Tuesday, July 14, 2009

From Sinsheim to Koblenz - technik and natur

A storm raged through the night with an amazing display of thunder and lightening bolts. As it was very warm and humid when we went to bed, we had left the windows open (but the outside shutters down) and so there was too little dampening of the sound. We both woke and tossed and turned a bit with it, but it was kind of nice too - we have not experienced many of these nice big, angry storms. You could hear it moving away through the valleys for what seemed like forever. By the time I awoke again at 8:45 am, Steph and Felix had already well and truly started their work days. And by now, with the windows open the traffic noise was loud and constant. Michael was a bit harder to wake, but by 9:30 he is up and moving - its not like the day is not appealing to him!

We began our trip north to Koblenz getting away early enough to spend a half day at the
Sinsheim Auto and Technic Museum. We had passed this Museum twice before - once on the way to Steph's before Christmas and again when we left here after New Year for France, knowing that we would be back later and able to visit it then. But we can put it off no longer when it is so close and we literally drive past it on the autobahn north from here. It takes about 90 minutes to get there - the traffic is horrendous being a working day.

We are constantly amazed at the number of Eastern European trucks carrying freight through the whole of Europe. Today belonged initially to the Romanian and Czech trucks, closely followed by Slovakian, Slovenia, The Netherlands and Italy. At first there was one German truck for one of another nationality - but as the day progressed, there were fewer and fewer German trucks so the ration dropped right off. The German landscape is very agricultural through here and the fields of crops alternate like a striped blanket of yellow and green.

Sinsheim is an amazing site and enormous. There are museums, motels, restaurants (and fast food outlets), planes, planes, planes are far as you can see and an Imax theatre. Michael is positively salivating from the minute we can see the planes from the autobahn. He is just itching to get in there and be amoungst the avgas, and grease and wheels and wings. So I tell him to meet me in three and a half hours. He trots off like a kid in a lolly shop, with the camera swinging from his shoulder to match his jaunty step. (I think it is important for him to have some time like this for himself - does anyone NOT agree?!)

In the meantime, I take myself off to the Imax theatre to see the movie on the Grand Canyon (in German of course). All about the changing nature of the river and our need to conserve water to help protect this and many other major watercourses throughout the world. The scenery of course is breath-taking. And the 3D animation that they use on these shows is amazing too - I actually feel as though the water drops are on my glasses as canoeists throw up buckets of water riding the rapids. Fascinating technology. After that movie is done, I wait in the car reading Sarum for half an hour for Michael to get back.

OK it is Michael's turn now:
The Sinsheim Auto and Technik Museum is a museum worth the visit! This is an establishment which not only outlines the history of flight but of transport per se. The one apparent scene which strikes one, is the the array of aircraft on display in the open and high on rigid supports! In particular, the Anglo-French Concorde which is dwarfted by the Russian Tupolev tu-144 equivalent.

Well, as I stated this complex is just not about flight. Within the confines of its 50,000sq mt there are planes; trains; automobiles; internal combustion engines; reciprocating engines; a diesel engine from a 'C Class' German U-boat (WW1); life-size dioramas; paintings; photographs; calliopes; organs; an IMAX Theatre, and the list goes on. This is a museum that would hold an interest for most people...if this statement is not too sweeping?

There is so much to see that the complex has its own hotel! This museum is run by volunteers and is a very 'hands-on' experience. To the extent, the aircraft on display in the open can be entered by stainless steel spiral stairs located at each exhibit. This includes the Concorde, Tupolev and a 1936 Junkers Ju-57!

The highlight for me...apart from not having enough time to visit all of the exhibition halls? I suppose would to have to have coming face-to-face with a WW2 German Junkers Ju-88 'H' series bomber converted into the long range photo-reconnaisance variant
. Second, would have to be the volunteer staff. Although, the language barrier may have been an impediment at times; there was no lack of enthusiasm on the volunteers behalf to assist - and always with a smile! Oh, there was also an example of a Folke-Wolf 190A and Meserscmidt Me-Bf109G6 - but, no Spitfire....

And so to Koblenz. This city dates back 2000 years to the time of the Roman Empire sits at the confluence of the mighty Rhine and Mosel rivers. Thanks to Kate we easily find our way down the motorway - but there are lots of diversions due to roadworks - in many places they are actually tearing the whole road surface up! We have no trouble finding the Ibis hotel where we are booked in, but as we open our room door, we find that there is already someone in that room! Not sure whether she or we got the bigger shock! I mean, you don't expect someone else to have a key to your room do you?? So a change to another room one floor up, and then a second change of rooms so that we can have internet access - sheesh.

Michael asks the receptionist on duty to recommend a restaurant and she suggests one called the Dubrovnik that serves both German and Croatian food and is just around the corner. The walk is pleasant and the welcome warm. The restaurant is on the diagonal corner to the Heart of Jesus Catholic church and as the evening light changes the mood of the church changes too - so lovely, despite the scaffolding around it.

Our meal choices were made none too easy without an English version of the menu - but then that might just be part of the fun! Actually, Michael remembers enough of his school German to get us through! So, our choices were:
Champignons rom grill mit tartarsauce und brot (Rome grilled mushrooms with tartar and bread) Michael
Panierter Käse - Camembert mit butter und toast (Fried Cheese - Camembert with butter and toast) Maria
we share a Chateaubriand - rindfillet mit butterreis, feinem Gemüse, Spargel, Pommes Frites, Kroketten und Salat (rindfillet with buttery rice, vegetables, asparagus, French fries, croquettes and salad)
Palatschinken mit schokolade (pancakes with chocolate) Michael only - I am way too full!
We finish with espresso coffee as is our custom.

And with the storm interrupted sleep of last night, we are ready to NOT sit up late!

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

What an interesting blog, introduced by a thought-provoking photo. The unusual wall painting of the dwellings is also a strangely modern interpretation. Something like this hieroglyphic view of a park by Swiss painter Paul Klee, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT475.
The image can be seen at wahooart.com who can supply you with a canvas print of it.