26 Jun 2015

FRIDAY's FAVE FIVE

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.

25 Jun 2015

FRENCH FRIES ??


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

23 Jun 2015

HOLIDAYS AT THE RHINE

Ilona and I wanted to take some short holidays in Germany and as I hadn't been in the little town where my parents lived after my father's retirement since nearly 20 years we decided to go there. It is a beautiful old Spa town situated between Bonn and Coblenz.

I had booked a room in a Bed & Breakfast which is in old mansion close to the Rhine.



The building



The kitchen was very cozy and there was a nice garden behind the house.



Our room too was very welcoming.

nd

We saw little squirrels eating from the bowl which the owner had put there and protected with an umbrella.



We took our first drink at the Rhine and watched the enormous transport ships. There were so many ships it was almost like a highway.



Bad Breisig (the little town) has mostly half timbered houses which look very beautiful.



There is also a nice little church



Unfortunately in the evening a heavy rain started which lasted during the whole night and unfortunately the whole next day.

The Bed & Breakfast Lady brought us two cups of coffee, when she saw on the balcony in our Bathrobes. What a nice service. ! Then we had a very nice breakfast in the pink breakfast room. There also was a Chinese couple and we chatted a bit together.

After breakfast we did some shopping and hoped the rain would stop.
But it didn't. We had to stay in the car and drove along the Rhine.

After supper we returned to our room. I just had time to download the few pictures when my little travel laptop decided to give up its soul.

I had to finish my post on my Kindle which is not so easy.

Anyway tomorrow we return home.







22 Jun 2015

WEEKEND REVIEW MAY 20

This was a real busy weekend ! I had to go to a drugstore in the Waterloo center.



Some shops were nicely decorated for the bicentenary of the Waterloo battle.



The center was packed with tourists. When I saw that I decided to help out, which wasn't foreseen.
But when I saw the crowds standing in front of the information desk at the bus stop, I stayed there the whole day.



We were 5, and at some moments it wasn't enough ! Most of the people wanted to know how to get to the battle fields and wanted a map of Waterloo. I had to deal with Canadians, Australians, Americans, Brits, Germans, Italians and even Russians ! Fortunately they spoke French.



These young people distributed the Napoleon hats to the tourists. German soldiers asked some information too, before they had to go back to their camp for the reconstitution of the battle.

6.000 figurants, 300 horses and more than 100 canons participated and 60.000 spectators for each of the two reconstitutions over two days.

The next day it was even worse. Coaches and coaches arrived from the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.



People came in whole groups and again mostly wanted to know how to get to the battle fields for the third reconstitution.



Surprisingly there were many "soldiers" coming from Ukraine !

We also got a lot of complaints. Spectators left the reconstitution after an hour, because they had seats from where they couldn't see anything. They were behind a hill ! The soldiers looked so small, just like ants crawling around, and it was impossible to see who was who the uniforms looked all the same from so far. There was so much smoke that even the figurants couldn't see each other. The transport back to Waterloo was so badly organized, that some people had to walk 6 km (a little more than 3 miles) to get back to Waterloo. I didn't meet one single person who had been satisfied with the show.

No comparison with the "Inferno" show the day before (see post below) which had enchanted everybody. 

What a pity ! 



The Wellington museum was packed and people had to wait outside. I stayed until 4 pm, then I had enough and went home to pack my suitcase.



and now I am off for a 5 day holiday in Bad Breisig, at the Rhine in Germany from where I will write my next posts.

21 Jun 2015

FIRST SHOW OF THE BICENTENARY OF THE WATERLOO BATTLE

The Waterloo battle was presented in a colorful show called "Inferno". It took place on a stage of 170 m opening in the middle of a field of wheat, and allowed history to arise with poetry in the spirit and memory of those present.

The spirit of war was far away, on this first show.  It was  a show between theater and cinema, with breathtaking special effects fireworks, fire dancers, horsemen, inclined screens. There even was a game of chess between Napoleon and Wellington.

I haven't seen the show personally, but everybody who did said that it had been extraordinary !







The show took place on these fields at 10.45 pm.