Tag Archives: castles

Castles, vineyards and solar observatories on the Saale bicycle trail

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Germany is full of surprises, and I am continually finding out about new places here. Last Saturday has to rank as one of the best days of this year. We spent the weekend cycling on the Saale bicycle trail in Thuringen and Saxony-Anhalt, an area of vineyards, castles, ancient archaeological finds, medieval villages and beautiful countryside. Here it how it all began. Continue reading

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Planning our Czech Wedding

Finally some free time I could use to work on my literature review write a blog post  (:-)  and what do I end up doing….playing around making example wedding invitations online.

My Invitation (4) My Invitation (5)

But it is addictive, see here. With the online templates you can change the text, add your own photos and so on. So far J says all of my creations are too pink (even the purple ones). He is now keen to have a simple invitation with a protea on it, the South African flower I’ve chosen for my wedding bouquet. Let’s see how that evolves.

This past weekend we were kicked into wedding planning gear by J’s sister (and rightfully so, since we’re planning a June wedding but have not organized much yet at all). We’d done a bit of research about all the forms required to get married and had visited a priest at Christmas in Hradec Králové who’d informed us that to get married in a church we’d have to do the marriage preparation course. We’d also located a church in Berlin where we could do the course, although the usual parish priest was away so we’d have to wait before meeting with him. Other than that, we had not settled on either a church or a reception venue. Continue reading

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The legend of Drachenfels (Dragon Rock)

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This weekend we went to visit family who live near Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia, the most populous state in Germany, which encompasses the plains of the river Rhine and the Mittelgebirge (small mountains/central uplands) which stretch towards Belgium, where they continue as the Ardennes. The lands on one side of the Rhine were colonized by Romans (the Cologne/Bonn side), whereas the other side was left to the local tribes after the Romans suffered a heavy defeat. Southeast of Bonn near the Rhine are the Siebengeberge, hills of ancient volcanic origin, formed by magma rising up beneath the surface and then cooling and becoming solid. Now as I’ve mentioned before, the usual practice in Europe is: if there’s a hill put a castle of top of it (it makes for a good lookout/defensive position), and indeed, you will find several castles and monuments on top of the many hills in the area. The rock of the area was also quarried, since the nearby Rhine made it convenient to transport the rocks, and used  to build the massive Cologne cathedral, amongst other things. Continue reading

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Relaxing weekend in the Czech countryside and a visit to Hrad Kunětická Hora

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Kunětická Hora castle

Recently I posted about the new kinds of over-the-counter medications I’d discovered in Germany compared to South Africa (mostly herbal). At the time I was busy optimistically trying them all out since I had a bad cough. Sadly, none of them seemed to help, although the good strong ginger, lemon and honey tea that J kept making me definitely soothed the cough. The terrible, choking cough was just going away when I caught another bad cold just before the Easter weekend. We’d already booked tickets to Vienna, from which we would drive to Slovenia, and nothing was refundable so we went anyway.

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