Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Monday, 29 June 2015


After last weekend's agitated bicentenary Waterloo battle celebrations I wanted to see how the Hougoumont Farm looks without the thousands of visitors.

The new statues which had been unveiled by Prince Charles the week before, stand now at the entrance of the court yard. Inside there are also benches to rest.

Somebody had put a poppy wreath in front of the door, and my friend just had time to call back Charlie who had already lifted his leg !

Inside is a new visitor center and of course you have to pay now to see the farm.

A new (??) or now cleaned plaque was cemented in the wall

I saw the two still standing trees around which the battle took place and you can still see the impact of the bullets from 200 years ago.

At the Lion's mound the tribunes for 60.000 spectators were partly dismantled.

and a new memorial had been placed.

On Sunday Ilona and I went to the Lion mound, she hadn't seen the new site yet.

Some French soldiers were apparently nostalgic, because they had come back for the weekend.

The new visitor center in the underground Memorial museum was now open for all tourists.

 The old one is closed, but the old sign of what you should visit is still there although it is now completely outdated.

We met with Nicole and her daughter on the terrace of the new restaurant and watched the one week too late French soldiers parading by.

There were a lot of tourists climbing up the 223 steps to the Lion and some youngsters were rolling down the hill, which of course is not allowed, but forbidden things are just fun.

We sat there in the sunshine and chatted with tourists from Vienna and the UK, there was a group of Chinese and many French and Belgian tourists too.

We had a lot of fun and finally returned home at 6 pm.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


Charlie is my friend Nicole's Golden Retriever and a love of a dog. He often brings us into hilarious situations.

We walked around the Hougoumont farm battle field, looked at the renovated farm and 

arrived at two still standing trees which had seen the bloody battle 200 years ago and were full of bullet holes from this time.

Charlie, as all dogs, loves trees. And discovered a 200 year old hole in it. Of course he had to look inside. You don't find such an old hole every day. Now the entrance was quite narrow and Charlie is not the slimmest dog.

He tried to squeeze himself inside, and Nicole was very worried that he couldn't get out anymore and tried to pull him out by his tail. But Charlie is very stubborn, she could pull as hard as possible, he didn't move, instead he tried even more to get inside. The smells in there must have been delicious.

and he made it ! He was in the hole and we stood outside ! We waited and waited, called and called, but there were so many interesting things to smell at, apparently Charlie was very interested in history !

After at least 15 min, he finally had enough and pushing himself out backwards, he managed to get out after a while ! Nicole was so relieved and I called him Houdini !

Friday, 26 June 2015


1. It rained cats and dogs the whole day when we started our sightseeing trip from Bad Breisig where my parents lived after their return to Germany when my father retired.

I showed Ilona the apartment block in Bonn where I lived as a child. It had changed so much that I hardly recognized the area.

Nearby stands a bunker where in 1950 people lived, as the city was bombed at 80 % and there was an enormous lack on houses. I had to go inside there once when I was about 8 to bring a message to my mother's cleaning lady, and have never forgotten that awful place. So many families lived in there just in one room, and they cooked and there was no aeration and it stank terribly inside.

Today the bunker is still standing impossible to get rid of it, so what did they do to erase bad memories ? The bunker was painted in a light gray and on the top stand two turrets now, trees have been planted and those who don't know what it was could think it was a little fortress. Instead of the empty space around it, little caf├ęs and restaurants had been built and it didn't look at all anymore like the dreadful place I still had kept in my memories. The Bunker is now empty since the last people left end 1950.

2. On our way back we stopped at Remagen.

We wanted to see the famous bridge The bridge of Remagen which had also been the title of a movie.
At the end of WW II, in 1945, the troops of the American 1st Army approached Remagen and were surprised to find that a bridge was still standing.  After the U.S. forces captured the bridge, Germany tried to destroy it multiple times until it collapsed on March 17, 1945.  It was never rebuilt. The towers on the west bank were converted into a museum and the towers on the east bank are a performing art space. And from the bridge remains only what you see in the pictures above.

3. We also visited Ahrweiler.

Although the Ahrweiler City Gate and many other historical buildings were partially destroyed in WW II  during the advances of the Allies, the city looks real beautiful ! Many half timbered framed houses are still standing and are in an excellent state. I posed besides a fountain (which I didn't know) because the figure spat only from time to time and by jumping aside, I could just avoid a shower.

4. We wanted to see the Laacher See.

No way to approach it. Ilona helped a young lady to close the gate, and I could take some pictures from far. There was barbed wire all around.

I managed to go inside the camping place, but was quickly stopped by an unfriendly woman so I couldn't go further.

The view of the lake from an airplane.

The Laacher See is a volcanic caldera lake with a diameter of 2 km (1.2 mi), about 24 km (15 mi) northwest of Koblenz and 37 km (23 mi) south of Bonn, and is closest to the town of Andernach situated 8 km (5.0 mi) to the east on the river Rhine. It is in the Eifel mountain range, and is part of the East Eifel volcanic field within the larger Vulkaneifel. The lake was formed by a Plinian eruption approximately 12,900 years ago with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 6.

From the convent of Laach of which the abbey structure dates from between 1093 and 1177 I couldn't take a picture, impossible to go in. But at least we could see the farm just besides it.

5. On our way back in the middle of the countryside we suddenly saw this :

A shop which sold all kind of American Natives stuff. It looked so unrealistic in the middle of all fields.

On our way back to our Bed & Breakfast we stopped at the cemetary to visit my parent's grave.

The cimetary is on a hill and the view on the valley is very beautiful.

Bad Breisig where we stayed is full of half timber framed houses.

On this one the blue badges on this old toll house shows how far the water arrived when the Rhine floods. I have seen it once until the second badge.

Although the restaurants along the Rhine are flooded quite often, in no time they are functional again. They all were very nice and the food was also very good. Unfortunately we couldn't eat on the terrace, as it rained.

more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

Thursday, 25 June 2015


I don't like the word "French Fries" at all, because the French have nothing to do with the invention of the "French Fries" ! They were invented around 1680 in Wallonia, which is the French speaking part in Belgium. The other part spoke Flemish (Dutch).

The poors of Namur, Andenne and Dinant have used potatos when the river Meuse didn't have enough fish anymore. They cut potatoes in the shape of a small fish and fried them so they had the impression to eat fish !

This started around 1680.

Some people believe that the term "French" was introduced when British and American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I and consequently tasted Belgian fries. They supposedly called them "French", as it was the local language and the official language of the Belgian Army at that time, believing themselves to be in France. The term "French fries" was growing popular. But in fact the term was already used in America as early as 1899, in an item in Good Housekeeping which specifically references "Kitchen Economy in France": "The perfection of French fries is due chiefly to the fact that plenty of fat is used"

Being a little point on the map, for the foreign soldiers, Belgium apparently was located in France. Not surprising, lots of people know "Brussels" because of the European Union, but don't know that it is in Belgium.

Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday