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May 25th 2015
Published: May 29th 2015
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St. Boniface CathedralSt. Boniface CathedralSt. Boniface Cathedral

Curtis, Ziggy, Susan, Martina, Doris and Lothar
Monday was a holiday for many Germans so stores and banks were closed and children were home from schula! After a quiet breakfast we hopped on the bikes and set off to ride the paths around Herleshausen. We enjoyed the flat, paved trails however the hills we did come to were a bit tricky as I seemed to have only a couple of operational gears on my bike, neither of them condusive to hills!! All in all we enjoyed the fresh air and knew that we were coming back to yet another huge lunch that Doris was busy preparing.

The four of us plus Thomas, Sybille, and Sophia all sat down to a feast of venison, wild boar, gravy, noodles, red cabbage, fried potatoes and green beans with bacon bits. This when then followed by ice cream and yogurt. As soon as we had cleaned up we hopped in the car with Doris and Siegfried to drive to Kunzell where Curtis' Uncle Lothar and his wife Martina live.

Well, I must say that riding down the Autobahn with a 73-year behind the wheel doing 160 km/hr certainly gets the heartrate up! Siegfried is a very good driver but there were times that I had a hold of Curtis' shorts so hard that I thought I might tear them! We made it safely to Kunzell and soon arrived to his uncle's house. After introductions were made we went inside where three of the biggest cakes sat waiting for us on the table!!! Each was made by Martina and were at least 30cm in diameter. One was decorated with pink icing and covered with fresh strawberries, another had cream coloured icing and was artistically decorated with long straw-like wafers dipped in chocolate, and the last one was a carrot cake with small icing carrots on each slice!! We chose our dessert and enjoyed it immensely! Did I mention there were only 6 of us to eat all of these cakes?? Wow, we just can't believe we have consumed rich desserts every afternoon for a week now 😊. After chatting and sharing stories and pictures, the six of us piled into Martina's car and we headed into Fulda. We visited the beautiful Catholic Dom, the Fulda Cathedral of St. Boniface. Two tall bell towers stand outside with large statues on the ledges. We were amazed at the size of this church and in awe of the beautiful white interior and the dome which is the focal point with well-preserved frescoes. We then visited the oldest Holy Sepulchre church in Germany, St. Michael's (820-822). From there we wandered the beautiful streets of Fulda. We enjoyed seeing the German architecture evident in the buildings. We soon said our good-byes to Lothar and Martina and headed back to Hereleshausen. We went directly to Sybille and Thomas' house and from there we walked to the church in Herleshausen so that we could go up the Bell Tower. We climbed the dusty, rickety stairs where Thomas showed us the mechanism and then up to where the four ancient bells sat. We just headed down the stairs when they began to peal so we raced back up. Certainly not as loud as we thought for being right beside them. We then walked home for a quiet dinner and an early night.

Tuesday morning, after breakfast Curtis and I set off for Celle (pronounced Sella) where we spent the night and then went onto Goslar on Wednesday. After a 3 hour drive we entered Celle and thankfully Thomas had loaned us his GPS to help us find our
Bell Tower Bell Tower Bell Tower

Herleshausen Church
great hotel which was artfully hidden on a back street. Shortly after arriving, we made the short walk into the old town, meandering our way along the streets. This picturesque place has over 400 timber-frame houses. The timbers are painted and many have gold lettering running across the length of a timber well above the door. During WWII only 2.2 percent of Celle's houses were destroyed and it has one of the few Jewish synagogues not levelled due to its proximity to the Old Town and the fact it was adjacent to a leather factory. We visited the Church of St. Mary (Stadtkirche Sankt Marien) and were in awe of the paintings that encircled the upper level like a ribbon and admired the magnificent altar. We walked to the Marktplatz and then on to the Schloss Gardens and the magnificent castle. Timing it perfectly to the centre of the old town, we waited in anticipation for the Glockenspiel at 5:00 pm. Spot chosen, camera poised, we stared up at the brown door awaiting the moment. Suddenly we heard the melodious sounds of bells coming from down the street. It turns out we were on the wrong corner! We raced half a block and were lucky enough to still get to see the figures moving around to the music. Later that evening we enjoyed a nice dinner of their famous "Spargel" soup (asparagus) and schnitzel. We walked back through the deserted streets. This is one of the few towns we have been in that are very quiet at night.

Wednesday morning after a lovely breakfast at the hotel we hit the Autobahn, heading for Goslar. The Old Town of Goslar sits at the bottom of the slopes of the Harz Mountains and is also a World Unesco Heritage City. After parking, we walked through the charming streets. We visited the Marktkirche and climbed the 220 steps to the top of the bell tower were we received a beautiful view of Goslar. We walked through the streets admiring the old houses. Goslar boasts over 1800 timber frame houses, the most in Germany. The buildings in the square were decorated with angels, demons, and mythological creatures and apparently some rather crude characters. The square was lovely, with people sitting out and enjoying huge pieces of cake and decadent looking ice cream masterpieces (nope we did not indulge!). After more exploring we walked the ground of the Kaiserpflaz where emperors once lived. We were intrigued by the fascination of witches in the small town. Everywhere, you could buy different sizes of old hags! When you are driving through the small towns in Germany it is almost like you have been dropped into a fairy tale and given that the Brothers Grimm road through several of these areas it is easy to imagine Hansel and Gretal or Rumpelstiltskin roaming through the thick, green forests along the rippling streams.

Heading back to Herleshausen we stopped to pick up a couple of things. You know you are weary, tired travellers when you find yourselves looking at, and sampling, different varieties of creams on your face. Those advertise being able to take the bags away from under your eyes or others that boast younger, more energized looking, skin! As we arrived back to Ziggy and Doris' we packed up our things and then went down for a great farewell evening. Thomas, Sybille, Elisa, and Sophia came over for dinner where we were introduce to yet another German tradition - raw pork. Yep, you just buy a 1/2 pound of raw pork and slather it onto bread or a bun, seasoning with salt and pepper. We were a little skeptical and can honestly say we were not prepared to try it. After the younger girls went home, the 6 of us had a delightful evening over beer and wine. Until nearly midnight we laughed and talked.

Thursday morning we packed up our car for our trip to Cochem. We went down to say good-bye to the lively Oma Hilda. Our farewells to Doris and Ziggy were tearful. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful time in Herleshausen. Their hospitality and roles as gracious tour guides gave us lasting memories. We know that we will return some day to visit and we are so thankful for the chance to connect with Curtis' family.

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