Thursday, March 31, 2011


Monday, October 9th, 2000 On The Road Again!

Woke up about 4 am….due to going to sleep before 10 pm. But got back to sleep and slept until about 7 am. Jim’s game plan worked and he was able to get the car out of the parking lot before the attendant arrived. He’s parked in town and we have to get moving before we get a ticket for being there. He made two trips with luggage before breakfast. Paid the bill, ate (and made our sandwiches and took an apple and two cheeses) before leaving. The rain was starting as we made the last trip to the car. Jim ran to the drug store, which had just opened to check on Vitamin C for Martha. Found some large tablets, which we thought, were chewable. As we were driving he tried one….it started to fizz in his mouth! Looks like they are similar to Alkerselzer! Will have to drop one in a glass of water tonight!

We were on the road before 9 am headed back to Salzburg and then to Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass. Due to the snow we’ve decided to stay on the Autobahn and play it safe and fast to get to our destination of Vicenza before dark! When we stopped at a station Jim found a new hat. His wax hat from Britain has disappeared. Hopefully we’ll find it somewhere in the luggage. Couldn’t find it in the room or the car this morning. Only other place we could have left it was in the restaurant where we ate lunch yesterday, but that was still closed as we left town. [Never found....assume it was in the restaurant!]

When we packed today we put everything inside the car that we’d need tonight. Also got out the money belts…we’re headed into Italy! Pickpocket heaven! On the road we saw more of the straw people. Farmers build fantastic displays near the highways using all kinds of props and clothes on them. Each display is very unique!

After Salzburg we were back in Germany. As we reentered Austria Jim saw the sign about the mandatory $25 sticker requirement. Helps pay for their roads we think. Made a decision to just keep going. We were only going to be in Austria for another hour and after a week without it we decided to keep going! Hear that the fine is very steep if they stop you and you don’t have one. But, we managed to reach Italy without any problems. Went through Innsbruck about noon then headed south to the Brenner Pass and arrived in Italy about 1 pm. Finally, WARM WEATHER! We stopped and changed some of the Austria Shillings to Lire which should help. We were able to use some of the German Marks we have to pay the final toll of the day. The Lire is worth about 2200 = $1.00.

Arrived in Verona about 3 pm and made it to Vinceza about 4 pm. Took us about an hour to located the hotel and get our room. Jim finally had to walk to find the hotel, which is located off the main square in a pedestrian only street. We were allowed to drive the car in to unload and then took the car to a parking garage. Ate our sandwiches in the room and then called home to let them know that we'd arrived in Italy. Then we went for a walk to the train station to check it out as we plan to go to Venice tomorrow by train. Back to the hotel, ice cream cones and a stroll around the area before settling in for the night. Very nice room but no television. We’re getting used to being without. A second call home informed us that I had received a notice for jury duty when I arrive home!

Vicenza is about midway between Verona and Venice. It is famous for it’s architecture. Andrea Palladio designed many of the buildings. His designs were also used to do Washington, DC and Thomas Jefferson’s home, Montecello. It is one of the wealthiest towns in Italy per the guidebooks. Jim says that this town is more like a Roman City would look had they not been destroyed over the centuries. Many large buildings with columns in front. Like looking at the backs of Nickels the guidebooks say! Plan to spend Wednesday in town investigating the place. Our hotel is located just off the main Plaza in a pedestrian zone. Hard to locate, but worth the effort. Our room is on the first floor, no TV but very, very nice. Do hear the desk noise up to about 10 or 11 pm. But not too bad.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Sunday, October 8th, 2000 Hallstett, Austria

Awake at 6 am. Breakfast at 8:30 am. Young son was only one up when we went down. He called his mother on the phone and then made us coffee and tea; brought out the milk and juice. Everything else, including the bread, had apparently been put out the night before. We were so happy to get the coffee and tea that we didn’t ask about the lunchmeat and cheese that we usually use for sandwiches. The usual buns were 3 slices of rye bread! The only other guest in the hotel was a German man who spoke no English. He came down about fifteen minutes after us. So, we will go out for lunch today!

Church was at 10 am. Beautiful old Catholic Church that's located at the top of the hill. It’s over 100 steps up, but Jim had found a way to get there without going all the way to the bottom so our climb up was less. After church we went to the graveyard. People were putting out candles on the graves and tending the flowers. We went to the Carnal House to see the bones. Up until 1960, when the Catholic Church approved cremation; the bodies were buried for twelve years and then dug up to make room for new bodies. The skulls were lovingly painted with their name, dates, and ivy for the men and roses for the women. Then the other bones are stacked below the tables very neatly.

Then we went down into the village to a gift shop where Jim had found Idylviess Earrings to match the necklace he’d purchased in 1977 on his first trip to Austria. A gift for Martha! Back to the warm room, it’s cold outside! Wrote our postcards for Austria, we had ten postage stamps to use. Now Jim is on a walk about town to look for potential places to visit this afternoon to enjoy lunch! Still clear outside. You can see the snow on the mountains across the lake from our room. I'm propped up in bed having fun with the computer!

About 2 pm we walked over to the restaurant with the horse on the sign. We’d seen it the other night and the Canadians had recommended it to us. Had a wonderful lunch of vegetarian pizza, salads and wine. Beautiful transformation of a horse stables into a restaurant still retaining the stable favor! Walked back to the post office and then to the hotel. It was our late lunch early dinner! [Jim left his favorite wax hat on the shelf behind the booth and when we checked back on Monday morning before leaving... the restaurant was we left a memento in Hallstett!]

Jim is taking lots of walks today from one end of the town to the other. He’s also trying to make a trip to the car to get things for dinner in the room without encountering the attendant who will try to collect a fee! Remember that’s 130 steps up and down each time. Finally on the trip about 5:30 she was gone. He picked up the bottle of wine and breads that we have in the car along with Trix Candy Bars for dessert!

Came back to the room. Martha read the first twenty days of the Journal to Jim during our dinner/dessert! It took two hours to do this. But he did get to add a few tidbits! It’s 8 pm now and we’re going to read until bedtime. We leave early tomorrow for Italy. Still clouds but during the late afternoon you could actually see the snow covered mountain peaks! Really a very nice relaxing day! Beautiful but cold…Jim says that it is about thirty-five degrees outside!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Saturday, October 7th, 2000 Day trip to Salzburg......

Still raining….Jim hit the side of the wardrobe during the night and the door came open. It woke us both up as it creaks like intersactum!! Down to breakfast about 8:30, we were the only ones there even though there was another table set for four people.

Jim counted the steps up to the parking lot this morning…130 steps! But there was also a fantastic waterfall, which was very loud. Water was coming off of the mountain at a very rapid pace due to the excessive rain we’ve had over the past several days! Stopped at the store on the way out and got everything we needed except for Vitamin C which is why we stopped. Oh well. Need to find an Apothecary Store for that. We drove to the area to catch the tram for the Ice Caves. They were closed for at least two hours due to excess water, which was making them very slippery! We decided not to wait to see if they would open and headed for Salzburg. Mentioned to Jim that he should start keeping his coke and water in the pocket of the door as it makes a great refrigerator. He’d been using the storage under the armrest in between the seats. It was getting the heat from the back seat heater. Big difference he soon discovered!

Arrived in Salzburg about noon, parked the car and headed for the Mozart Museum. Walked past our Laundromat that we used in 1997! The footbridge is closed for repairs. Noticed that there were life size cows all over town. They were each painted and decorated by different stores. Example, one was painted green and had a hole with a golf tee in the top with a golf ball stuck near the hole! One was cut in half and glued to each side of a store window! They were all very cleaver. Asked one clerk in the museum and she kinda shrugged them off. Fund raiser of some sort. Said they’d had them all over Europe. [And, ten years later they are still using the cows throughout Europe for fund raisers!]

The Birthplace Museum was great. Saw Mozart’s rooms that were set up with displays of instruments he’d used. The Museum had purchased the house next door and connected the two. They set up rooms with furniture used during the period that Mozart’s family lived in this house. We were able to tag onto a tour of students with an English-speaking guide. Very helpful and she added lots of information to each stop. Then we walked over to the newest museum, which is the house they moved into when Mozart was 17 years old. The building was destroyed in WW II. Finally repurchased in 1990s; they had recently completed the rebuilding as it was originally when Mozart lived there. It was state of the art and we had hand carried recorders that were activated by transmitters in the ceilings. The records were capable of several different languages. You had to be near the transmitter for it to speak to you. Really great system! Lots of his music used on the tapes. At the end we had a twenty-minute slide show using our recorders for sound about his trips throughout Europe as a child prodigy.

Back to the parking lot and headed home. Rained all day! We make a quick stop at the church where they filmed the wedding scene for Sound of Music...we'd seen it on a Sound of Music Tour when we stayed in Salzburg several years ago. Arrive home and found parking in Lot 1 again. Walked to the public telephones and tried those. Finally found some Canadians who suggested we give up and buy a telephone card. We did and were finally able to make some telephone calls. Must admit, it was easy to use. Back to the hotel, dropped things off and went back to the first restaurant that we went to on Thursday evening; Gasthof WeiBes Lammon. Martha had the same thing again and Jim had Greek Salad and a huge bowl of pancake soup. Said he hadn’t had it since in was in Austria in 1977. It actually has pancake/crepes cut into thin slices in the soup. Plus half liter of beer apiece and then a quarter liter on top of that! Full and satisfied we walked back to the telephones where we used our new telephone card to make more calls home! Got back to the room about 9 pm.

Working on my computer as Jim reads his Rick Steves’ guidebook (and taking Tums). He really is in to those books! But, I told him tonight at dinner, in the future we can visit Hallstatt, but no more overnights. It’s too far to commute to everything else. Would be better to stay near Salzburg and drive out to Hallstatt for a day’s visit! Church tomorrow at 10, so time to get some shut eye! I had two nights to do this evening, just wasn’t up to it last night. Having some troubles with stuffy nose; hope it not from the wet shoes! Hope to take a day off tomorrow and do nothing. But if the sun is out we’ll probably do the Ice Caves! Jim kept the heater on in the room all day today; so, we have a nice toasty room tonight. It was very cold when we got home last night! Jim is in the shower right now and I’m next! We’re calling this the three T’s Trip….trouble with telephones, toilet paper and televisions….we’re having trouble always finding them!

Monday, March 28, 2011


Friday, October 6th, 2000 Hallstatt, Austria

Woke up about 7 am…some high fog but sun is trying to come out. Down to breakfast about 8…only offered between 8 and 9 am. Breakfast room has all kinds of trophies from someone who was a hunter. Lots of sheep, goat, deer and elk horns; plus some actual animals and skins etc. We were concerned, as there didn’t seem to be many people in the Pension as to whether or not we’d be able to make our sandwiches for lunch. No problem. They had meat and cheese and gave us each two buns at our place. So we were able to make lunch with no problems.

By 9 we were out the door…opps it’s raining..Jim climbed back up the four flights of stairs to get the umbrellas and maps. Then, he went back again for the car keys! He’d worked up a sweat by the time we left the Pension. We checked with the information office and they said that rain and snow were predicted for the whole weekend so we decided to get into the car and drive two hours back into Germany to see Ludwig II’s third castle called Herrencheimsee which is about an hour back past Salzburg towards Munich. It’s on an island in Lake Cheimsee. We’ll save the Ice Caves until Saturday. Long walk to the car. Jim had followed Rick Steves instructions and parked in Lot 2 which is at the other end of town. Loooooong Walk! Will try Lot 1 tonight when we get home. Landlady had recommended it but we followed instructions! Actually only about 10 minutes, but it seemed longer in the rain. But, no attendant, so the parking was free for the first night!

We left Hallstatt about 10 am and arrived in Gstadt around 12:30 pm. Took a little longer as we went the long way around the lake. We don’t have very detailed maps and sometimes we take the wrong road here and there! Found parking and ate our lunch in the car before starting out for the boat dock. We decided we needed some more German marks. There was a bank, which was closed for lunch; but we saw a couple go inside and use the ATM. When they came out we asked them for help. They were from Switzerland and showed us how to use a credit card to make the door open so that we could get into the inside to use the ATM. Then we got 200 Marks…probably too much but no choice as they won’t take Austria Shillings and we aren’t sure how much the castle entry fee will be.

About 1 pm we were able to catch a boat. It took us first to an island with a convent and then to the one with the Monastery. We got off there. It’s called Herrenchiemsee. Herren is man in German and the rest is the name of the lake. So it’s the King’s Castle on this island.

We had a twenty-minute walk in the rain…and we went fast as there was an English tour starting at 2 and another at 4. We made the 2 o’clock tour…had to run to catch up with them in the third room. But well worth it. She was very knowledgeable. This Castle was a reproduction of Versailles in Paris. Ludwig II’s idol was King Louie XIV who built Versailles. There are no paintings or bust of Ludwig. Everything looks like it was built Centuries before. Only forty of the two hundred rooms were finished before his death. But, they were beautiful. Everything is on a grander scale but otherwise a carbon copy. Ludwig came about sixty times during the construction; but only spent ten days in the castle after he’d completed several of the rooms. [We were not allowed to take photographs inside so have scanned a few of the postcards I purchased so that you can see the splendor of the castle!]

The state rooms were never used, as during those ten days, he had no visitors during his entire stay. In the bedroom he used during those ten days there was a blue ball suspended in front of the bed. It held three candles and gave a moonlight glow. His bed had stars in the material of the ceiling of the four poster bed. Since he preferred the night, this room was designed to allow him to create an effect of being night even in the middle of the day. Although electricity was invented prior to the building of this castle; to create his illusion, all of the light was by candles. The family had the first tour groups organized within six weeks of his death to generate cash. They auctioned most of his things off to help pay the debt that he’d created in building his palaces. The Rockafellows from New York purchased truckloads of his things.

Something good did resulted from the building of these castles; a generations of craftsmen were trained to do the art work necessary to recreate the churches and castles of Europe after the destruction of WW II. It also gave thousands of people jobs. As this was located on a lake the supplies were driven over the ice as it was frozen about two months in each winter.

Back to the car by 4 pm. On the way back on the boat a gentlemen talked to Jim all the way about the United States. He was German, from a town near Hildeburg. He’d been to the United States many times. His English was excellent and I think he wanted to practice with Jim. He was leading a week-long tour for an annual outing for a social club that he belonged to. Probably retired, he had been trained as a Mining Engineer and ended up working for a company that developed a tool to cut diamond stones. His 25th wedding anniversary trip had been to USA on a Delta Tour very similar to our first trip to France in 1992. Twenty-one days to fly anywhere in the USA. [One of these days I'll blog that trip for you...lots of good memories and the beginning of our travels to Europe!]

Back to Hallstatt by 7 pm and we found parking in Lot 1. Lots of steps but once we were down we were almost home! We went to Gasthaus Muhle’s Restaurant for a wonderful pizza dinner with huge salads. Back to the hotel…telephone still not working. Very frustrating. Also, they had done nothing to the rooms! Our beds were still unmade. Went down and did get some extra towels using lots of sign English spoken here!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Thursday, October 5th, 2000 Traveling to Hallstatt in Austria

Up before 6 am, we finished breakfast by 7:30. Spent some time talking with a couple from Texas and her sister from North Carolina. They’d just arrived last night and were headed to Interlaken in Switzerland so shared our favorite places with them from our trip last year. They were going to the castles today so we told them how to find the ride on the horse wagons if they didn’t want to walk all the way up the hill. Weather is overcast but not raining.

Jim had packed the car before breakfast and we were on the road to Garmisch Partenkirchen by 8:15. Arrived there by 9:15, then on to Reutte. From Reutte we headed towards Mittenwald to see the violin museum. On the way Jim spotted a truck on the side of the road with a huge Elk in the back. It was about 9 am and we were in the town of Griesen. Jim turned around and we requested permission to take a picture. At first they jokingly said yes, but for money! There were three men standing there inspecting the trophy. The youngest of the three had shot it in the local mountains. There were at least five points on each horn!

The rain was starting, but only lasted for about a half-hour. We arrived in Mittenwald about 9:45 am; parked and found the museum by asking for directions from some clerks in a drug store. It is the Geigenbau und Heimatmuseum and chronicals the history of violin making from the early 1600’s. Not only violins by the dozen but also several rooms restored to the early 1600-1700 periods. The historic figure of note was Mathias Klotz, the one to bring the craft to Mittenwald.

Back on the road about 11 am; we headed for Innsbruck, Austria. Arrived about 11:30. Found the Zentrum, parking and a bank in that order. The ATM would only take the credit union card so we used it three times and got some Austria Shillings. The value is 15 to one dollar. So 1,000 ATS is only worth about $67.00. Next we searched for a water closet or toilette! Asked and asked and asked…finally got the final directions from a horse cart driver. The only public toilet was in the park next to the Theater, the Dom and the Holtsburg. Wow! Were we ever glad to find that! Interesting sidelight, the attendant in the women’s was a man and in the men’s it was a woman. Felt much better and well worth the 5 ATS it cost! We then went back into the Zentrum and enjoyed the old buildings dating back to eleventh and twelfth century. The church was St. Jacok (St. James), very plain on the outside but rococo inside. We left Innsbruck about 1:30 pm and ate our lunch (packed at breakfast) in the car as we headed towards St. Johann.

Arrived in St. Johann about 2:45; clear weather. Jim had trouble remembering everything as it was over twenty years ago when he stayed here for two weeks when he competed in the World Senior Bike Race...same year that Elvis Presley died. It's much bigger now! Saw a McDonalds on the edge of town; he commented that he probably would have eaten better if that had been there then. He’d had trouble reading the menus in the 1980's. Parked the car and walked around town, stopped by his old Pension. It looks like it is just a private residence now.

Then we went into the church and also looked at the bicycle shop which was closed. Back to the car and on our way by 4 pm. Headed toward Hallstatt by way of Salzburg. Note on cows. Almost all of them are contained in their pastures by a thin cord which could easily be knocked over by them…they must be trained by electric charge on a single wire from the time they are young. Jim’s comment on St. Johann was that just as Thomas Wolfe said, “you can’t go home again”. Things change with time. Progress keeps marching!

Arrived in Hallstatt about 18:13 which is 6:13 pm. Still light out, overcast and dusk is arriving. Jim found the Hotel Seethaler. Down a walkway that they call a street. Then up many stairs, into the house and up another three flights of stairs. No English spoken. The first room had no bathroom. So we requested a different room. Finally got room number 13. It’s on the top floor. Has a bathroom. No towel racks in the bathroom. Had trouble getting two bath towels, which are really hand towels so that we could shower tonight. Fortunately we have a bar of soap with us. Will have to get that cleared up tomorrow. We only have one electrical outlet that we can use.

But the view is fantastic. You can see all the way over the lake! We got settled in and then went walking for dinner. Found one restaurant that was open and took advantage of it. Nice, and also good food. We really enjoyed our dinner. We met a mother and daughter who were traveling together on the train. Only had backpacks. They’d been to Prague and were telling us all about it and how great it is! They were speaking both English and French. They were from Montreal Canada. Also two girls arrived before we were done and one was from Mexico and the other from Atlanta Georgia.

We walked home by moonlight and settled in for the night. About 10 pm another guest arrived and was looking for a room with a shower…he settled for the room that we’d turned down??? We’ll see what happens tomorrow. We’d locked our door and they tried to open it. Oh Well!

Interesting comment from Jim tonight. He’s really going to start working on his diet when we get home. Just like I quit smoking fifteen years ago; he’s going to quit eggs, butter, cheese, ice cream, etc.! We’ll see. But, to be honest; he has done well on this trip. Hardly any butter or eggs. And he’s trying more salad and even cucumbers! It's tough when you've never had to watch what you eat and then as age creeps in and we do less exercise it suddenly begins to matter what we eat!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Wednesday, October 4th, 2000 Fussen

The weather is overcast, but not raining this morning. We were both up early after a restless night and finished breakfast and were out the door before 9 am. Our plan today was to drive to Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau, which are located just north of Fussen. A short twenty-minute drive, we arrived at the site and found parking up at the top near the start of the road up the mountain to Neuschwanstein; cars are not allowed to drive up the mountain. Jim was rather turned around as we came in from the South instead of from the North as we’d always done in the past. Hohenschwangau, Ludwig's father's castle, is located at the parking lot.

We’ve seen both of these castles twice, so the plan today is to hike! We walked up the road to Neuschwanstein and it was still very foggy. For those that don't want to walk there are several horse drawn wagons that you can ride on for a fee. From there we went to Marian’s Bridge, a short ten-minute walk past the castle. Normally this is a spectacular view, which we’ve never seen, of the castle. So much fog you could hardly see the stream below the bridge let alone the castle down the hill. So we decided to continue up the mountain towards Tegelbergbahm. The sign said that it was a three-hour hike. We were looking for something to kill time while we waited for the fog to lift; so we started up the hill. Tegelbergbahm is a mountain with a cable car going up. Some go up and walk down this path. A few walk up and then go down the cable car and are bussed about thirty minutes back to the castle area. This is also where the brave ones start their daredevil hang gliding…right from the top of the mountain and some from the top of the cable car!

About two hours into the hike on switch back trails mostly, but all up hill; we decided to go back to the castles. Jim had gone ahead of Martha finally and she stayed with a very nice German family; father and his two teenage daughters who spoke limited English. The father finally gave Martha his walking stick and made another for himself. It really helped and we’re going to take it home as a souvenir if there’s room at the end of the trip! It was about an hour going back down the mountain; but the fog had lifted and we had our spectacular views of the castle and the valley below. Took lots of photographs! Offered to take a photo of a Japanese couple and then they took one of us together. Then the wife asked if they could take a photo of us with her! Lots of Japanese tours in this area.

Arrived back at the car about 2 pm, ate our lunch and headed back to the hotel to rest. After a short time we walked over to the castle in town to take a look at the Local Art Gallery in the castle. Our ticket yesterday to the Monastery included this tour so decide to make use of the tickets. The best part was the Monastery Church, St. Mang; just outside the palace. It was a lot like the Church in the Meadow. All done in Bavaria Rococo style with crystal chandeliers. There was also an interesting display about a Redemption Priest who was trained in Germany but became a priest in America. He trained other priest and conducted retreats in America. They wanted him to be Bishop of Pittsburg but he turned it down. He died of Yellow Fever in New Orleans in 1867. He is now known as Blessed Franz Xaver Seelos. There have been several miracles before and since his death, which were attributed to him. Then last but not least, there is a red neon ladder outside the church on the steeple, which starts at the bottom, curves up and to the sky. Their name for it is Jacob’s Ladder! At night it lights up and is visible for miles!

Enjoyed some ice cream and sat in the shopping area listening to two young men playing their instruments. One was a lute and the other had a guitar, together they made some very beautiful music. Back at the hotel we called home to let them know we were okay and to say hello; then it was time to go to dinner. We walked to the Infooday recommended by Rick Steves. He said it was under the palace. But it was actually on Ritterstrassa, which is one block before the palace. The name of the place was WunschBuffet. You filled your plates and they weighed it to figure the price. It was 1.99 per gram for vegetables and 2.99 for hot food. Those along with German draft beer made a great last dinner in Fussen. Home to pack, wash hair and set the alarm for 7 am for an early start. It’s now 9:30 and Jim is already fast asleep. Think its time to close and read a little before lights out!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Tuesday, October 3rd, 2000 Fussen

I tried to send e-mails over AOL all evening up to midnight and again at 5 am, but no luck. Asked clerk and she said we were unable to connect a laptop from inside the hotel. So we’ll wait for Austria and try there.

After breakfast we walked in the rain until 1 pm. Went to the castle, Hohes Schloss that was closed until 11 am. Today is a National Holiday, German Unification, and so most everything is closed or opening later and closing earlier. But, we were able to get into the courtyard of the castle and see the wonderful paintings on the outside of the buildings. From there we went into the Baumgarten, a beautiful park along the Lech River with asphalt walkways; good to have on this rainy day. This took us to a beautiful woodsy walk, a little muddy but not bad. We were very glad we each had our own umbrella and had dressed warmly. I had my ear muffs on with gloves. Jim had his wax hat from England and we both had several layers of clothes on under our coats.

As we neared the waterfall area we discovered a marble road marker for the Via Claudia Augusta Road, a Roman Road. This same road crossed over the Alps over what is now the Brenner Pass. Eventually, after much up and down hills and several sets of directions in German; we made it the hard way through Bad Faulenbach (a small village with homes and Pensions) to the thunderous waterfall of Lech Falls. They were beautiful and well worth the trip! Reminded us of the ones in Switzerland. The water is very green so must be from a glacier somewhere under the ground. The force of the water was tremendous. Then we took the road…yes; you can drive right to them or take a very short walk from town by the road! We were back in Fussen within minutes. There we stopped at a beautiful chapel on the edge of town. On to St. Mang, the Benedictine Monastery, dating back to the year 830. It is now a museum, which gives the story of the Monastery, the history of the violin and especially lute making from 1562, and the rope factory, which was the main employer of the people of Fussen for hundreds of years. The chapel of the Monastery has a special painting done in twenty panels entitled: Dance With Death. The saying is that, “Say yes, say no, everyone dances with death”. Which says that from the pope to the child to the artist; everyone has to die. The panels were done in 1602 by Jacob Hiebeler.

After the museum it was 2 pm so we decided to eat our late lunch. We’re saving our sandwiches to eat just prior to the concert tonight which starts at 7 pm. Purchased some postcards and found that the larger ones need three postage stamps. Always something new! Hope the ones I sent with only two stamps make it! Jim found a small compass; this we’ve needed several times during the trip already. That and a magnifying glass would be terrific for finding our way on these roads and maps. Split a lunch at Pic Nic and went to our room to get out of our wet shoes and clothes. Spent the afternoon in our room drying out, watching TV, computer work and generally resting for the Musical tonight. The Musical is being performed in their new theater that is built into Lake Forgensee with views of two of Ludwig II’s castles. His family home (birthplace) of Hohenschwangau and the most famous of them all Neuschwanstein; used by Walt Disney for Disneyland!

The rain stopped about 5 pm. Still carried the umbrellas just in case. The musical was wonderful. Contrary to what the clerk said; we decided to go out to the theater about 6 pm as we wanted to walk around a bit. Well, when we arrived the place was already packed. Lots of people were eating their dinner there in several different restaurants within the theater complex. Others were enjoying drinks. We were allowed to go into the theater and set right outside our door to wait for the doors to open. Play was scheduled to start at 7 pm. We were amazed when the doors didn’t open until about 6:45 and everyone was seated and we actually started only about five minutes late! Then, at the intermission, everyone had to leave the seating area. They locked the doors and we were not permitted back into the seating area for 45 minutes! Another interesting thing was that the actors all had flesh colored mini microphones attached to their faces! The sound was great but they were very distracting when you looked through the binoculars! (These are commonly used worldwide today in theatres.) We did have some help with the language. Above the stage was a caption area with the substance of what they were saying in four languages: Italian, English, Japanese and French. But, as Jim said there were several punch lines that we didn’t understand. A very nice American family was seated next to us from Texas. The husband was a doctor who spoke at a meeting in Munich and they’d brought their three daughters for a short visit with them. All three girls were still suffering from jet lag and slept off and on during the performance. Jim overheard one of the daughters who was rather upset that the German’s assumed that they were American and always spoke to them in English. They were dark skinned and possibly that’s why. Rather interesting observation from a teenager!

It was a beautiful night out and we could see both of Ludwig II’s castles across the lake. Rather a fairyland quality to them with the lights on against the Black Mountains. Two of the best parts were when they had real white horses pulling his sleigh at night with snow falling. So real it was hard to believe it was make believe. Then at the very end Ludwig walks into a lake as he commits suicide by drowning. Then the lake reappears on stage as the fountain at Linderhof with the three Nymphs or Muses who are very instrumental to the whole musical. We were out about 10 pm and headed home for a candy bar and bed!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Monday, October 2nd, 2000 Fussen

Up and out before 9 am, and it was raining again! Checked on doing Laundry in Fussen but the only place we found did it for you and they wanted three days! Checked with the information house and a girl there told us that there was a self-service only about thirty km away in Kempten. Since it was raining; we were game so we loaded up the car and took off. Mostly country roads all the way there. Arrived in Kempten, found their information house and got directions to the Washateria! It took 32 DM and about two hours but we had clean clothes again! No change machine so I sent Jim out to find some while I sorted the laundry into the machines. On a trip to get change for the machines, Jim purchased a bag of tulip bulbs to take home. I went on the next trip and was able to obtain more change for the dryer at a wallpaper/carpet store nearby!

Left Kempten at 2 pm as we ate our lunch (sandwiches from breakfast) in the car on our way over more country roads to Oberammagau by way of Marktoberdorf and Schongau. By 3 pm we’d found the road south and went over the Pollat Gorge on a bridge known as Echelsbacher Brucke which is 250 feet high!

Raining in Oberammagau and the place was packed with tourists there to attend the Passion Play which is performed for fifteen weeks every ten years. It’s been going on for centuries to give thanks for saving them from the plague in the Middle Ages. Checked things out and found that there are only twenty tickets available on a first come first serve basis every morning. I think we’ll wait until 2010 and get our tickets early. Talked to the clerk in the Wolf Hotel and she said to try about three years ahead and to really push them hard about it not being too early. We have to specifically request the Wolf Hotel if we want it. Bought some postcards and headed out. We stayed at the Wolf Hotel on a visit in 1997 and it is a charming place to rest your head...but not during the Passion Play's booked sold long in advance.

By 5 pm we were in Garmisch Partenkirchen. What a delightful town. We’d been there before but didn’t take time to find the really charming old part of the town. Want to go back. Would be a great place to spend a few days. Lots of hiking areas. Still raining. Back on the road we headed towards Reutte which is actually in Austria (we crossed the boarder twice). We were not as impressed with Reutte as Rick Steves. We like Fussen just as well if not better. Back on the road again and home to Fussen, arriving about 7 pm. Decided to use the bottle of wine from the store last Saturday and picked up food from a sidewalk café called Pic Nic. We had a whole bottle of wine and great German food on paper plates in the room.

Right now it is nearly 11 pm, Jim is sound asleep and I’m trying to sign on to AOL on my laptop by using the telephone lines. I haven’t been very successful in finding cyber shops so am attempting to do this tonight. Hope I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to connect. I have a German telephone line but it’s difficult to get access as it’s so busy. (So much easier ten years later with all of the improved technology!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Sunday, October 1st, 2000 Travel Day to Fussen

Woke up at 5 am and went back to sleep until 7. Up and packed, we had breakfast about 7:30 am. Paid the bill and got on the road by 8:15 am. Drove past the church in Bingen as it was too early for their 9:30 Mass. Raining steady all morning. As we drive we’re listening to an American Radio Station.98.70 FM…a broadcast from an American Air Base somewhere in Europe. It goes in and out!

Sun is trying to peak out of the dark clouds. About 10 am we stopped in a town called Pforzheim for Mass. The town is all very new which indicates that it was probably bombed rather drastically during WW II. Near Stuttgart so is probably highly industrialized. It took us a few minutes to find the church; first one we went to was Evangelical! But made the Roman Catholic Church in plenty of time. They were having a children’s Mass and also a celebration of the Harvest. Children were putting on a play when we arrived. As the mass continued we had still not done the Creed. But, due to the play, no sermon! Very modern church. Back on the road about 11:30 am. Lunch on the road with our sandwiches made at breakfast saved us some time. We’ve started adding carrots to our sandwiches…makes them nice and crunchy. The German breakfast is a full meal with meats and vegetables along with the normal breakfast items.

Arrived in Fussen at 2:30 pm after nearly a half-hour traffic jam on a country road caused by an accident. We were nearly there when it happened. Weather has been fairly good most of the afternoon, but it started to rain just as we were checking into the hotel.

We spent several hours resting from the trip and enjoying a TV in the room. Our beds are so beautifully made it's a shame to take them apart...but we did! About 5:30 pm we walked two miles each way to a McDonalds for Martha’s weekly fix of a Big Mac and Strawberry Shake! It was only raining lightly so the walk was good for us! Back at the hotel we wrote postcards, yes even Jim wrote three of them!

Now it’s early evening. We’re going to have a busy schedule during our stay in Fussen as we’ve got lots to see in Bavaria over the next three days. We have tickets to attend the new musical, “Ludwig II”, being performed at their new theater on Lake Forgensee with a view of Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the first year this new musical has ever been performed. It opened in March of 2000. It’s the thing to do other than the Passion Play in Oberammergau, which we’re going to try for but it’s been sold out for years as it is only performed every ten years. Will try from returned tickets tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Saturday, September 30th, 2000 Luxembourg

I asked Letty to phone Fussen for us regarding arriving between 6 and 8 PM on Sunday. Added caffeine to my coffee, thanks to having purchased Nestles Instant Coffee at our trip to the store in Brugge, and fixed sandwiches at breakfast. By 10 am we were on our way to Bingen and the Autobahn. While in Bingen we saw a Catholic Church and found that it has a 9:30 mass on Sunday so we will be stopping tomorrow on our way to Fussen.

Rain started about noon but we continued on the road to Luxembourg. It is a very small country between France and Germany. Arrived about 1 pm. Realized we’d need different money. I asked the people walking past us and finally a good Samaritan gave us enough in Luxembourg coins for twenty minutes on a parking meter in exchange for DM. Then we walked to the Gare (Train Station). Found a machine and got the smallest amount possible and that was 3,000 Lux equal to about $75. Needed money for parking and to go to the toilet!!! But the toilette attendant wouldn’t take 1,000 bill, but agreed to take DM for the toilette!! (me thinks DM would have worked most everywhere!) The flies that were painted on the urinals in the men’s bathroom fascinated Jim! He said they looked very real! He also said that this was the first time it had cost him $75 to go the bathroom!! Then we went to information and found where we could exchange the three 1,000 bills. The machine gave us 450 francs francs and balance in Lux change. So confusing! But we’re going back to France and will be able to use it. Asked someone on the street and they said that Luxembourg required people to accept the French franc, except for machines for parking, etc. Drove over to the City Centre and into a parking garage.

It was starting to rain harder as we left the parking garage but we found several interesting statutes, buildings and plazas. Then we found the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was very old. Picked up a postcard and headed back to the car after taking several photos from the outside in the rain! Also stopped at a kitchen store to purchase a cheese grater, which we think will take the dead bugs out of the sand from D-Day beach that we collected to give to a good friend as a gift. It’s in a plastic bag in the trunk of the car! Thought we’d put enough coins into the parking meter, but when we attempted to leave, the attendant said we hadn’t paid. What we thought was change was actually all of our money being returned! Crazy new currency was a mystery to us. The attendant took a 10-franc piece and paid our fee, which was about 40 Lux, and we were on our way. Ate our sandwiches and headed back into Germany! Used the balance of the change for two Dove Ice Cream treats at a stop on the Autobahn just before crossing the boarder!

Then we stopped at Trier. A large town near the boarder, it was once a capital of the area when this was part of the Roman Empire. They were having a street fare and we got to watch some German maiden’s dancing in costume. Still raining, but that didn’t seem to stop them. Everyone was drinking wine and beer as they watched. We found the birthplace of Karl Marx, the founder of Communism, the Basilica, which was build during the Roman times and used by Constantine. It is the largest intact Roman structure outside of Rome. It is 100 feet tall and 200 feet long. Has been used as a church since 1856. The Cathedral or Dom was built in 326 by Constantine. The Treasury has the Robe of Christ and a nail from the crucifixion. Both are very rarely displayed. Also there is a glass building surrounding the Roman Baths which have recently been excavated very near the Basilica. Another Roman structure that was very impressive is called Porta Nigra, the only remaining gate into the city. It was saved because at one time it was made into a church. Back on the road before 6 pm..... it rained during our whole stay in Trier.

Back to Bacharach by 8 pm and a light dinner of soup, cheese and wine at Kurpfalzische Munze, a popular local Café. It’s nearly 11 pm and Jim is sound asleep. Time to put this to bed. A very good day. Saw lots of interesting things.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Friday, September 29, 2000 Bacharach

Met Heidi & Kent at breakfast along with another nice couple from Arizona. All decided to met for wine tasting about 7:30 PM. The people from Arizona are Terry and Shirley and they have 6 children and 13 grandchildren. So...we've lots to talk about!

After breakfast, used the Internet to send out several joint letters to as many as I could write in thirty minutes. People were waiting in line and we had to wait about thirty minutes to get on the machine.

Walking back to the hotel, Jim eyed a wood carving for longer than normal and we ended up purchasing one to take home. The owner put the town name on it and signed the back. Very pretty piece for our kitchen at home.

I had a caffeine withdrawal problem. No coke or candies for two days and we’ve discovered that the coffee at Letty’s is decalf!!!! Oh my! Terrible headache as we were leaving for the day trip and absolutely no energy!

Left about 10 am to go the Burg Eltz castle which is located near the Mosel River but in the forest. It is 700 years old and still privately owned by the original family. The countess makes sure that fresh flowers are in each room that the visitors see. It is furnished, as it was about 500 years ago. It’s a rather long drive off the highway and then you walk down the road quite apiece from the parking area. But well worth the effort. Only problem was that the tour was in German and we only had an English sheet for information. Instead of walking back up the hill for only 2 DM apiece we were able to ride up in a van!! Ate lunch (sandwiches saved from breakfast in the car as we left).

Found a coke at a nearby town called Munstermailfeld to cure my lack of caffeine problem! Just holding the coke helped!! Will take my instant coffee with me tomorrow to add to Letty’s at breakfast! Jim enjoyed the church in this town also.

The weather is very mild today. We have short sleeves on with no jackets. Sun is out and it is a very nice day! After returning to the Mosel River we decided to continue downstream to see the town of Beilstein which is across the river from Cochem. It is very quaint, Cinderella quality. On a hill, with narrow streets, half timbered houses, wine cellars, etc. Looks like a fun place to stay in the future.

We used the timer on the digital camera with the mini tripod to take some pictures together. They came out pretty good.

Back on the road about 4 pm we decided to go up to the Autobahn to make for a faster trip home. Arrived back about 6 pm in time to rest before dinner and wine tasting! About 7 pm we left and walked over to Weingut Zum Gruner Baum’s place. He is the president of the local wine Club. We had soup and wine and the rest of the group arrived about 8 pm and we continued with more wine and cheese plates. Wonderful evening with new found friends; arrived back at the hotel about 10:30 pm. Took some digital photos and promised to e-mail them each some.

We all talked about the train noise. Jim said if they’d put doors on the openings in the wall then we wouldn’t hear the Whump..Whump…Whump every twenty minutes when the train goes by. But we really shouldn’t complain because Shirley and Terry have to change hotels tonight as Letty doesn’t have room for them. They are going to be in the hotel right next to the track but the hotel does provides ear plugs for them!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Thursday, September 28th, 2000 Bacharach

Up about 8 am we went down to breakfast and met the couple from Washington and another young couple from Texas. Talked with them throughout the breakfast and Letty came in and sat with us. The Rick Steve’s tour that left Haarlam on Saturday morning had just left her place, the bus driver that is. She generally has the drivers and their families. This only has a few rooms. Letty is Filipino and was probably married to a military person??

Back to the room, it’s raining outside. I have decided to have a day off and Jim doesn’t want to go out into the rain. So he’s reading my book again. I reorganizes the luggage. Updated bookkeeping and journal. Jim finally went for a walk when the maid came to do the room. He found a Cyber Shop so we’ll go to do some e-mail this afternoon. Also got some DM from the ATM. [Oh how nice it is to have Euros now!]

Weather has cleared so guess I’ll close this for now and we’ll go see a castle or something.

Ate our lunch when Jim returned. Then we walked over to the Information Shop and I spent a half-hour on the Internet. Took about 15 minutes to learn how to work it and then another 15 minutes to clean out my mailbox. I had 130 messages, only 29 of them were worth saving. Then I was out of time. Jim arrived back and we walked around the town and up to the old gate. Saw a wonderful B&B that we’d love to stay at if we ever return.

Then we got into the car and drove to St. Goar where we toured the ruined castle. It was really great. It was sprinkling when we arrived so Jim didn’t take his video camera inside. It was so great he went back out to get it so that we could have views of the Rhine from the ramparts! Sun came out and it was a grand tour. Walked all the way around the surviving castle which is about one-fifth of the original size. It was one of the largest on the Rhine.

Went to Hotel Kranenturm, next door to Pension Letty’s, for dinner. Met a very nice couple from Salem, Oregon and two women traveling alone; they were leaving the next morning. Kent & Heidi are also staying at Pension Letty’s; we shared our wine with them. Home about 9 pm.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Wednesday, September 27, 2000 On the road south along the Rhine River

Had a quiet night even though we found later that there was a bar two floors down under our room. They’d closed the doors because of the rain and cold, which must have helped. At breakfast we met an English couple who recommended a place called Soul near St. Johann. Also gave us a card on the Hotel Gasthof Purner in Innsbruck. He was Polish and had lived in Italy during the war. He’d left Poland and gone to France, from there to England. Said he was 77 years old. They spend three weeks every year and come over by Ferry at Dover. They were at the end of their holiday.

Weather is overcast, we left about 9 am. During his morning walk, Jim had purchased a blue card for short time street parking at a gas station. That should help us. We arrived in Koln about 10: 30 am. Got diesel; trying to keep the car half full due the strikes that are still happening in Europe. It’s still overcast. Found the parking under the Cathedral, not an easy feat! As we were leaving the car we discovered it was starting to sprinkle so we took our umbrella…good thing as we needed them later!

Walked up to the top of the tower, 509 steps…highest one we’ve ever done. But well worth the energy. Then went inside and spent time admiring the beauty. The main altar has a gold shrine, which has held the remains of the Three Magi since 1164. Parts of the church were badly damaged during WWII. Still working on repairing that damage and damage done by the environment, pollution, etc. The book we purchased states that Cologne (another name for Kohn) has a saying, “When the Cathedral is finished the world is finished”. It was raining as we left.

Leaving Koln we worked our way down the East Side of the Rhine. Tried to stay next to the river, but lots of industry. By the time we reach Koblenz, the view improved and was well worth the extra trouble. Lots of castles, quaint villages, etc. Stopped at Marksburg Castle and took the tour. We missed the turn off at first and found ourselves on a winding two-lane road headed up the mountain…no place to turn around. After several miles, Jim finally took a chance and made the U-turn. Traffic was heavy on this road which made the turn rather risky, but didn’t see any alternative. Found the entrance and had a twenty-minute wait for the next tour. At tour time there was only a young couple from Colorado and us so they gave us a tour in English, which, according to Rick Steves is very rare! She was excellent and very informative. Castle has never been damaged and has furniture, plus many museum artifacts.

On the road to Bacharach by 5 pm. We needed to cross the river. Drove for nearly an hour before we found a car ferry, that crossed the river at St. Goar, less than a ten-minute ride. We arrived at Letty’s Pension right at 6:00 pm. Jim knocked and knocked. No answer. Finally found the bell and got a response. Nice little room on the second floor on the front. Very clean, but no telephone and no TV. Jim is starting to read my book “Left Behind”. He complains, but doesn’t have much else to do. We were asleep by 10:00 pm. Jim has clogged head, hope it’s not a cold. Probably from the climb up the tower today when we got chilled at the top.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Tuesday, September 26th, 2000 Serendipity Day of adventure...

Up early, raining outside. Packed, had breakfast at the hotel in their beautiful breakfast room. In talking to another guest, an older German lady from the Frankfurt area, the hotel is about seven years old. Sure looks newer. Even has hall lights controlled by sensors so that they go on and off automatically when you enter a hall.

We left about 9:30 and worked at finding the Oldenburg Cemetery. Finally found it and Jim walked about in the rain with an umbrella but only found some Janssen (ss) names. Hard to do unless you had a map as they are rather large cemeteries. Left Oldenburg about 10:45 and headed south to Osnabruck. We were looking for Lohne (O.) which is about half way there. Arrived in Lohne about noon. Larger town than we’d thought. We think that this is the town that the Jansen family migrated from. Drove around checking large maps on sign boards and Martha finally convinced Jim to stop at a hotel and ask for a map of the town. He did, but very reluctantly – Volla – he got one and we found a cemetery. Again, no luck in finding any family names. It is still raining! Left and headed south again towards Osnabruck.

There we headed east to Melle to see if we’d do any better with my side of the family. The rain was stopping and we saw a very bad accident about half way there on the other side of the highway. They were completely diverting the traffic from that side. We arrived in Melle about 2 pm. Jim went into the hotel next to the train station to see if he could get another map, found a brochure on the city but no map. Martha suggested he go back in and find a person and ask about the map. He did. Came back without the brochure or a map. But the clerk had drawn him a map to the cemetery.

We didn’t find the cemetery but we did reach a wonderful estate down a country road. The owner stopped to see if he could help as he was leaving in his Jaguar, spoke excellent English. Jim explained that we were lost but that we were so delighted with his home we wanted to take some photos before heading back. He smiled and wished us good luck!

We then headed back into town and stopped at another hotel. Martha got out and went in. Couldn’t find anyone but went into the bakery next door. Clerk was very nice but spoke no English. A policeman who’d stopped to purchase a sweet roll asked me to wait a moment and he could help me. So we went to his car (Jim was panicked as he worried that he’d get a parking ticket as we still don’t have a blue card for parking) and he gave me a wonderful city map just like the one that Jim had received in Lohne.

We found the cemetery and both walked all over it as the rain had stopped. No luck. Found lots of variations by none spelled correctly. Some of the graves were before 1800’s. Very old, but also very large. Found a group of German soldiers from WW II. Back on the road by 3:20 pm we returned to Osnabruck, the accident was cleared by then, and then south towards Koln. Went off the road near Dortmund to a small town called Unna. Finally parked the car and found the information center about 6 pm. They made hotel reservations for us nearby at the Kraka Hotel. Reasonable and clean with secured parking.

We walked to the hotel, registered and then returned to move the car to the garage. This room has our first bathtub and the room is quiet. Walked to a little side walk café called the Grill House and had a meal: meatloaf/hamburger, peas/carrots, potatoes along with a beer. We sat at a counter and watched the people go by in the shopping area. Really good! Home early we met the owner’s Yorkie dog in the elevator. When Martha spoke to the dog, the owner said to the dog that he probably wouldn’t like it in England! Washed my hair and enjoyed the evening downloading my photo’s onto the computer, sat everything on the floor.

When I was done I picked up the camera to delete the photos and the LED had stopped working. Very frustrating. Read the instructions after working at it for a long time. It did say something about the cold would affect the LED, so decided to put it away, give it a rest and check it tomorrow evening. No English TV, but we watched the German. To bed by 10 pm.

Thursday, March 17, 2011



Monday, September 25th, 2000 Northern Germany

Up at 7 am…rain during the night. Kept the drunks off the street a little bit. But they still put the Market up in the Plaza starting about 5 am. But, they were lots quieter in doing their work! Sun was out by 8:43 as we left after a very nice breakfast in the hotel. Jim thinks that we may still have sprinkles all day.

At the hotel, I traded my novel for one that another guest had left. They keep a mantle top full of paperback books so that you can exchange one you’ve finished for another. Jim exchanged one of his tour books for one that someone else had left. Nice program! Later discovered that the novel was in German!!! I'll save it for another trade....

We drove all morning and made the following notes:

All bikes have bells. There are some three-wheel bikes with flatbeds to carry things. There are modern windmills similar to the ones that we use in California as wind machines for generating electricity. They are all over Holland. The old ones are national monuments and must be retained but they don’t work anymore. The new ones are much larger than the ones that we have. Although they also have many that are the same size as our wind machines. There is an earlier edition, which only has two blades and is gray metal.

There are lots of houses built on flat barges that are permanently fixed in the canals. There are areas in the countryside designed for city people to farm. Each plot has a tiny house, about the size of a garden shed at home. You’ll see up to fifty or so together.

They have atomic power plants still working all over Europe which are used to produce electricity…Jim says they are a time bomb as they are slowly deteriorating. Also, they haven’t really made plans on how to retire them and replace the energy.

We are headed towards Alkmaar….the birthplace of Emanuel De Witt. He’s a famous Dutch painter that Jim thinks is related to his grandfather. He lived several generations before George was born.

Side note: My cold is much better, still sneezing, but then I always do!

We went off the main highway to take photos of a real windmill near Hoogwoud which is south of Winkel at about 9:40 am. Got some really good photos.

Finally reached the big dike across the North Sea. It is thirty miles long. They even have a gas station half way across. Lots of fishing boats working the inside of the dike.

Roofs: Mostly tile, but some have a combination of tile and thatch. Some are all thatch. Many of the windmills have thatched sides and tops. House barn combinations usually have thatch over the barn roof.

Arrived in Leeuwarden, the ancestral home of the Van Jelgerhuis family. Jim’s Mother’s family. Spent about an hour there. Found one old bell tower, church is no longer there but they had an outlines of it in yellow bricks on the parking lot. The tower is leaning to one side quite a bit. We found several old churches. Parked the car in what we thought was a legal parking area for a few minutes while we went to take photos of St. Bonfice’s Catholic Church. As we returned we saw a policeman in back of the car….Jim took off running and got there before he had actually started to write the ticket up. We apologized and used lots of sugar & spice and ended up with no ticket! We were in a private area that required a permit.

We found the Grout (great) Church of Leeuwarden which was built in 1224, rebuilt in 1700 and then restored in 1972.

Back on the road on our way to Oldenburg in Germany. Ate our sandwiches on the road (we’d made one each at breakfast). Did a leisurely drive on the country road bypassing the main highway. Lots of farms, pigs, sheep, cows and horses! And of course, more of the old windmills. Made a special stop to take photos of an old windmill that we spotted from the highway.

We arrived at Gronigan, the birthplace of George Wit (De Witt) about 1 pm and decided to go around and continue on to Germany. It is a very large industrial town and would take forever to find the old part and any pertinent information.

As we neared the Germany boarder we got diesel and converted the rest of the Netherlands money into German money. Cost us a little bit, but it was worth having it taken care of. Germany money is worth a little bit less...2.25 compared to 2.50 in Holland. There was about a 25% fee.

Arrived in Oldenburg and drove north looking for Lohne….didn’t find it so headed south on side streets into residential area of Oldenburg. Finally found the old centre and parked while we followed signs to the Information Building. After a ten-minute walk we found it and they arranged for a hotel for us and gave us directions all at no charge. Very nice service. Back to the car, went the same way so as not to get lost…like Hansel & Gretel going through the forest! Did make a pit stop at Mcdonalds for a water closet visit! On the road and had no problems following their directions to one of the nicest three star hotels in the suburbs. Very reasonable, nearly new and with a restaurant attached. Room is absolutely silent! Located in back of hotel.

We had a great dinner at the hotel restaurant, soup, bratwarst & fries. Washed down with excellent German beer. We thought we were getting a sausage & potato salad…Germans don’t know or won’t speak English as easily as people in Holland. The bratwurst was like a very good and large hot-dog! Oh well! But the soup…the traditional goulous soup was outstanding!!

Time to go to bed early. We’re both very tired from not sleeping all that well for the past three nights! Tomorrow we’ve off the find the family heritage as both of our fathers' ancestors come from Germany.