Archive for the ‘Germany’ Category

Skittled at Kegel

07 Oct

25 Australians and a dozen locals are crammed into a small basement beneath Das Glock, the local pub in Nieder-Weiesel. 9 wooden skittles sit at the end of the narrow, slightly convex bowling lane, having selected one of the small wooden balls that vary in size and weight, the crowd hush as the ball is launched down the alley, cheering rises to a deafening crescendo as the ball rockets into the pins, this is Kegel.

A German variant of Ten Pin bowling, Kegel requires a deft touch and a lot of luck using a smaller ball and narrow bowling lane and add in a few rounds of the local Pilsener and its anyones game. Only one strike was bowled for the night, and it was Eric, one of the Aussie descendants, that upstaged the locals! Kegel is a classic German pub game, and all had a great night rattling the skittles.

Is Don Das Gut, Dad gets ready to Kegel, note how the lane starts narrow and then widens, there is also a rope with a bell to ensure the kegeler doesnt overstep the line or bowl too high!  Many joined the ‘gutter club’

Karsten is the local Fireman and is built like a Brick Out-Haus, he looked as though he would bowl the ball through the back of the Kegel Lane and into the next town!  He probably punches the fires out

The classic Kegel Scoringmachine, note the start key with rabbits foot!


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Autobahns and Bächles – A visit to Freiburg

05 Oct

After 5 days of festivities in Nieder-Weisel and Butzbach, the Hausers headed off for new European adventures.  Mum & Dad are off to Porto, Mandy and Vince head to Italy and we are heading south to Switzerland and France.   Caught the train back to Frankfurt and had lunch with Mike’s Tourism Victoria colleagues, Susanne and Sarah in Frankfurt.  Then picked up our hire car for the next leg of our travels.

We have a black BMW 3 Series, which includes Satnav, hoorah!  We named the voice behind the GPS, Brigitte, who got us straight out of Frankfurt and onto the Autobahn.  After getting the bearings of the new car, with steering wheel misplaced and cars on wrong side, got into the swing of things on the Autobahn and sat on about 140-150kmh, however the Stig feeling quickly disappears when a car appears from nowhere,  sitting on your tail, lights flashing, forcing you into the slow lane!. The continual roadworks means that its not all Stig.

Susanne had recommended a visit to Freiburg, so we found a hotel that evening and went out to explore the city centre.  The old city is dominated by the Munster Cathedral, originally built in 1200.  Cobbled Marktplatz and laneways radiate from the central square.  We returned to the old city in the morning, a fantastic market surrounded the Munster, fresh local food including fruit, vegetables, spices, bratwurst, also handmade crafts and flower stalls.

We looked through the grand interior of the Munster Cathedral, then Nicki and I decided to work off the crepes we had eaten for breakfast and walk the spiral staircase up the Cathedral tower. A serious workout, the narrow staircase winds endlessly as the heart pounds and thighs scream.  The climb is worth it, providing panoramic views of Freiburg and a look at the inner workings of the bells.  Its easier going down!

One of Freiburgs unique features are the small water canals or Bächles that have brought fresh water into the town for centuries.  They wind through the old city and thankfully Sam didnt end up in one!  Freiburg seems to commute by tram and bike, and is well worth a visit.

Next stop, the Black Forest…

Entry to Freiburg Munster

Marbles at the Marktplatz

View from the tower of the Munster

Jumping the Bächle in Freiburg

Jumping the Bächle


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Love every piece of Butzbach

04 Oct

Butzbach is a small German village located 35kms north of Frankfurt and was our base for the last 5 days given its close proximity to Nieder-Weisel.  We were expecting a generic small country town, but immediately fell in love with this 15th century walled village.

  • The central Marktplatz is surrounded by classic German timberframed buildings, that lean and lurch from days when right angles and spirit levels werent required.  Grab a coffee if its too early for a drink and watch the world go by.   If the sun is over the Yard-arm, try the local Licher Beer, or an Italian Prosecco in one of the bars or cafes
  • Wander the cobblestoned laneways, Butzbach isnt a large town, so its easy to walk and discover hidden bars and shops
  • Stay at Pension Gasthaus Dolzel, located right next to the Marktplatz. Helene is a fine host, and whilst you wont be staying in five star luxury, the authentic experience in staying in a wooden framed Gasthaus with its low ceilings, creaks, narrow staircase is a must.  Plus at only 50 euros for a double including excellent breakfast, its a bargain!
  • Burtzbach was once a walled city with many parts of the original wall still intact, a number of houses have been built into the original wall.  Stay at Pension Gasthaus Dolzel and breakfast is served in one of these buildings in Amtgasse.

Butzbach Marktplatz

Just down the road from Nieder-Weisel

Pension Gasthaus Dolzel

View from the GastHaus to the MarktPlatz

Part of the original town wall

Butzbach do good ice creams!


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Nieder-Weisel Memorial

04 Oct

The Nieder-Weisel Memorial was officially unveiled yesterday, a fantastic plaque in the local Churchyard of Nieder-Weisel, dedicated to the families from this small town in rural Germany that emigrated to Ballarat in the 1850s.  The plaque is also the pinnacle of years of work, translations and negotiations by my parents, Don and Jill, and a number of others from Australia and Germany.

A joint English/German church service preceeded the official dedication ceremony, attended by high ranking dignitaries including the Hessan State  President, Mayor of Butzbach and the Australian Counsel-General in Germany.   25 Australians had made the trip to Nieder-Weisel, all descendants from Nieder-Weisel families.

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Watching Pies in Nieder-Wiesel

04 Oct

Some negotiations to open the local conference centre at 6am, access to a ‘beamer’ (Overhead projector), a wireless connection,a rain soaked 2km walk , and my netbook all combined on a chilly Saturday morning in Nieder-Weisel as a dozen Australians gathered to watch  streaming coverage of the AFL Grand Final live.  The pies supporters within the group, Eric, Jeanette, Fraser, Georgia and Alan were particularly glad to be there, as the game unfolded, they became more vocal as it was clear that the pies were going to win!   We couldnt escape the crazed Pies supporters even on the other side of the world!

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Breakfast, lunch and dinner all in one

01 Oct

We have been in Butzbach for two days now.  i am here to talk about breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Firstly, I wanted to talk about Breakfast.  It was a mixture between breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea it had salami, cheese, egg, cake, bread, apple juice, and fruit juce zou would normally have a pretzel or hotdog for lunch, for dinner a schnitzel but there is lots of international cuisine.

By Sam


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Counting Cats in Germany

01 Oct

We just got off the plane and after we got off we went on a train to Frankfurt and then caught another one to Butzbach.  When we arrived in Butzbach we went to our apartrtment and then on a guided tour with my gran, we went with her because she guided Jules from Getaway.  On her tour we saw 5 cats either sitting on a window or sun bathing outside.

We also went to a castle and olden day town of Hessenpark, i saw a dog, goats, pigs, piglets, chickens, vey stupid sheep and some horses.


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Beer & Pretyels

01 Oct

Sitting in a very seedy internet cafe in Butzbach, Germeny.  Strugglinh with a germanic kezboard, so apologies for the tzping!  Butzbach is our base for the family ancestoral celebrations, a fantastic old German town north of  Frankfurt complete with picture postcard Marktplatz (town square).  Our Zimmer (B&B) we share with Sister Mandy and partner Vince, was built in the 1500s which exlains the near vertical staircase which requires great concentration after a few of the local Licher Beers, the head high doorways and low ceilings.

Yesterday the family got together for a daytrip through the nearby villages, explored Munchenberg Castle and a Sovereign Hill style histortic German village.  Don guided the van around the autobahns and highways as Jill navigated, ably assisted by Meg the GPS!

Staple diet so far has been the excellent local beers, and the traditional German Pretzels.  Our breakfasts have also been fantastic thanks to Helene our Guesthouse host, fresh cheeses, meats, and local homemade delicacies with fresh crusty bread, great start to the day.

Today we explore Buzbach before the family celebrations commence tonight with a gala dinner and drinks.  Even the local Newspaper has reported on the event.  Auf wiedersein.

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