Saturday, 5 January 2008

7 reasons why Germany is wunderbar

Last week, we joined Stephen and Sarah for a trip to Germany. Although Tane has seen an impressive amount of Germany, it was my first taste of a country that I have learnt a lot about over the years. In spite of the weather being cold and wet, it was a great holiday. Wunderbar, even, for these seven reasons:

1. Delicious, rich, fatty, filling food

Buns shaped like pigs!

2. Very cool churches

We based ourselves in Cologne, home of one of the most stunning cathedrals in the entire world. It was jaw-dropping, a structure that can only be described using corny cliches. To give you an idea of it's size, we were unable to fit the church into a single photograph so have at least a dozen photos of parts of the Cathedral, none of which actually do it justice. The one above is the best we could do without scaling the rooves of buildings and what-not. Luckily the very sweet and pictureque Aachen cathedral fitted nicely into a single shot.
3. Bones of very old people inside the churches

In Cologne, we saw a massive gold box that is supposed to be filled with the bones of the Three Magi, or the Three Wise Men. Even if it was a dirty scam, at the very least the bones were of three people from at least 1000 years ago. This was of particular interest to me as last year I read a Da Vinci Code-esque book about these bones. Fortunately there was no exploding communion bread as in the book, although that would have been very exciting. We also saw a box containing the bones of Charlemagne in the Aachen cathedral.

4. The Rhine

I thought it was cool, although Stephen and Sarah agreed that the Rhine looked like the Waikato and that Cologne reminded them of Huntly. Whatever. How could anywhere you can buy buns shaped like pigs remind you of Huntly, I say.

5. Beer Halls
6. Beethoven

We went to the very lovely city of Bonn, home of Beethoven. Everything was closed as it was New Year's day, but we were able to see the outside of his house at least.We were also able to see a very serious-looking statue of Beethoven, which was just begging for a "spirit fingers" moment.

7. Seeing places that bring history alive

A more sombre part of our trip was a visit to the building in Cologne that housed the Gestapo during World War Two and has since been turned into a museum, El-De Haus. Much of the museum was in German, but the language barrier didn't matter when we ventured into the cells below the building where prisoners were kept. Here we saw the messages and notes that prisoners wrote on the walls before being moved elsewhere. This one below was especially harrowing.

Reading about the atrocities that occurred during World War Two is one thing, but seeing evidence of it is a whole different story. For that reason, it was a real experience to visit somewhere that brought this history to life.

In summary, Germany was wunderbar. I don't know if I'll visit the industrial heartland of West Germany again, but certainly look forward to seeing more of the country in the future. Yay!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You missed Dusseldorf, reconstructed post-war heartland of industrial West Germany. The Aldstat there has lots of cool beerhalls.

Cologne is cool, though. The cathedral is like a wedding cake in stone. With gargoyles.