Friday, 31 May 2013

Feuerwehrfest Lichtenfels

Today we wanted to go to the Fire department festival in Lichtenfels. We set out from home and actually had a little sun. See how beautiful the garden looked from the balcony.

You could see the smoke of the Bratwurst wagon rising upa bove the fire department. (Seems a little ironic, doesn't it?)

Don't the firemen look cute in their hair nets?

It was a typical village festival complete with oompah band (but one with a little variety - they played, Hold that Tiger, a Tango and as we were coming in, I distinctly recognized "Red River Valley."

You can see the fire fighting uniforms in the background there.

Face painting is evidently very popular now at German festivals. (And check out this young wearer of lederhosen).

This is Michael Haas. He's been a volunteer firefighter since he was 12.

Frau Gareis and I went to look for Saint Florian and it lead us in quite an adventure. Herr Haas explained where we should find him, but we had no luck. Frau Gareis reminds me so much of my aunt. She is friendly and chats with everyone and she asks questions when she is interested in something, so she started asking people about the location of dem Heiligen Florian.  Eventually someone unlocked a door for us and took us to the break room to see this wax figure over an obscure door around the corner.

The room was interesting and contained badges from fire departmetns all over Germany.

Along the wall were all kinds of steins.


(Here's a view out the window of the festivities below.)

I was most fascinated, however, by this map of the area served by this volunteer department. It goes all the way up to Kronach and down quite a ways too.

Then we got a very special treat. We were given a private tour of the fire department museum. They had the whole history of the department from its earliest days until the present.

Their fire department sent materials for the Twin Towers disaster on September 11 and in return were given fire fighting gear from New York.

The museum is a single room, but it is full of highly interesting things.  Along the wall there you can see the various kinds of buckets used to fight fires in the bucket brigade.  First they used baskets, then changed over to leather and eventually you can see at the left end they began to use linen, which turns out to be pretty water tight.

The blue machine was the first mechanical pump that they had and it was sent to them during the Hitler years.

This was the original firechief back in the days of Kaiser Wilhelm. Lichtenfels was the place where the Bavaria and Prussian railroads met (at first they even had different sized tracks.)  His name was Mahr.

To sound the alarm they would blow bugles like these.

We also found Saint Florian in the museum.

Here's a photograph from the dark years  of the town hall with the fire department there.

The hat with the tassle stems from pre world war 1 era times.

These basket shoes would be soaked in water before donned to enter burning buildings.

This fire wagon was pulled by horses.

Since we had visited Kloster Langheim earlier, I found this picture of it quite fascinating.

We left the museum and then headed on home, but on the way, I couldn't help but take some pictures of the beautiful flowers in the area.

We also visited the church that Frau Gareis attends. The stations of the cross were painted in South America somewhere and I found the combination of the modern and the historic unusual.

Here is a lovely madonna in the same church.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

A Blast from the Past

Here are some photographs of prior visits I have made to Germany. Below is when my Mom and Aunt visited Lichtenfels.

Here is one of a wonderful neighbor, (who has since died) and a good friend of my husband (who has also since died.)

And here is a blurry one, but a real favorite of a meeting of minds.

And here's one of me the first time I visited the Gareises! It's hard to believe I was ever that young!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Happy Days in Lichtenfels

So,  I arrived in Lichtenfels on Monday afternoon and we  walked over the Burgberg to Zehntweg which is my second home in Germany.  Here is a picture f the further preparation of the Nusstorte that was our celebration.

Frau gareis is a skilled cook and baker, an avid collector of sayings and aphorisms and a spirited woman with many strong opinions. Her home is much as I remember it, comfortable and the perfect picture of that untranslatable German word gemütlich.

The garden is as beautiful as always and has Japanese lantern just like ours.

Here is a shot of the house from the front. Ivy covered and welcoming.

We went down into town to go shopping and I admired the old buildings.

Unfortunately the town seems to be dying. Everything ismoving out f the city senter into a nearby shopping Zentrum and while other small towns in the area have done a good job of making the best of their advantages. Lichtenfels, the basket city, no longer has its craftworks, and is no longer the central train hub that made it so important in earlier years.

We passed by the old fortress and medieval city wall, but unfortunately everything is locked up now and uninviting.

There are some lovely examples of the Fachwerk building style in the area and I took a few pictures here and there.

This is the city center and it is pretty much as I remember it.

The Rathaus is on the market square which has been turned into a childrens playground.

You can see one of the city gartes at the end of the street up the road.

Here is another one.

When walking around we passed by one of those mechanical mimes all dressed in shiny gold!

We ran our errands and went to the butcher and baker.

And then we headed home.