Sunday, July 20, 2008

Germany Trip Report, part I.

In desperate need of a change of scenery, I am going to journey back to last summer when Robert, Dots and I took a wonderful trip to visit friends in Germany.  What follows is from the text of emails I sent while we were abroad.


While Hockey Boy is in England participating in the Boy Scout World Jamboree, Robert, Dots and I are visiting a former classmate of Dots’s, Hanna, and her family in Germany.  Vivian is attending summer school and staying at home with one of her wonderful teachers.

 Sunday, 29 July, 2007

Robert, Dots and I flew from Dallas to Frankfurt, arriving around 8 a.m.  We were met at the airport by Rosie and Jogi and their daughter Hanna.   Jogi accompanied Robert to retrieve our rental car while Dots and I rode with Rosie and Hanna.

The family lives in Bingen am Rhein, where Jogi and Rosie also grew up.  Bingen is less than an hour’s drive from the Frankfurt airport and is a lovely little town nestled in a bend of the Rhine River in an area of Germany known as the ‘Romantic Rhine.’  

Their home sits on a hill above the town, affording a beautiful view of the river and valley.  

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Robert and I were shown to a spacious and well appointed guest apartment on the ground floor.

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Dorothy elected to sleep upstairs with Hanna and her sisters Sophie and Viktoria.

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Robert and I indulged ourselves to a two-hour nap before coming upstairs to a beautiful brunch spread in the dining room.  It was cool and misty outside, and Jogi lit a fire before serving us glasses of sparkling wine from a local vineyard.  We sat down to a table laden with cheeses, meats, fish and bread in addition to tomatoes, peaches and strawberries from the family’s garden.

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After lunch, Robert, Jogi, Rosie and I set out to explore the local sights of Bingen.  

We ventured first to St. Rochuskapelle, a beautiful old chapel set in a forest at the highest point above the town.  

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Rosie and Jogi were married in this chapel, which was built in tribute to the patron saint of Bingen, St. Roch, who is credited with saving the town’s residents from the Plague.  During the third week of August each year, the residents of Bingen make a pilgrimage from the parish church downtown to St. Rochuskapelle, marking the journey with songs, prayers and flags.  

Near the chapel is an overlook with a sweeping view of the Rhine Valley.   

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From St. Rochuskapelle we drove to a small tower at the opposite end of the ridge and climbed to the top from which we could see the nearby city of Mainz and the town of Rudesheim across the river. 


We headed back into town, stopping at the Burg Klopp, an old castle that now serves as a municipal building.

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Next we set off through some lovely countryside and small villages for the Binger Wald, an expansive forest which seems to be protected from development.  

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We walked through the woods along a path for about two miles before emerging into a clearing in which sat a tall observation tower.  From the top of this tower we could follow the path of the Rhine and could see all the way to France!  

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After returning to our car we took a short back route to the house, stopping briefly at the Prinzenkopf, a small picnic area overlooking the Rhine, to enjoy a bottle of local wine that Jogi served us.  

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For dinner we feasted on steaks from Jogi’s grill and sautéed fresh local mushrooms with more glasses of local wine.  Does life get any better than this?

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