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. 

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Our Airbnb
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Our Airbnb
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One of the entrances to the city.
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The city center
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This is put up in the city center every May.
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The local pharmacy.

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These plaques we in the cobble stone on front of homes that had been the homes of Jewish people who were sent away by Nazi Germany. It honors these families.

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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.

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This lady is making a rope.
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It was fun to watch this magician. He had my daughter-in-law come up to assist with this trick. She looks like a pro! Too bad I didn’t understand a word that he said.
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A young lady with an owl.
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This carousal is powered by people.
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Why did Dennis and I giggle when we saw this sign? We are such children.
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Such a unique downspout to the gutter on one of the homes.
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The church bells were ringing and when I looked up, a family walked out with their baby in its baptismal dress. I had to capture this sweet moment.

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One of the homes with a moat.

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.

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This is the only time it rained on our whole vacation to England and Germany, and it lasted only a short time. We had perfect weather.

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.

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The Frankfurt train station is busy all times of the day.  Trains are coming in and out continually. Our first mishap was getting on the wrong train.  To make a long story short, the train turned around and returned us to the station just in the nick of time to board the correct train.
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Homes along the river as viewed from our train.
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The Dom in Cologne.  It i a huge tourist attraction.

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This is the tomb of Saint Engelbert the Martyr.  I found it fascinating that he is not lying in repose like the others in the cathedral.  His likeness is in a rather casual stance laying on his side.
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This church began building in 1248 (700 years before my birth)!  It took over 600 years to build. Look at the people up near the building to get a perspective of the height of this building.
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The pristine and colorful buildings along the Rhine.

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The Lindt Chocolate Museum.  It sits on a pier on the Rhine, showing the history of chocolate in Germany, along with an actual small chocolate factory, and free chocolate to taste.  During WWII, Hitler stopped all chocolate production.  When the allied troops came into Germany, they gave chocolate bars to the children.  The chocolate industry picked up again after the war.

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.

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This is the Nazi Documentation Center, the museum that tells about the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.

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This is the grandstand at Zeppelin Field where Hitler spoke to the throngs of soldiers and Hitler Youth.
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This grandstand is so huge.  My husband is standing behind the fenced speaker’s stand where Hitler would stand when he gave his speeches.  Look how tiny he looks against the massive size of this grandstand.
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A calm, beautiful site right next to the Documentation Center–what a contrast!
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One of the old castles in Nuremberg.

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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.  IMG_1359

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I am not good with heights, but this view of Frankfurt was awesome.  I would not get anywhere near the edge like Dennis did, but I was good looking from a distance and taking his photos overlooking the city.
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The Old Opera House.

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The Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
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A close up of the the decor on the Stock Exchange.
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We discovered this church on the tour, and I wanted to go in to see it.  What a beautiful structure.  This is what the Germans call the Protestant Church–we call it Lutheran.
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Across from City Hall.

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City Hall

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The padlocks of love as we walked the bridge over the river.
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Our authentic German restaurant

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.

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I loved seeing the airline people wash the windows of the plan before we left to go home.  The pilot does want good visibility!

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