Trip to Königswinter in Nordrhein-Westfalen/Germany 05/2017
While we are still preparing our US trip, family affairs have caused delays and a shift in our agenda. Sadly, Andrea's mother passed away in April of 2017. Andrea postponed her M.A. oral exams and put the completion of her documentary on Al Jolson on hold. During this little time-out, we decided to focus on continuing to build our rural nest in Northern Germany while occasionally traveling within Germany. Our first actual family vacation (of 5 days) took place a few days after the burial of Andrea's mother and led us to Königswinter near Bonn in Nordrhein-Westfalen. Andrea is currently working on a FLAp Podcast episode on German actor Siegfried Wischnewski (1922 - 1989) who lived and died in Königswinter. We visited his grave and stopped in different cities along the way. The first stop was in Hessisch-Oldendorf in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxonia) at the Gästehaus Hohenstein (highly recommended!), a small town with a wonderful landscape. We stayed at a very spacious apartment in a beautiful old house, and we found out that our host was actually from England. He and Wyman had a lot to discuss. What did Hessisch-Oldendorf give us? Much needed peace and beauty!
From there we visited Hameln where we attended an open-air performance of "Der Rattenfänger von Hameln" ("The Pied Piper of Hamelin"). We did not spend as much time in this beautiful city as we would have liked, because we headed to our actual destination Königswinter from there. Since our trip was very spontaneous and since we were on a budget, a hotel or apartment directly in Königswinter was not an option, so we stayed at Hotel Wiedfriede in Roßbach for one night. It is very nicely located in a valley near a forest. Very romantic, but our room was too small for a family with a dog, so we headed to a very nice and spacious apartment in Bad Hönningen, about 30 min. from Königswinter, the next day. We found out that we are more the apartment type of travelers. There, we had a great view of the Rhine River, and we enjoyed wonderful and warm evenings on our balcony. Since we were not prepared for this picture-book spring weather, Glenny got a new pair of sandals in Bad Hönningen.
We traveled to Königswinter twice. Our first destination was Siegfried Wischnewski's gravesite, which was easier to find than we had expected. We only knew the name of the cemetery and how the tombstone looked. The second destination was the mountain "Drachenfels". We visited the castle ("Schloss Drachenburg") by using Germany's oldest cog railroad and the "Nibelungenhalle" where Siegfried killed the dragon, so the legend goes. We had lunch at a very old restaurant between the castle and the Nibelungen hall. Glenny enjoyed the little puppet dragon on top of the mountain who told the visitors the "true" story of the Nibelungen saga - in fact, Siegfried never killed him! A very nice thing in times of alternative facts. :) In the Nibelungen hall, it was fun to walk through the little cave where you can find a stone sculpture of the (supposedly) killed dragon. Glenny threw a few coins into the stream for good luck.
A MeettheBrentstones video episode about our trip will be uploaded soon!
The start of our US trip.
When will we actually start? That is the big question. In an ideal situation, Andrea will have finished her Jolson documentary ON THE ROAD TO AL JOLSON before we head out to our big family adventure. That way we could try to promote the film in the USA in person as we travel along. But we will see how things develop. We would like to skip the next winter in Germany, which means that we should start some time in 2019. It also depends on how quickly we will be able to arrange for an RV. One destination will be Oil City, a place we almost moved to. Wyman is in touch with the city's arts programs and he would like to leave a footprint there. We might choose to go there in the summer though. We will keep you updated with more detailed plans. But first, we have to obtain an RV. So, if you happen to know someone in the automobile industry, or if you happen to know someone who knows someone (who might know someone), please let us know. You can also contribute a small donation, if you'd like. Any help is greatly appreciated.