This blue building is known as the 'blue tower'- like a beakon in the night it is one of the only modern buildings in the small town of Hollfeld- and as you can see it makes quite an impression as the center of arts. We dined at a restaurant nearby where I tried a Hollfeld specialty- smoked river fish on a cold green salad. The fish was so tender and was complimented perfectly by the fresh greens- what a treat!
This is a picture of Heinz's family tree- His father made a complicated geneology of both his and his wife's family lines. My mother's side of the family the 'Gardill's' are located about halfway down the tree on the left.
This is a small little German shopping center that we stopped at to have a Cappuchino on one of our many excursions throughout the German countryside. The sun was shining and a light breeze carrying the smell of spring flowers brushed the city walls lightly. It was the only warm day that we have had so far on our trip throughout Germany.
This is a picture of Heinz's kitchen. Every morning I wake up to find a beautiful feast waiting for me. There are freshly baked sour dough rolls, local yogurt with fresh fruit, freshly squeezed juice, hot cappuchinos, cakes of all kinds as well as a variety of amazingly delicious meats! It is such a treat to wake up to a table not only laden with great food, but decorated with fresh flowers, candles, and traditional Easter decor!
Here is another chateau located near Heinz's house- We like to take little day trips through the surrounding country side and poke around these beautiful landmarks that have fascinating histories!
Suprise, suprise...this is another chateau located on this rocky little hill about 30 minutes from Heinz's house. There is also a charming little church next to the chateau which you cant see in this photo- but its painted in the traditional butter yellow and has a pitch black roof. The contrast is striking and the church is like a dazzling sign calling the mainly catholic german population to prayer.
Here I am chatting with Genda and Loni at Gunda's house. These were my grandmother's cousins. They are absolutely adorable and invited me over to their house the very first night for tea. Genda had set out her finest china and made apple cake and other German desserts just for my visit! She, like her son Heinz, is a wonderful host! She does not speak a word of English, and I do not speak more than a few words of German, but we somehow were able to hold conversations with one another, and if anything we could feel the connection of our family ties.
This is a photo of a gorgeous church in Nürnberg. I went to Nürnberg to see the Italian Opera, Aida, which Heinz's girlfriend Juliana was in. The Opera was absolutely fantastic! I have never heard such talent. When the leads would sing, their amazing voices rang like church bells in the Opera House...such a pure sound! It was increadible! I am so glad that I was able to see the Opera and experience some of Europe's finest art while I was here on my adventure!
This is one of the abodes of a very famous king in the city of Bamberg. King Henry and his wife Kunigunda established the city of Bamberg as a catholic cultural center hundreds of years ago. There is a story that one day a man claimed that Kunigunda was having an affair with a local townsman so the King had his wife walk on hot iron plates as a punishment. Her feet were untouched by the scorching metal, so King Henry decided it was God's divine will telling him that his wife was innocent and so they continued to live happily together. (A miracle, if you will)
This is the large church and the hub of the catholic faith in Bamberg. This church rests upon the highest peak in the citz of Bamberg in a section of the town that is hundreds of years older than the rest and simply exudes authority. From this point the chuch could literally and figurativelý look down upon their domain in the city of Bamberg. There is a large watch tower attached to this church, which you cannot see in the picture. Throughout Bamberg's historý, someone lived in the tower and watched for fires throughout the night. There is a story that says the last watchman in the tower was a woman, and she was so fat that she didnt fit into the coffin they tried to put her in to bring her down from the top of the tower!
This is a BEAUTIFUL picture of one of the rivers that sweeps throughout the city of Bamberg. Like Pittsburgh, Bamberg has three rivers which play an integral role to the cities development. Bamberg is my FAVORITE city that I have visited in southern Germany. It is absolutely charming and during my visit its streets were full of markets and bustling people. They sold cakes, fresh fruit, baskets, meats, roasted nuts and many many special artistic trinkets. I was mesmorized by the Baroque styled buildings and the brightly painted residences that were the colors of the easter eggs and spring flowers that decorated the window displays of the local artist shops. Fabulous!
Here I was this past Sunday at a traditional German Guesthouse (their form of a pub) having traditional sunday roast with the whole family. The roast is served with Kluße 'cloo-suh' which are giant potato balls that are similar to matza balls. The roast is also served with creamed spinach and a side salad- sooo good! Yum!
Here is a picture of one of the many giant squares in Nürnberg. This one is famous for housing a famous Christmas market in late December. You can see in the background of the picture a giant golden steeple that was supposed to rest on top of a nearby church, but they decided to keep it in the square at ground level so everyone could appreciate its beauty. After we meandered throughout the city we made our way to the house of the famous artist Dürer! AMAZING! Yale has many of his origional woodcuts which are nearly priceless in the art world!
Here I am with Heinz in front of the RatHaus (or city council building) in Bamberg. As you can see the building is painted beautifully. This section of town (which is built right on top of the river with canals below it) is known as 'little Venice' and although I have never been to Venice this area radiated what I know as Italian charm.
Overall, my visit to Germany has been marvelous. Meeting my distant relatives and being welcomed with open arms into their homes has been the greatest gift imagineable! I have 2 more days in this wonderful country and I am sure they will be as wonderful as my first 5 days here. Cheuss!