Saturday, September 25, 2010

Good bye to Europe

I farewelled Europe on Wednesday afternoon when I flew from Munich to Chicago.
I always feel sad at leaving Europe, especially Germany.

However back to where I left off in my last message.
I spent Friday night in Luxembourg, partly because I got a good deal as Luxembourg hotels are cheaper on the weekend when the EU bureaucrats return to their own countries and partly so I could add another country to my list of those visited. At first I was disappointed as the railway station area is not the nicest but in a walk around I found the old area of the city and the bridges over a deep valley. I had a few hours before leaving the next morning and quickly visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Flea market in the town square and a brief walk down into the gardens in the valley below the old city. The first photo shows the old bridge over this valley.

My train journey that day followed the beautiful Moselle and Rhine valleys. The 2nd Photo,  through the train window, does not do justice to the views of gorges, villages, castles and river traffic. I had never seen the Moselle before but did cruise along the Rhine way back in 1974. My destination for that day was the city of Mainz.

I walked down to the river side through pedestrian only shopping streets and then found the old city and square with the Cathedral (3rd photo). I discovered that Gutenberg, the inventor of the Printing Press was born in Mainz and there was a museum but it was too late to enter and I just browsed the bookshop.

On Sunday I continued on by train to Munich where I met Peter and Kathy, my friends from Johannesburg, South Africa. We originally met here 30 years ago on the train to Oberammergau and it was their suggestion that we have a reunion that has been the basis for this whole trip. Due to some connection problems last year, they booked much later than me and were staying 14 km out of Oberammergau in the little village of Bad Bayersoien and I went there so that we could have one evening together before I moved onto my hotel in Oberammergau itself. The Lake in front of the hotel was beautiful and my 4th photo is one of many I took of the reflections. It was a typical Bavarian town and I also have many photos of the house with their window boxes.

The following afternoon they helped me transfer by bus into Oberammergau. I loved this town when I visited in the 70’s and later attended the play in 1980 but it has become far more touristy. Possibly it would be nicer in a non-Passion play year. On Tuesday morning I did walk out of the town and up into the surrounding hills, providing the last photo which is of the town from about 300 metres higher. I would have liked to have walked further up but had to return for the play starting at 2.30pm. The play lasts about 6 hours with just over 2 hours break in the middle. It use to be held in the morning and afternoon but this year it was afternoon and evening. As the season is about to end, it was very cold by the finish at nearly 11pm and I was sitting in the front row and the stage is open to the air. We had two beautiful clear sunny days but the nights were therefore quite chilly and the provided blanket was very welcome.

On Wednesday, I travelled back by train to Munich and out to the airport for the 9 hour flight to Chicago.

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