September 27, 2010

From Bielefeld to Brugge

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of our days in Germany.

Günthers and Hilgenkamps
IMG_1054: Günther and Hilgenkamp Families
Brewer Michael Zerbst
IMG_1098: Brewmaster
Bjorn, Max, Heike and Marie
IMG_1117: The Günther Family
Max and Marie with Bill and Betty
IMG_1120: Max and Marie with Bill and Betty

On Sunday the 19th, we drove from Ċrhus, Denmark, to Bielefeld, Germany. We came to Bielefeld to visit our good friends Heike and Björn Günther. That last time we saw them they were living in Wuppertal and had no children. Today they live in Dornberg, a suburb Bielefeld and they have two wonderful children: Max, age four, and Marie, age two. Minutes after we arrived, Heike's sister - Antja - drove up with her husband, Frank, and two of her three boys. Heike's mother lives in another part of the their old, yet completely updated, building. We all had some coffee, then Antja and Frank left for their farm.

We were so happy to finally meet Max and Marie. We often get update on them from Heike. We had brought Max and Marie some American clothing. Both Max and his mom like the American clothes, because it is really hard to find cute clothes at a reasonable price for boys in Germany.

On Monday, while the children were in school, we had a look at the center of Bielefeld. The town is much larger than I imagined. We walked the streets and visited a church. Then we headed back to Dornberg to visit the ancient St. Peter's Lutheran church of Dornberg that sits in the center of the village. Parts of it were built one-thousand years ago. We got the full tour of the small church with its pastor, Andreas Biermann, as our guide. He was extremely informative and a very good guide. He even brought us to the clock tower. Here we saw the four bells of the church. There were old bronze bells were from medieval times, one from 1510. We got to ring them all and we did, working together. It sounded great. Andreas also recommended that we stop in Aachen to see its town hall and cathedral, which we did later in the week.

The next day we visited Frank and Antja's farm. We got to see pregnant sows and baby piglets. They have a beautiful garden. We had coffee and a nice visit. That Tuesday evening we went to the Rotingdorfer Brauerei. It is a tiny brewery that makes some really excellent pilsner. The owner and head brewer, Michael Zerbst, provided us a tour and all the beer we could drink. He was a funny and charming host. If I lived in Bielefeld, I would become a regular at the brewery's pub nights.

On Wednesday, Heike and Betty did some shopping in the morning. Betty needed some long sleeve shirts. In the afternoon we went to the local FREE zoo with the children, a place they love. Heike took my car for a test spin. In the evening we took Heike out for a lovely meal in a restaurant just 500 meters up the hill.

We got up early on Thursday to say good-bye to Bjorn, Max and Marie. After they left for school and work, we finished packing and said our good-byes to Heike. Then we headed south for Aachen. I wanted to visit the final resting place of Charlemagne, because he is in my family tree and he is of great historical significance. The cathedral where he is buried is very beautiful. We took pictures of the town hall, the cathedral and of Aachen's streets. After this short stop, we proceeded to Brugge, Belgium, arriving about six o'clock. It was a long day of driving.

Brugge has a large section of very old buildings. Many were built in the 1600's and some are much older. We had learned about the beauty of the city in a movie, In Brugge. The movie was very good and after watching the movie our impressions of the city were quite high. What we did not know about the city was that it has been a destination for tourists for many, many years. What we found in the city was great beauty and thousands of tourists. Because of the tourists, it can be quite expensive for food and accommodations. We did find a wonderful little hotel called Hotel 't Keizershof. It cost only $58 per night and included breakfast. We shared a toilet and a shower with two other rooms and had a sink of our own. There was no TV, radio or internet. Standard hotels cost more than $100 per night.

We walked through parts of the city Thursday night. And we explored a large section of the old city on Friday. We took a hundred photos. We bought chocolates. We search all over on Thursday for a reasonably priced restaurant. On Friday we finally found such a restaurant where the food was very good and not overpriced. It was the Pas Partout Restaurant on Jeruzalemstraat. As I said it is a very beautiful place. Be sure to see the slide show of Brugge photos.

Click photo below to see all our photos of Brugge.
IMG_1178: Canal Scene

Posted by bill at September 27, 2010 05:14 PM

Very cool Bill and Betty. Sounds like a great trip for you both in a beautiful and peaceful place in the world. Take care from Minneapolis, MN, USA

Posted by: Margie Sanroman at September 30, 2010 08:21 AM

Your website is awesome! i have been doing a family history on my grandmother-Lena Hess-and found in your Aug 3, 2006 decendants of Benjamin
Tupper and Irene Simmons- Re the decendants of Thomas Hess I found an ommission-Thomas Hess Sr was first married to a Lucinda-and they had three children Earl William Hess (which was my grandfather), Mary (Hess) Curtis and Thomas Hess, JR also, Harvey Hess (My father)was born to Lena Hess and John Gernandt, but she died a month after he was born and then he was adopted by Lena's older 1/2 brother -Earl Williams and his wife Alma if you have any questions please feel free to contact me-your information was very helpful-never knew I had so many relatives out there-pretty overwhelming information, will keep me busy for MONTHS-thanks

Posted by: Connie Starren at October 8, 2010 09:06 PM

hola bill, used to have a girlfriend, that lived in bielefeild. good travels, ciao luke

Posted by: luke at October 15, 2010 09:38 AM