Sunday, January 8, 2012

Germany Road Trip


Location: Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Buchenwald, and Dresden, Germany


Rundown: Spent a little time in several towns in Germany between bigger trips.


Frankfurt Christmas Market


Went to a Christmas market in Frankfurt! I was thinking a few booths with Christmas ornaments, but not the case! People swarm in the streets around countless stalls selling wursts (sausages), Gl├╝hwein (a hot, mulled wine), and tons of other goodies. There are some ornaments too.



Pretty neat atmosphere. Lots of lights, lots of people, lots of food and drink. Doesn't seem like much of a tourist attraction, just people out and enjoying good company.






Heidelberg


In addition to being the site of the discovery of an early hominid, Homo Heidelbergensis, Heidelberg is a cute German town with a good university and an interesting castle ruin.

The land has been contested for so long that the castle has undergone several additions during the various cycles of sack and rebuild. Hard for me to imagine all the things that the castle has seen.


In the cellar of the great castle is a house-sized wine barrel which supposedly can hold 58,000 gallons of wine. It's so big there are stairs to a dance floor on top of it!





Buchenwald Concentration Camp


On the way to Dresden we stopped to see the Buchenwald concentration camp, one of the largest in Germany during the holocaust. It was a befittingly ugly day, with low clouds drizzling cold rain on the gray clearings. The wooden shacks that housed the 'prisoners' were gone, but their footprint and history remain.


We were the only ones in the camp that ugly day. Made for a heavy visit, being alone with your own thoughts in a place like that. It's astounding that people can be so creative in their cruelty to other people.


I've only included a few photos from the camp. It's important that people still see places like Buchenwald. There are things too horrible for pictures and too chilling for words there that need to be seen and felt first hand. Go see it.







Dresden


Spent a few days wandering around Dresden, a city that had been bombed almost into oblivion by allied planes in retaliation for the destruction of Canterbury, England. The buildings almost look like quilts. The older pieces are still dark from centuries of soot, while the newer materials that replace damaged bits are bright white.


It was bright and cold while we were there, and aside from the few Russians who are impervious to cold, we didn't see many tourists.


We went from warm spot to warm spot all day to keep out of the cold and wind. Much antifreeze was involved in our days there.




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