We enter Germany
Trip Start May 24, 2006
14Trip End Jun 13, 2006
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Where I stayed
Herby lives with his wife, Marie, and two teenage sons, Felix and Max. They welcomed us into their comfortable home, and fed us delicious authentic southern German food. We had the pleasure of staying with them for 2 days and one night. On the first day, one of Herby's brothers, Gerhardt, visited along with his wife, Christiana, and their son. They live just a few houses down the road. We all took a walk through the village. It had been raining lightly in Strasbourg that morning, and the skies were still grey when we arrived in Sasbach, but once we started walking the clouds drifted away and the sun shone brightly
Along the way we came upon a rather pecuiliar event. A group of local men are afficionados of antique tractors. Their hobby is restoring German and French farm machines from the 1920s and 30s. Their restoration efforts are every bit as fanatic as the most committed hot rod clubs you might find in the U.S. -- perhaps even more, if it is as hard to find antique tractor parts as I imagine it might be. The tractors are impressive: they are in absolute pristine condition, without a drop of grease on the engine, and polished paint finishes. Tracy and I had the fortune of seeing one up close, thanks to one owner who took us for a spin down the road. At one point the single-cylinder engine had us going 50 kph (30 mph). It was quite an experience. All the same, the group is still considered a bit of an oddity by the other locals, who refer to them as the "old timers' club."
Another interesting and impressive sight further along our walk was the town's church. It was nothing out of the ordinary really, just your run-of-the-mill 700-year-old church. Apparently every village has one. I guess what surprised Tracy and me was that -- unlike the Gothic masterpiece that is Cathedral Notre Dame in Strasbourg, which is so enormous and imposing from outside that you expect to be awed when you enter -- this village church is quite unassuming, with a plain exterior
The next morning, Herby & Marie took us for a drive to the nearby mountain resort town of Baden-Baden. You can get some sense of the town's stature by the fact that the English soccer team has chosen it as their home base during the World Cup. Unfortunately there were no sightings of David or Victoria (aka Posh Spice) Beckham this day. The town is best known for its namesake mineral baths. These are naturally occuring warm springs that have soothed the bones of world travelers for the past 2000 years. Perhaps you saw the movie, "Gladiator"? The Roman emperor in the movie was Marcus Aurelius. He used to bathe here, back in 200 C.E. And later, in the 1800s, so did Mark Twain.
We started at the castle that overlooks the town from the mountain top. Much like how every village has it's own 14th century church, nearly every other hill is dotted with a similarly aged castle...
The story continues, but me must catch our next train. We'll post again in a couple days.
Thank you for all of your messages. We do not have time to write back to everyone, but we enjoy hearing from you!
-Steve 'n Tracy