Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Saturday June 24th, viewing the "Saarschliefe", a visit to the American Cemetery and a trip to Luxembourg.

 The "Saarschleife" the Saar loop or meander as we'd say in English.
During the coach trip, our guide keep talking about the Saarschleife.  I understood the Saar bit of the word, but Schleife had me lost, as I thought it meant a slice!  I later checked the word in my online German dictionary, to realise that the word has several meanings, one of which is "loop" and then all made sense!  It's an amazing sight to behold from the viewing platform, and also from the recently opened treetop walk.
 Our group leaving the Cloef viewing platform above the huge meander in the River Saar.

The Saarschleife (also known as the Großer Saarschleife at Mettlach in contrast to the Kleine Saarschleife near Hamm) is a breakthrough of the River Saar through the quarzite and is one of the most famous sights in Saarland. The most popular view is from the Cloef viewpoint, situated in the Mettlach district of Orscholz, 180 m above the river. The bank is formed of rock walls and small ravines, and the whole area is a huge nature park. 

 The Baumwipfelpfad, the newly opened treetop walk, which from the viewing platform at the top, must give a magnificent view over the great meander in the River Saar.
The American Cemetery in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg American Cemetery is located near the town of Hamm, three miles east of Luxembourg City centre.
 Luxembourg Cathedral on another very hot day.
A wedding was taken place while we toured the cathedral, and the organ and singing sounded wonderful in the huge space of the nave

Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin in Luxembourg City - …
The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin was originally a Jesuit church, the foundation stone of which was laid in 1613.

 Luxembourg old town, which is far more interesting than the very busy modern city centre.  

The old fortress of Luxembourg.
Fortress of Luxembourg - Wikipedea
The Fortress of Luxembourg refers to the former fortifications of Luxembourg City, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Friday June 23rd in Saarlouis, Saarbrücken and Ottweiler.

 Part of the fortress at Saarlouis on a very hot day!
I knew nothing of this area before my visit, and had no idea that the town itself has changed nationality six times during its history, French to German and back!   In 1957 the inhabitants held a referendum to decide once and for all who they wanted to be, and decided to be part of Germany.

Saarlouis - Wikipedia
Saarlouis (German pronunciation: [zaːɐ̯ˈlʊɪ]; French: Sarrelouis, French pronunciation: ) is a city in the Saarland, Germany.
 The group in the square in front of Saarbrücken Schloss.

Saarbrücken Castle - Wikipediaücken
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Schloss Saarbrücken.

 The information board about the Schloss, which shows a painting of its appearance in the 18th century.

 The old part of the town of Ottweiler.

Ottweiler - Wikipedia
Ottweiler is a municipality, former seat of the district of Neunkirchen, in Saarland, Germany. It is situated on the river Blies.

Half timbered houses in Ottweiler.

Monday, 26 June 2017

On The Road Again, this time off to Saarland.

 We boarded our coach at 7am on Thursday morning 22nd June, ready for the journey to our hotel in St Wendel, Saarland.
 We had a breakfast stop at 9am in a woodland picnic area near Würzberg. I must admit to not having a clue where we were, having left my map of the journey at home in Timmerlah!

 Our afternoon treat was a guided tour of Frankfurt am Main Airport in a hot coach at 33c.  Not my idea of fun, but the tour was very interesting.  Our guide seemed extremely pleased about GB´s Brexit decision, which meant more opportunities for the financial sector in Frankfurt.  He agreed with me, that the UK had shot itself in the foot.   Hi di ho!
I had forgotten to bring a copy of my passport with me, and thought that I might have problems going on the guided tour.  We had to go through an airline check of handbags and a body search before the visit, but I got my ticket and all clear without a mention of checking my identity.  Unlike in GB, every German citizen has an identity card, which must be carried at all times.  I normally have my passport copy with me in my bus and train ticket wallet, but as I didn´t need my ticket, I left the copy at home.  I won´t do that again, as for four days I was wondering around Germany without any identity papers, with only my friends knowing who I was!
The temperature outside was 33c, but inside was air conditioned, so a little more comfortable.  Here the coach is passing the Lufthansa terminal.  Frankfurt is the busiest hub airport in Europe, and the second biggest after London Heathrow in Europe.

Frankfurt Airport - Wikipedia
Frankfurt Airport (IATA: FRA, ICAO: EDDF) (German: Flughafen Frankfurt am Main, also known as Rhein-Main-Flughafen) is a major international ...

 The courtyard dining room in the Angel Hotel, St Wendel.  The food and service were excellent.

Sankt Wendel - Wikipedia
Coordinates: Coordinates: Country: Germany: State: Saarland: District: Sankt Wendel: Government • Mayor: Peter Klär : Area • Total: 113.54 km

Our hotel is to the left in this photo in the old fruit market place.

Angel's - das Hotel am Fruchtmarkt, Sankt Wendel, Germany
Angel's - das Hotel am Fruchtmarkt This property has agreed to be part of our Preferred Property Program, which groups together properties that stand out.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Off on Holiday to Saarland and Luxemburg.

The Schlossplatz St Wendel.
I started packing today for my four day holiday to St Wendel, Ottweiler, Saarlouis, Saaarbrücken, Saarschleife and Luxemburg.  I leave early on Thursday morning on the annual coach holiday organised by my neighbours in Timmerlah.  We are staying in the "Angel Hotel" in the centre of St Wendel.
St Wendel is a town in north eastern Saarland.  It is situated on the river Blies, 36 km northeast of Saarbrücken, the capital of Saarland, and is named after Saint Wendelin of Trier.  According to a survey by the German Association for Housing, Town Planning and Land Use Regulation, St. Wendel is one of the wealthiest regions in Germany.
Frankfurt am Main airport.
Several guided  town tours are included in the holiday, beginning on Thursday afternoon with a guided tour of Frankfurt am Main Airport.  I shall be interested to see the baggage handling process in action.  The  airport is by far the busiest airport for passenger traffic in Germany, as well as the 4th busiest in Europe after London Heathrow, Paris - Charles de Gaulle and Schipol Airport, Amsterdam.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Entertaining the Mayor of Bath at the DEG Garden Party

Enjoying the tasty refreshments in the garden of the Martin Luther Church.
Last week a delegation from Bath, consisting of the Mayor Ian Gilchrist and seven members of BODS, the Bath Opera and Drama Society, were entertained in the city by the members of Braunschweig's twinning office, and members of the German English Society in the city.
I was a very successful visit for the singers, who were so popular, that the city expects to invite them back again in the news future.   There are also arrangements afoot for the group to visit Omaha in the USA, another of Braunschweig's partner cities.
Sitting in the beautiful garden enjoying the warm weather and the German beer.
At the end of the party, the group sang us some songs from the shows.  They were such a friendly group, and they're looking forward to returning again sometime in the near future to sing in the city.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

A Big Catch Up. I have been too preoccupied with the General Election in GB!

 Sunday 4th JuneThe annual Medieval Market in the Burgplatz, Braunschweig.
Sorry everyone, but I have been so preoccupied with the General Election in GB, that I have not had the time or inclination to update the story of my 2017 visit to my second home in Braunschweig.  I have made amends today, by writing four blogs on one page, just to catch up on myself.  Life here gets busy, and even busier when I follow the news back home in England.

 Market stalls at the Medieval Market in the Burgplatz.
The weather for this event is normally atrocious, but this year the sun shone on us all, and the lovely smell of grilled sausages permeated the air.

 Whit Monday 5th June: Klassik im Park with friends.
This annual free event held in the Bürgerpark is sponsored by Volkswagen Financial Services.  Last year the weather was freezing cold, and we all sat huddled in thick coats watching the concert on a large screen.  The year was totally different, as the sun shone most of the time, although it was a little too muggy for my liking.
The State Theatre orchestra played popular classics, with two wonderful soloists singing famous choruses from the operas of Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart und Puccini.  The occasion is great fun, as we sit and picnic on the grass to the accompaniment of a wonderful orchestra and singers.

 Klassik im Park flyer.

 Friday 9th June:  Seniors´ Day in The Place of German Unity in
front of the Town Hall.
This another annual event where all the Charities and help agencies give out information to the seniors of the city.  The sun always shines on this occasion, although last year the temperature was in the 30´s and it was too hot.   This time it was lovely, with gentle sunshine through thin cloud.
 Dancing on the central stage in front of the Town Hall.

 Friday 9th June:   In the theatre foyer of the Heidburg school waiting for the Mayor of Bath.
The Mayor of Bath and the BODS, the Bath Opera and Drama Group are visiting the city for six days.   On Friday evening they gave a performance of songs from the shows, together with a similar German theatre group.

 Waiting for the Mayor and dignitaries, who were held up in traffic and arrived ten minutes late.

The German theatre group on stage performing an amusing story about the dead!  As it was all in German without much amplification, I could not understand a word of it.
Back soon with news of our annual Deutsch Englisch Society garden party with the Mayor and the BODS!   What a nice acronym that is!

Monday, 5 June 2017

Listening to JS Bach in Braunschweig Cathedral.

The poster for last evening's concert in Braunschweig Cathedral. 
The 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Europe is being celebrated in Braunschweig with a series of free concerts in the Cathedral, and special exhibitions in the various city museums.   Last night I listened to JS Bach's Cantata BWV 74 and Mozart's Divertimento No ?  I did not catch the whole title, as my German can be sadly lacking in the evenings!
The Mozart was performed at short notice because the soloist for the advertised GF Handel  Concerto for Harp had been injured in a cycling accident, and was unable to play.
 The organ and rose window in the Cathedral.
Something happened during the performance of the Bach cantata, that I have never witnessed before.  Although I am not familiar with the work, I began to realise early on that the pulse and structure of the work was in disarray.  The trumpets flagged and had almost disappeared, when suddenly the conductor stopped the players, paused, and then began the performance from the beginning.  The performance then continued without a break.
Last night I read about the composing of this cantata in Leipzig in 1725, when Bach was Cantor at the Thomaskirche.  The work makes huge demands on the solo violin, whose part is written at the opposite end of the expressive spectrum Bach usually wrote for the instrument.  The work portrays a graphic depiction of hell, with the usual human voice of the violin dancing to the tune of hell.  
I think it was the trumpeters who lost their way, as the violinist kept going regardless.  Bach had favourite players in his orchestras, and wrote works specially for the talents of his special players.  His favourite was the trumpet player Gottfried Reiche. 

Gottfried Reiche - Wikipedia
Gottfried Reiche (German pronunciation: [ˈgɔtfʁiːt ʁaɪçə]; 5 February 1667 – 6 October 1734) was a German trumpet player.
I experienced a similar mishap as a singer in a madrigal choir, when singing a work by Henry Purcell.   We had practised the song to perfection, but on the day of the competition, we lost the thread for some reason, and the conductor had to stop us mid way.   We began again, sang perfectly, and came second!

 The Cathedral was full to overflowing, with people sitting near the 13th century seven armed candelabra.

The conductor takes a bow at the end of the performance.