Sunday, July 11, 2010

Continuing our Germany bus tour

On May 10, we visited Wartburg. This is where Martin Luther translated the Bible into the German language. It is a beautiful spot with a fantastic view. That evening we had quit a line-up of entertainment. It started with a glass blowing demonstration with Wiilly and Regina Knoth. They have been to Milwaukee's German Fest and Willy is also part of the Sandlers. Willy is also a single entertainer and did a show for us that night. Felix Reuter did classical music with a comedic flare and had us all laughing. He is quite a talented young pianist. Then it was Mandy Bach's turn. She is a charming, pretty young women and she really got the guys to sit up straight in their chairs. Our friend, Henry, really liked her and we proceeded to tease him about it the rest of the trip. She has some nice songs and you can find more info about Mandy Bach on her website. Here is a link to the pictures we took there. .

May 11, we toured the town of Weimar, the birthplace of Goethe and we toured the city of Erfurt. The statue of Goethe & Schiller was especially interesting to us because a replica stood in Milwaukee in Washington park for many years. It was a very busy day, but it ended on a high note when we went to dinner to the Christoffelhaus. The food was from that period as well and was delicious. The menu offered such things as: Sackpfeifenschmaus, Schrotfladen mit Schwarz bierfleisch and Grill Haxe in Schwarzbiersosse. The servers were dressed in medieval period costumes. There was a lot of audience participation and we had a lot of fun that night. Pictured on the left is Siegelinde, who together with Otto documented our trip for the newspaper, New Yorker Staats-Zeitung. I found their account of this trip priceless in bringing back memories, providing details and helping me sort through all my photos. To see the pictures from that day's activities... .

May 12, again Peter & Gisela had us busy from morning till evening. We visited a traditional factory of Erzgebirge Holzkunst. They had wonderful handmade wood figurines, Christmas ornaments and just a variety of wood carvings. I did some great shopping here. Then we went spent the rest of the day in the city of Dresden. I was very impressed with this city; it had been severely bombed during the war and I was amazed at how they rebuilt the Frauen Kirche. We came back to our hotel for dinner and Heidi (formerly Heidi & Heiko who appeared several times at the Milwaukee German Fest) was waiting for us. She entertained our group that evening and even one of our group, Wolfgang Ribbert, sang a few songs for us that evening. Wolfgang is a former opera singer and has organized many music shows with German singers in the Ohio area. Wolfgang documented our trip and has 2 DVD's available of our trip. for the pictures.

May 13, we traveled to the Harz Mountains and had a ride a steam engine "bimmelbahn". The scenery was great, but it was cold that day and we even found a mound of snow that had not melted yet. We were served dinner a typical Harzer platte which included a variety of regional specialties (including schmalz) and the well-known Harzer cheese. Werner Sturm & the Zackels entertained us that evening. Photos:

May 14, we visited the Basilica Vierzehnheiligen. A resident monk greeted us and addressed our group for about 30 minutes explaining the history of this very impressive church. Then the men went in search of having an authentic Kloster Beer. Next was a stop at Hummel. We were greeted by the new president of Hummel, who is not longer part of Goebel. He is a Delaware native and addressed our group in English. He showed us a short film documenting the history of Hummel and then the best part... SHOPPING!!! The tour continued on to Peter's hometown, Steinach. We welcomed by the mayor of Steinach and the town choir sang a few songs for us. Then it was a short hike to the Waldhaus where Peter spent many hours playing his beloved button box for guests there. Peter's mother had made the potatoe salad for our group. Peter's band, the Sandlers, was in charge of cooking the authentic Thuringer sausages. It was an evening that was certainly full of stimmung and ended with entertainment by the Sandlers. for the photos of Steinach and to see the pictures of the Basilica & Hummel.

May 15, we traveled to our 3rd (and last) hotel in Landau. We saw beautiful scenery on our way to the hotel as we drove through the Pfalz. We quickly freshened up and got ready for the big show in the evening of Anni and Moni's 20th anniversary. Because this was a very full program, I will do a separate posting of this day's activities.

May 16: Because the previous night was a late party night we were able to sleep a little longer. This was a Sunday and many things are closed on Sundays, but we went to Heidelberg. Since it is a tourist town, there were many shops open and of course the Castle was open. Because I had seen the castle already twice, I chose to spend my time in town. The views down the little side streets were so quaint and I also enjoyed people watching while Elmar went to the castle. We each had our own cameras and were able to take pictures of both locations. Here are the Photos:

May 17, was our last full day of touring. We went to the Black Forest via the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse where we saw many of the typical Black Forest style homes. We stopped in Triberg and saw the largest working Cuckoo clock in the world. I ate an authentic Black Forest torte in Triberg and it was delicious. Then we were invited to a local Schwarzwald club who maintains the traditions of the Black Forest. They explained their beautiful trachts and their time honored traditions. Also, there were two local singers who entertained that afternoon. Here are the pictures:

May 18, was the last day of our tour and I will do a separate posting for this day.

I would like to thank Gisela Lewis and Peter Matthai for putting together such a fantastic bus tour. Every day was filled with many activities, sites and, of course, music. We know that there was a waiting list for this trip, but I heard that there is already a waiting list for next year's trip to the upper part of Italy (Sudtirol). However, if you are interest in next year's tour, please contact Gisela because she is contemplating having a 2nd tour if there is enough interest.