Crossing the Pond – Part 2
My dream vacation was always to go to London, but now that I have been there and to Germany, I have changed my mind. I fell in love with Germany the minute I arrived in Frankfurt. Germany did not disappoint. The main purpose of this trip was to attend a wedding celebration party for my son and his new wife who is from Seligenstadt, Germany. My daughter-in-law’s parents picked us up at the airport and drove us to their town of Seligenstadt, about a half hour drive from Frankfurt. As we drove into this quaint village, my eyes just moved from one building to another. This village sits on the River Main. It is picturesque. I immediately noticed as we got into the city center that all the streets are cobblestone, the homes are quaint, and you feel like you are walking through a fairy tale town.
Seligenstadt was founded in the year 830. There were homes that are over 300 years old. They have been restored and modernized, but they have such unique architecture. I noticed that in Germany, you will see a very large Catholic church that stands above all the other structure. We stayed at an Airbnb and had a lovely hostess who tried her best to show us everything there. She was one of the few folks we encountered who did not speak English. We were there for four days, and we walked around and took in all the beauty of the town. I would go back there again.
In our few days there, we visited a couple castles, an ivory museum, and the biannual fair in the town, and we just walked around exploring this beautiful town. This just a glimpse of the photos I took.
One of the days there, Alex’s parent took us site seeing. We visited a couple castles. I did not realize how many castles are in Germany. Some are massive, and others smaller and on grounds that are well manicured and landscaped.
We stayed on for four days that included these great places to see, and for the wedding party for Ben and Alex. Then we moved on to Frankfurt to begin our tourist part of the vacation, with the first day taking a train to Cologne. It was Monday, and when we arrived we immediately saw the Dom, a huge cathedral that took over 600 years to build. It was free to go inside and see it’s beauty. Not only is it a church, it is also a burial ground for many who served the church. Their crypts are all around. We learned that on Mondays the historic museums are closed, and the only museum open was the Chocolate Museum. Oh what a shame! The Lindt Chocolate Company has a museum telling the history of chocolate manufactured in Germany. It was a lovely day to walk and to see the beauty of the town and the river.
The following day (Tuesday), we took the train to Nuremberg. I had read the book, “Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis.” I was hoping to see the prison and where the trials took place. The funny thing was that on Tuesdays most of the museums are closed in Nuremberg. Had we known this, we would have swapped days with Cologne so we could see the historical museums. On the other hand, the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds, which is a museum in Nuremberg, was open. It is in the north wing of the unfinished remains of the Congress Hall of the former Nazi party rallies. It documented the rise and fall of the German Nazi party under Adolf Hitler. It was a very sobering experience. After we toured the museum, we decided to walk and find Zeppelin Field where Hitler held his rallies. The staging area is enormous, and it is also quite sobering to realize the size and scope of this historical site. We then caught a bus to find one of the castles in Nuremberg. It was a bit of a challenge because the bus driver did not speak English, and he must have had a bad day. We showed him on a map where we wanted to go, but he was no help in letting us know our stop. Fortunately, someone on the bus spoke English and told us where to depart. He was the only unfriendly person we encountered in Germany. Everyone else was friendly and delightful.
On our last day in Germany we were given a special walking tour by Daniela. She was a young lady we met visiting with Alex’s family. She is dating Alex’s brother. Since she attends the university in Frankfurt, she offered to stop by and give us a tour. It was a contrast of new modern buildings against the old buildings. It was so scenic and such fun as she shared with us about this city. She took us to an authentic German restaurant for lunch—funny how it was hard to find German cuisine in Germany. There is no problem finding a hamburger and a Coca-Cola! Our tour with Daniela was the highlight to end our days in Germany.
Here are the observations of Germany that I jotted down while there:
- The villages are very clean.
- German people like to drink bubbly water. When I asked for what I consider regular drinking water, they called it “dead” water.
- The people in small villages do not look at you as you walk past.
- Most people in the villages either walk or ride bikes everywhere, no matter their age or their size.
- Nothing in the United States is old.
- In Germany, many people speak English, and in Frankfurt there are many billboards in English.
- The Germans eat a huge breakfast which may include cold cuts, cheese, big rolls, along with fruit.
- At restaurants, if you use a credit card, the waiter brings the credit card reader to the table to make the transaction. (That is a great idea).
I absolutely loved Germany. I wish I knew more words than the few simple words I learned as a child listening to my grandparents and my dad. I would love to take a riverboat cruise through Germany. In the meantime, I have many photos to look at and reminisce of the lovely time we had across the pond.