Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Two have fun in Germany!

Cooey! I'm back! Did you miss me?! Mr JK and I returned home yesterday after a week spent travelling round Germany. We had a great time, catching up with friends and family. We started off the week near Frankfurt, in the small town of Nidda, staying with our dear friends Andrea and Wolfgang. There was plenty of time to relax and have fun together, as well as take in some of the local sights. We visited the town of Weilburg, where there is the largest (only?) display of terracotta warriors outside of China. These are copies of the original statues, but nonetheless, the display of 320 warriors was very impressive.

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The original terracotta army are all individual and no face is like any other. Here, however, we were able to spot twins, triplets and even quads!!

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We then visited the schloss at Weilburg, perched at the top of the town. The gardens in particular were just beautiful; borders were crammed full of brightly coloured plants and flowers.

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There were several gardens on different levels, containing flowers, fruits and vegetables. I loved the vibrancy of the planting, and it really brightened up a somewhat dreary day.

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The main square was typical of many that we saw during the week - beautiful, ornate facades overlooking the central marketplace.

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We then drove to the town of Bad Nauheim where Elvis Presley was stationed between 1958 and 1960.

Elvis - Germany 2011

There was a lovely park nearby where we had a stroll around. The park was full of people spending time together. Shops are shut on Sundays in Germany, giving family time instead. There was an area of wild flower meadow which was just stunning.

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The next day we caught the train into Frankurt. It's the financial centre of Germany and the skyline reflects this, with many impressive highrise buildings. We went up to the top of the Main Tower. At 200 metres tall, it's the 4th highest skyscraper in Frankfurt. The lift had a little screen to show your progress up and down the 59 floors!

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The views from the top were spectacular. You can see the old part of Franfurt in this photo......

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..... and in the other direction, the business part of the city.

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We said our farewells to Andrea and Wolfgang, and set off for southern Germany, to the city of Munich. We were staying with Alexa, who was married to Mr JK's cousin. She was very keen for us to see some of the beautiful scenery to the south of Munich, so we went down to Chiemsee, a lake in southern Bavaria. We took a boat trip to visit two of the islands on the lake. The weather was just perfect! Sun, blue sky, fluffy clouds and the mountains in the distance. Bliss!

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First stop was Herreninsel, where we visited a castle built by Konig Ludwig II. The palace and gardens were built in the style of the palace of Versailles, and there was a really fun fountain there.

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There were a variety of animals all spurting water! I liked the frogs in particular.

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A short boat trip took us to the Fraueninsel, where there is a Benedictine Nunnery. We ate lunch there and wandered around the island, visiting the local artisans.

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The following day we went to the Botanical gardens. It's a beautiful place, a haven of peace in the middle of a busy city.

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I especially enjoyed the lily house, although it was extremely hot inside! The lilies were just amazing!

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Driving through the city, we went past the Olympic stadium, still very much in use 40 years on. I wonder if the same will happen with the London 2012 development?! We went to a biergarten in the Englischer garten for lunch. Mr JK had roast pork and fried potatoes while I sampled the sausage goulash, again with fried potatoes. Yum yum! And of course, I found time to sample some of the delicious German cakes and pastries - here we have poppyseed cake, plum streusel and butterkuchen. Mine, all mine!!!

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We left Munich and headed northwest to the city of Cologne. The Dom certainly does dominate the city, and the square around it was always packed with visitors.

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It really was huge, and we visited it twice, just to try and take it all in. I especially liked one of the stained glass windows. It reminded me of Elmer the patchwork elephant!

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There was time to try out the local beer, Kolsch, too! It was rather refreshing. The beer didn't really have a pink froth on the top! That's just the reflection from the sun umbrella over our table!

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I know you're wondering, and yes! I did manage to find a yarn shop! Maschenkunst was a small but packed shop near the Dom. I was very restrained, and bought some Regia sock yarn in red, black and yellow to make Mr JK another pair of stripy German socks! I liked the knitted cake in the window.

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We visited a museum of chocolate in Cologne (tough job I know, but someone has to do it!!) As well as information about the history of chocolate, there was also a working factory taking you through the process of making chocolate bars and truffles. There was an impressive chocolate fountain, fenced off fortunately or else I might have had to be forcibly restrained by Mr JK! Just look at all this delicious, sweet chocolate. It reminds me of the Vicar of Dibley sketch where Geraldine sticks her head inside the chocolate fountain! How unladylike! Of course I wasn't tempted to do that!! Hahaha!

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I refreshed myself in the 4711 fountain at the Eau de Cologne shop. I can remember my Mum having a small bottle when I was a child.

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Oh, and then there was time for more cake! This time with hot chocolate! Nom nom nom. This one had rhubarb (so at least I was getting some fruit!!!)

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We left Cologne and drove back towards Hoek van Holland where we would catch the ferry back to the UK. We decided to stop off in Delft, a town we had wanted to visit during one of our many weekends in Amsterdam. What a lovely place it was. The centre is typically Dutch with its canals and we took a short boat trip around to get a feel for the place.

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Delft is famous for its blue and white pottery, and you could find small pieces of Delftware amongst the paving stones.

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We visited a museum about the painter Vermeer which was very interesting. He used light in his work to great effect. Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of his more famous works of art. A visit to the Netherlands wouldn't be complete without sampling a Dutch pancake and Dutch apple pie. Oh dear, my poor waistline!!

Dutch fare!

Plenty of knitting was done too during the week, but I'll tell you all about that in another post. I needed to do something while Mr JK was driving on the German autobahns to take my mind of the fact that there's no speed limit!! Scary!!

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And now, we're back home in Norfolk, but the difference is, before we went away there were only two of us, and now, there's four!! Apologies for the rather dark photo, but Elsie and Florence have arrived!! I'll be back very soon to tell you how they're settling in! Bye! xxx

Elsie and Flo day 1 001


Clicky Needles said...

ooooo all that chocolate ~ just as well it was fenced!

We always had 4711 in the house when I was little too - not sure who used it tho'!

Glad you had good hols.

snoopydog said...

Looks like you had a fun and food packed holiday! Lovely photos! I especially like the wildflower meadow one. Catch up soon! XX

Kat Jorgensen said...

Fab pictures, Helen! I'm so glad you had a great vacation. That chocolate fountain just about did me in and all of the food pictures - now I'm hungry. Thank you for taking us on a virtual holiday with you. Love the new kitties.

Kathy said...

You've packed so much into your time away .... lots of sights and tastes. I've been to Cologne and Delft, so it was nice to see your photographs!
We're having a trauma with our holiday at the moment ... our car is dead.
Your kitty cats look like a bundle of fun!!!! Hope they settle quickly!

busybusybeejay said...

What a super set of photos.I loved the "Elmer" window.How many times as an Early years teacher(now retired)did I read those stories.We havn't been to Delft for many years but the photo brought lots of happy memories back of holidays we had in Holland(house swaps).
What a lot you packed into one week.Are the cats new arrivals?

Ozzy Blackbeard said...

What lovely photos, I like the warriors and the frogs. But my favourite is the last one! Hope they're settling in ok.

Jenny said...

What beautiful scenery, everything so clean and tidy. You certainly packed a lot in during your trip (and I don't just mean the cakes) but you must be so delighted to be home with the new kittens. Hope things are going well.

Anonymous said...

I'd forgotten you were going away - I was hoping you were okay as it's not like you not to post :)

You seem to have had a lovely time, fab photos, especially the terracotta army and the meadow. And the cake! To die for...

I'm looking forward to hearing more about the new cats :)

Helsie said...

Great photos. Thanks for taking me to Germany with you. I've never been there and though I did 2 years of German at high school I'm sure I don't remember much. As you have family there do you speak German?
I think you are all so clever the way many of you can speak another language over there though I guess there are lots of opportunities to use another language when you are so close to the rest of Europe.

Northern Monkey said...

Looks like you had a fantastic time. I love Germany but have never visited Bavaria, it's on my "to visit" list for the future though :-)

Anonymous said...

oh goodness! it looks like you had just a wonderful wonderful time!! all your pictures were gorgeous - thank you for sharing!

and hooray for kitties coming home!!

Michele in Maine said...

Wow, Helen, what a fabulous trip! You are a great photographer. Love the architectural and garden shots, and of course the food, yum! Can't wait to hear more about the adorable kittehs!