Hello yet again from Karlsruhe, Germany
Sunday Morning August 24, 2008 (sixth travelogue of this trip)
We are once again at Irina and Matthias apartment (here). The past few days seem like a blur. Pat and the Birts have been helping me with some of the details. It is a good thing we are writing this blog, so that we can go back and recall what we have done and where we have been {grin}!
Tuesday, Matthias drove us into the Black Forrest region of Germany (Irina had to work). Our first stop Vogtsbauernhof, a wonderful historical farm village in the town of Gutach, Germany (http://vogtsen.land-in-sicht.com/index.php). This village has the original farm house dating back to about 1600, as well as several other farm houses that have been relocated from other areas (each from about the same period) I have attached a picture of one of the houses. These houses all had similar designs. Their roofs all came very close to the ground to shed the snow in the winter. They also combined the barn and house into one unit. The cows were in the first floor (said to provide some heat in the winter), the living area was on the second floor and the barn area (for equipment and hay) was on the third level. They were built on the hill side and this allowed a path into the third floor for easily getting the equipment and hay into the building.
Our next stop was quite an experience! We went to the beautiful Alpirsbach Monastery in Alpirsbach, Germany (http://www.schloesser-magazin.de/en/monastery-alpirsbach/Monastery/237632.html). I have included a link to their website as there is no way that our pictures can do justice to this magnificent structure. The structure was started around 1125. As was the case with most of the cathedrals and monasteries, they were built over a rather long period (sometimes taking 300 or more years to complete). This monastery was no exception. In fact, it has the unique feature of having two different styles of architecture: Gothic and Romanesque. One of the buildings has both types of architecture.
After touring the Monastery we enjoyed a tour of the brewery that the Monks started. This brewery is both an active brewery and a museum. The tour was absolutely great. Matthias had talked to the folks about getting an English speaking tour guide. It turns out that we went on a German speaking tour, but the main tour guide went along and gave us a personal tour. He had a lot of passion about his job and a great sense of humor. Of course, we got to sample the end product (Alpirsbacher) at the end of the tour {great beer!}.
After the tour we went to a great restaurant owned by the brewery. We ordered several different entrees that were typical of the regional food.
Matthias then drove us back to Karlsruhe via back roads in the Black Forrest. It is impossible to describe the fantastic scenery!
Wednesday the boys got up early and went with Matthias to the great museum in Sinsheim, Germany. This museum is famous for being the only one to have both the Concord and Russian Tu-144 supersonic passenger planes in one location. Both are mounted on the roof of the building and you can walk trough them. The museum does not have a great website, but this site will give you some idea of the fabulous collection: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinsheim_Auto_&_Technik_Museum
That afternoon we met the girls at beautiful palace in Ludwigsburg, Germany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwigsburg_Palace). The construction of this palace was started in 1704. This palace reminded us of Versailles. We had a great English speaking tour guide for the tour of the inside of the palace and then took a long walk through the enormous gardens. I have attached a photo, but as usual, it does not do justice to the palace and surroundings.
Now for some random notes:
I try to put links to Google Maps for many of the places we go. In the USA, that is easy, since our satellite dish gives us that information directly. I just found a website that makes it easy to put in a European address and it will locate the GPS coordinates. I then transfer those coordinates to Google maps and put the link here. Now that I have that ability, I will catch up with our previous stops. The Paris hotel is (here). The Ratingen hotel is (here). I have updated the previous blogs to reflect this information.
Irina had pointed out some corrections to the blog. First of all she pointed out that their wedding was in 2005 rather than 2006 as noted earlier. Next, she filled us in on some of the building dates for the structures I mentioned in my Ratingen post. The Water Castle dates back to roughly 1000 for the first part of the castle and the first house in the old market was built in 1472
We are amazed at way that people treat there dogs here. Many folks have dogs and they all seem to be very well behaved. What amazes us most is that dogs are often welcome in the restaurants. Indeed, Birgit’s family brought their dog to the family “reunion” dinner and there were several other dogs there as well. Every once in a while, there will be a brief “barking” match, but it ends quickly.
At least half of the public toilets in Europe are pay toilets. Some have coin operated turn stiles, some have attendants, and some have “tip” dishes at the entrance. They are all quite clean, so you don’t mind paying for the use.
As we have been noting, there are cathedrals in every town/village. They are all magnificent structures. But what is really noteworthy is that most have functional bell towers. Almost everywhere we have gone we have been serenaded by the beautiful sound of these bells.
As has always been the case, fuel in Europe is very expensive. Currently gasoline is 1.5 Euro per liter and diesel is 1.4 Euro per liter. That equates to $8.51 per gallon for gasoline and $7.95 for Diesel. They also use the “ultra low sulfur” diesel that is now required in the USA.
You see almost no pickup trucks on the streets. Most of the cars are what we would call compact (most hold 4 people comfortably). Most are powered by small diesel engines and they are standard shift. Matthias said his car gets about 5.5 liters per 100 kilometers (standard unit of fuel mileage in Europe). That equates to about 43 MPG. He has been chauffeuring us around in a borrowed VW van (see photo) that gets about 36 MGP.

I think that is about all I am capable of writing right now. I am still three days behind, but I will try to catch up as we travel to Austria by train today.

Farm House at Vogtsbauernhof

Palace at Ludwigburg

Our “tour bus” for our Karlsruhe Stay

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.