an accident ahead of us for soon we were stopped in a line by a waving policeman with ambulances rushing by us.

Germany PART 1 330

Germany PART 1 334

Informing each car as he strode down the line it would be awhile, we decided to cancel our cuckoo plans and head back down the hill. We still had the open-air museum we could see.
Back down the hill and onto another route, we located the museum outside Gutach. It wasn’t quite raining but it wasn’t not raining either. But, we were here and determined to tour the buildings.

Vogtsbauernof means ‘farmhouse of the district governor’. The original farmhouse sitting on the property was constructed in 1612.

Germany PART 1 352

Surrounding the main home were the laborer’s cottage,

Germany PART 1 346

grain-grinding mill,

Germany PART 1 351

saw mill (this pic is for Rod and Joanne who built one on Sleeth Island in Canada),

Germany PART 1 349

and the bakery and distillery serving as a communal kitchen.
By now it was definitely raining, in fact, pouring. Not the best time to tour an outdoor exhibit. Yet, we dashed through to the various buildings, sheltering in and under the eaves, seeing just enough to understand,

Germany PART 1 340

no, I really wouldn’t want to have to live back then. With a final walk jog to the exit, we said we were glad we went but, basically, for the time we spent, we had just made a nice donation to the museum’s coffers.

Back to Kehl we went fortified with our gummy bears, a nutritional food always reminding me of our friend Shawn :)

Germany PART 1 328

DAY 8: Thursday, October 23
Excitedly we packed up and exited our Apart Hotel room. Our destination was one Becky and Gary had recommended:  Meersburg, a small historical town on one of Germany’s biggest lakes.
Not wanting to leave the Black Forest without seeing the cuckoo clocks, we decided to go by way of Furtwangen and its museum.
Having researched the various kinds of cuckoo clocks, we were lavishly rewarded with an overwhelming history not only of the cuckoo but any and all timepieces created by man. But, my focus was on the birdie, and I had discovered the Black Forest was the origin of the cuckoo clock in spite of any Swiss saying otherwise (as per my readings anyway).

6278M-285x424

The idea of using a house as the main component arose from an 1850 contest. A railway architect, Friedrich Eisenlohr, modeled his on a railway house changing the look of these clocks. Thanks to the Grand Tour era of wealthy tourists toodling around the romantic roads of Germany, the cuckoo clocks became extremely popular. Now you can purchase not just mechanical ones (requiring winding) but also quartz models, which are easier to ensure the bird doesn’t stop tooting.

After an hour of listening to the tick-tock, cuckoos, and generally inner workings of hundreds of clocks, it was time to leave.

Arriving in Meersburg we found ourselves in a lovely little town beside Lake Constance, one of Germany’s largest lakes, one also bordered by Austria and Switzerland.

Germany PART 1 362

Once in Meersburg we dropped our bags at our inn, which was on one of the main squares in this historic town, and realized just how happy we were to be out of our cold, corporate room and in a warm, homey inn.

Germany PART 1 490

Germany PART 1 487

DAY 9: Friday, October 24
Waking up to a beautiful day, we found a few sites to explore, mainly the castle peering over the lake atop a rocky outcrop.

This castle was the most impressive one we toured, primarily due to the number of rooms available for viewing (36) and furnishings. Meersburg Castle was founded by a Merovingian King, Dagobert the First, in the 7th century.

You really got a feel for how castle living must have been. One stone room opened to another,

Germany PART 1 365

Germany PART 1 364

Germany PART 1 395

 

with living quarters furnished with authentic, period pieces.

Germany PART 1 371

In the staff kitchen, we could still smell the soot from over a thousand years’ use.

Germany PART 1 400

Large tiled stoves were the heaters (which we had seen in other castles.

Germany PART 1 368

The well (reaching over 91 feet down to the lake) was protected inside the castle, no surprise given the possibility of a seige.

Germany PART 1 375

A 16th century addition served as a room for fencing and other military exercises. It now houses weapons and suits of armor, with the black one below used during the dreaded Thirty Years War 1618-1648.

Germany PART 1 384

Germany PART 1 382

[This war occurred thanks once again to religion as well as politics. Due to the spreading of Lutheranism from the early 1500s, Protestantism was a way out from the Pope’s and Holy Roman Emperor’s dominating rule. With the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 each local noble could choose his realm’s religion. This option divided the land loosely into several different regions, with the north and east (later Prussia) picking Protestantism and the south (Bavaria and Austria) and west remaining Catholic. Let events steep for a bit, and, boom, religious and political differences exploded drawing in all of Europe. When the Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648 over one-third of Germany’s population had died. Today this war is number 17 of the top 100 list of the bloodiest manmade events. Wouldn’t you think after all this time someone would get it right and realize respect and toleration is what fuels personal well-being and growth? How stupid can we be?  Rhetorical question.]

In the guards’ mess hall, they displayed one of the drinking cups. No thanks.

Germany PART 1 403

This fortified castle was complete with its own blacksmith or armorer

Germany PART 1 396

and, dungeon where they found writings on the wall from unfortunate prisoners.

Germany PART 1 426

Germany PART 1 419

As per the castle brochure, some of this reads:

“Good fellow, do not grumble – would you want it differently, your life!”

Germany PART 1 421

I found the 13th-16th century helmets worn for as a presentation prior to a medieval tournament mesmerizing, maybe I was envisioning Max on a white steed? He’d look great, wouldn’t he ? :)

Germany PART 1 430

Germany PART 1 429

Germany PART 1 431

Germany PART 1 432

Germany PART 1 433

The castle also featured  tournament practice boards from the 12th century.

Germany PART 1 436

Surrounded by a moat (now dry) with a water mill sitting right next to it, the castle was also home to one of Germany’s greatest poets, Annette von Droste-Hulshoff. On your wanderings through the castle, you step inside the rooms she occupied when visiting Lake Constance and where she died on May 24, 1848.

Germany PART 1 392

Germany PART 1 390
Completing our castle exploration we decided to once again do, as the locals coin it, textile-free bathing. There was a spa on the outskirts of town, easy walking distance from our hotel. This time, however, one had a choice of using the thermal, indoor-outdoor pool with suits…

Image18173_618

or the saunas and dunking pool (and lake) without. We did both. And, let me just say, it was packed! At one point, we backed out of one of the many saunas (total of five altogether) when faced with over twenty bodies’ parts facing us as we went in. There wasn’t any room to sit. Fortunately, there were at least two others close by, which were only occupied by two or three sauna-ites.
After two hours of dry toasting, cold showering, warm pooling (with one exception when we went down to the lake to test the temp… only went up to knees), we felt totally relaxed and refreshed and very German.

Germany PART 1 464

Slowly making our way back to the main part of town we passed some vineyards

Germany PART 1 458

and a tractor-load of tourists enjoying the sun (tempting but no),

Germany PART 1 457

and then up the hill, we wrote a card to Max’s mom,

Germany PART 1 453

and then stopped for him to try on a hat that seemed odd to find here but appropriate due to his alma mater.

Germany PART 1 452

Deciding to continue enjoying the outdoors, we got a bottle of wine , some cheese and crackers and found a park bench looking over the lower street and lakeside. And, a blimp for company. Life is good.

 

Germany PART 1 469

Germany PART 1 466

Germany PART 1 474

Germany PART 1 482

DAY 10: Saturday, October 25

With Switzerland tantalizing close we opted for a road trip across the border. First taking the  short ferry ride (which Max thought was extremely efficient and of excellent value – 12 Euros includes the car)

Germany PART 1 493

Germany PART 1 503

Germany PART 1 491

You can take a man off a boat but the boy never leaves…

Germany PART 1 498

Germany PART 1 501

Germany PART 1 499

we exited into the town of Konstranz then drove towards the border.

Since drivers have to purchase a special pass (vignette) in order to use the Swiss highways we decided to do back roads. The problem was we sometimes ended up on an entrance ramp requiring one of these road tax certificates. The fine is hefty, which meant, yes, we did reverse and do some quick ueys to get back to our meandering lanes.

I can’t say Switzerland was much different from Germany. The landscape mirrored a Villeroy and Boch (a joint, French & German manufacturer from 1748) china pattern, one depicting rural scenes of quilted farms and gingerbread towns.

711+aiA9O-L._SL1024_

Germany PART 1 505

One notable site listed to see was Europe’s largest waterfall, the Rhein Falls in Neuhausen. Although not as high or broad as Niagara Falls, this waterfall’s spectacular vista is due to the force of the water pushing itself through a narrow opening. Over 15,000 years ago the Rhine River was forced into a new riverbed, and the falls are the transition point between hard chalk and soft gravel.

We met some traveling Londoners when walking from the parking lot who warned us of theft.

Germany PART 1 553

So, the five of us banded together to take the pathway to the main parking lot where we joined the throng of visitors. Then, picture taking, including the first time (but not the last) we’d seen this apparatus (talk about ensuring you get yourself in a pic).

Germany PART 1 573

Germany PART 1 562

Germany PART 1 556

Germany PART 1 561

Germany PART 1 571

Germany PART 1 572

Germany PART 1 576

After a few sprays, pics, and good-byes, the two of us headed back to our car and home to Germany.

Along the way we stopped at Stein am Rhein, a well-preserved medieval town where the Rhine meets Lake Constance. It’s enchanting although it felt surprisingly (to us) deserted for a Saturday; but, we enjoyed strolling through the market square and looping back to our car via the river.

What really catches one’s eye are the murals.  We didn’t see the ones in the abbey that Abrosius, the son of Hans Holbein the Elder and the older brother of Hans Holbein the Younger, painted along with Thomas Schmid, but the exterior of the half-timbered houses presented a glorious display of colorful figures.

Germany PART 1 513

Germany PART 1 511

 

Germany PART 1 521

Germany PART 1 527

St. Georg, the dragon slayer, was the patron, and his motif was everywhere, including the town’s trash bins

Germany PART 1 552

and manhole covers (Ellen, this is for you).

Germany PART 1 509

There was some other interesting wall art, much more recent than the other murals.

Germany PART 1 539

Germany PART 1 542

One of my favorite photos of my husband was snapped here.

Germany PART 1 531

And, then, there was one that exemplifies a sad commentary on today’s life:

Germany PART 1 540

Crossing back into Germany we headed for Meersburg.

Germany PART 1 581

We decided on a take-away pizza as our self-service room service as well as, after much thought and consideration, a Black Forest cuckoo clock  (No fears, it won’t be chirping on Juanona).

Germany PART 1 585

Tomorrow we start our first city stop, Munich.