Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Michelstadt, 10 September 2016

Old City Hall in Michelstadt
We love Michelstadt. This is a small city not too far from Frankfurt in the Odenwald (the Oden Forest). The old city is surrounded by a medieval wall that is nearly intact, and the center of the old city is this city hall which was first built in 1484. One of the large wood posts you can see underneath the structure has the date carved into it. We visited the town with our usual group of senior couple friends. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and cool temperatures. A member of our mission presidency grew up in Michelstadt and loves this place. We were here once before at night for their Christmas market and loved it.

A fitting metaphor for our mission experience which is sprinting past.

Grapes are ready for harvest - these growing on the side of a building

You can visit the castle grounds but all of it is private residence. We would like an apartment here.

Picturesque, quiet place

The ravages of time and weather

He has lost his nose

We need more window boxes in the U. S.

Elder Newman may have scaled a wall to walk on the bridge

Germany is full of walking paths
This house contains a ceramic shop. The owner was emptying the kiln and Elder Snapp was asking questions a mile a minute.

This basilica is now empty, but it was built in 827.

Original ceiling beams. An interesting feeling standing in this empty space that was once a place of worship.

Germans love these models and we find them at most historical sites
The docent at the basilica took our picture. Left to right - Elder and Sister Jarrard, Elder and Sister Markle, the two of us, Elder and Sister Newman, Elder and Sister Snapp, and Elder and Sister Mumm
Part of a dry moat along the old city wall

Diebsturm (Thieves' Tower) used in the middle ages as a jail

Long shot of the moat and wall

Now that's a narrow walkway between two buildings

Love this kind of stained glass

The organ lofts in most churches are beautiful

Flowers are still beautiful in the early fall

The Hotel Three Rabbits

Look closely and you can see the rabbits

An important sign to know and look for

We just never get tired of this

The better half of the companionship

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mimi, Jared and Wesley Come to Germany!

Our oldest daughter and her two boys at Burg Eltz
This has been a long time coming. Our sweet oldest daughter and her two sons came to visit us and Europe. They spent almost two weeks here around us, and we loved it. What a thrill it was to have them with us and to show them some of the reasons why we love Germany. Here's a picture montage of their visit.

Visiting the Römerdom (Frankfurt Cathedral)
View from the cathedral spire down the Main River

To get to this point, you have to climb lots of steps in a spiral stone staircase
Frankfurt has a really impressive skyline

The view is worth the climb
Der Eiserner Steg

This iron footbridge crosses the Main from near the Römerplatz to Sachsenhausen across the river. It was built in 1868. The Wehrmacht blew it up in the final days of World War II (completely pointless as so many things were), but Frankfurt rebuilt it in 1946. It is a popular spot for people to demonstrate their undying love by locking engraved locks to the bridge railing and tossing the keys in the river. 
Who dares to cross my bridge.

It was hot, and children found one of the old fountains inviting.

How else can you cool off in a country where air conditioning is rare.
Off to Rothenburg ob der Taube

Rothenburg is the most picturesque towns in Germany. The town was mostly spared the ravages of the war. It has a long history and the medieval wall of the old city is intact. You can walk about 2/3 of the wall, and it is a great vantage point looking down into the old city. The houses and buildings are quaint, and there is plenty to see and do. We rode the trains from Frankfurt to Rothenburg and walked from the train station to our hotel just outside the wall. The hotel was a 19th century gem and was a great place to stay. 

Ready to go at the Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof -- just waiting for the ICE train
A gate for the city

Part of the moat remains
Just inside the wall. Notice the flowers in the window boxes
Now that's a nice yard inside the wall of the old city.

View along the wall

The rain decided to fall while we were walking the parapets and under a roof

One of the bridges over the moat

Circular fortification at one of the city gates.

That's quite a mustache

Everything exudes charm

Ancient city hall - we climbed the steps to visit the top of the white tower

Views away from the city

Anciently one of the main gates

Above the gate - used for pouring hot oil on people you wanted to keep away from the gate

Christmas Store advertising

Those are a variety of geranium
Unfortunately, the nightwatchman had his halberd in the wrong place when Janet and Mimi posed with him.

He has conducted the same evening tour for 25 years. A great walking tour of the old city.

He didn't even look like he had told the same stories 10,000 times before
Our hotel. The open window on the ground floor just below the hotel sign was our room.
Our hotel room
How can you not like a hotel breakfast when they bring you a boiled egg with a smiley face?

View from the top of the city hall tower worth the steep climb (including a short ladder)
Jakobus Kirche (St. James Church) -- built in the 14th and 15th centuries. It became a Lutheran church when Rothenburg became Protestant.

We are just not selfie people, but we had to try on top of the tower

Looking directly down on the large market plaza in front of city hall.
We knew we had found the right place for the boys


Especially guilty -- of being good.
Lots of interesting things in the museum of justice and torture (do those two things go together?). This was a shaming mask. There were several varieties of these. Perpetrators were sentenced to wear these in a public shaming. They are really fanciful.
There is a store where you can buy knives and swords, medieval costumes, and armor. the dungeon is part exhibit and part dressing room for trying on stuff.
Wesley and Jared thought this guy had been waiting a long time for service.
Wesley's friend looked like a character from Lord of the Rings.