Hello everyone! I'm back home after our trip to Germany. We had a busy time, travelling around visiting family and friends. I also made it my mission to taste as many yummy German cakes as possible and I think that I might well have achieved an A* for that!! I promise to share photos in a later blog post!
After taking the ferry from Harwich to Hoek van Holland, we drove as far as Heidelburg where we celebrated Mr JK's birthday. Heidelberg is an old University town with an impressive castle overlooking the market square. It was also home (in the late 19th century) to Professor Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, he of the Bunsen burner that you must have used during science lessons at school!
The next morning we drove down to Munich where our days were pretty busy. The first day we visited the zoo, travelling there on the U-Bahn (underground train system) which was only a couple of minutes walk from our flat. It was a fantastic day out and we were able to see a huge number of different animals. The zoo is in a wonderful setting in well-landscaped parkland and the enclosures were pretty large.
The following day, we took a boat trip around the Ammersee, a lake south west of Munich. It was a beautiful morning and the water was so still, it was like a picture postcard!
We stayed on the boat as it sailed from place to place, dropping off passengers and picking up new ones, until we reached the town of Diessen. There we disembarked, spending a couple of hours exploring the town. We walked up to a rather impressive church, passing many beautifully painted houses as we went.
The church itself was very ornate and had a very light and airy feel. The paintings were stunning, especially those on the ceilings. A true feat of both artistry and agility!
On the way back down from the church, we made friends with a little cat who sent some 'meows' to Flo!
Friday saw us in a more sombre mood as we drove to Dachau, north west of Munich, to visit the Concentration Camp Memorial. Originally started as a concentration camp for political prisoners in 1933, this camp served as the model for all subsequent concentration camps. More than 41,000 people were murdered there. Despite the number of people visiting, there was a sense of quiet throughout the visit as we all tried to take in the reminders of the horrendous atrocities that had been committed.
After spending several hours inside, we were in need of something lighter, so drove into Dachau itself and took a walking tour around the old part. It's a beautiful town, again with a castle overlooking the town and on a good day, you can see as far as the Alps. We stopped off for tea and cake in the castle grounds before walking around the garden. Here are a few highlights...
No visit to Bavaria would be complete without at least one visit to a biergarten, and we visited two on our last day! The first, south of Munich, was right by the river Isar, and not long after we had arrived, we could hear the strains of traditional Bavarian 'oompah' music in the distance. Then the first of many rafts appeared, complete with band, guests and a plentiful supply of Bavarian beer! The rafts tied up at the biergarten and the guests came in for a meal. Each band tried to outdo the others with a rendition of traditional music. Ladies wore traditional dirndl dresses while the men sported lederhosen. It was great fun to be a spectator!
The second beer garden we visited had a live jazz band playing and there were plenty of visitors soaking up the afternoon sunshine. I'll say auf wiedersehen for now, and I'll be back later this week for the next instalment! Prost! xxx