Friday, December 30, 2011

Beautiful Bamberg and farewell to Germany

On Tuesday the 27th Claudia's friend Matthias came for the day. After breakfast we headed off to Bamberg which is about a 25 minute drive from Heiligenstadt. Bamberg is a little jewel of a city - about 70,000 people. Lots of history and beautiful buildings. We visited two churches at the beginning of our visit - one very ornate Roman Catholic one and another more simplistic Lutheran one. Then along some narrow little roads - more like alleys really and over to Venice of the North. I have to laugh as it seems a lot of cities have Little Venice or some variation of it. I think it would be prettier in the summer but it was interesting. From there we walked into the shopping area and got a good look at the beautiful old Rathaus - town hall. I much prefer the German name though as it's so true. Well that is insulting rats actually. :) I will try to post a picture of it - complete with a plaster leg sticking out one side! I have been there in the 80's in the summer but that didn't stop me taking winter pictures of it! We had a nice lunch - I had pork schnitzel with noodles - these are a few of my favourite things, when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad....oops wrong town, sorry! After lunch we headed over to the cathedral which was beautiful - Matthias bought me a detailed leaflet so was able to walk around and learn about everything. I admire the faith that built that church - or was it something else? Whatever I just don't get it....Hmmm....don't get me started on religion please. I just don't think Jesus had all these showy buildings in mind when he was out there doing his religion is treat everyone the way you want to be treated (with kindness) and that's it. As the Dali Lama says "my religion is kindness".

Of course what should we do after the visit then go for coffee and cake. And what did I have? Well black forest cake needless to say and the best I've ever had. We then headed out of town to the Seehof Palace. We didn't visit inside as it was closed but we walked around outside. It would be spectacular in the summer.

Back "home" for bread, sausages and cheese and stollen for dessert. My last evening in Germany....

The next morning Claudia and Erna drove me to Forcheim to catch the train to Paris. Sad to say goodbye to such good friends. I am so fortunate to have friends around the world - this penpal habit I've had since my teens has opened up the world to me and penpals have become good friends.

Luckily changing trains was smooth in most places with escalators or no climbing required - yay. The ICE (intercity express) trains were awesome - very clean and fast. At one point while waiting for the loo it showed that it was going 313 km an hour! The loos started out nice but my last visit was rather disturbing - let's just say there was fluid on the walls and leave it at that. Ick.

Arrived into Paris ten minutes late and was able to get the metro after waiting in line to get a ticket for a while - luckily it was on the same line number 4 from Gare d'est but I had a little trouble finding the place but finally did. Simon was there to greet me. Simon is taking care of Margot's dog Sadie. He is a true Parisian - his parents are Japanese and they moved to Paris to go to school and Simon was born here. Very helpful young man.

Margot, who owns the flat is in India at present. She is an American who has lived in Europe since the 80's.

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A walk along the coffin trail (and a couple of lakes) in the Lake District

While in the Lake District I wanted to do some light walking but not heavy duty hiking where I could easily get lost and my body not found ...