Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Castle of Hohenzollern

The travel from Dubai took over 6.45 minutes on 30 August. When the Emirates aeroplane landed at Frankfürt it was 7.50 p.m and the sun was still shining on the West. With the formalities completed, I came out picking my luggage from Belt 12, and my friends Michael Kunkel and his wife Anja were waiting for me. We went down four floors into the underground, walked more than half a kilometer and took our car to drive to Geislingen, through Stuttgart and Tübingen. It was 9.00 p.m., and the sun had just set. With a short halt for about 10 minutes on the way at a highway motel (they call it Raststätte, literally meaning, Resting Place), the travel from Frankfurt to Geislingen (280 kilometers) took about three hours. We were at the Kunkel's at 12.00 mid-night. In India, it is 3.30 a.m. We went to bed immediately.

The morning of 31 August saw me waking up at 8.00 a.m. and went for a wash, followed by a wonderful welcome breakfast. Mrs. Leonie Kunkel, mother of Michael, joined us with some delicious bread, sausages, butter, coffee etc. Then, we went on a long walk through the streets of Geislingen, a very beautiful little village with a population of 4,000 people... but there were almost 3,000 buildings! The streets were wide, long and with lots of cars zipping past us. We visited the Church, swimming pool, number of shops, the beautiful cemetery ( I call it beautiful, because, I have never seen a cemetery filled with flowers and every grave with flower plants and each of them filled with colourful flowers!), the Physiotherapy centre of Anja and the woods next to Geislingen. It was 1.00 p.m. We had some quickly made noodles with soup for lunch, and coffee & cakes at the house of Bettina Kohle, sister of Michael. By three in the evening we left to see the castle of Hohenzollern, (passing through Balingen, the district headquarters) roughly 20 kilometers from Geislingen. The Hohenzollern castle, like one of the castles of the 18th century, was built by the Bavarian and Prussian emperors. It was a wonderful experience to walk through the castle with a guide and a good number of people. The building is well maintained and clean. In comparison to most of our national monuments in India that are least cared for, and the people dirtying them all around, the cleanliness everywhere marked a sign of people's attention to maintain quality. It is not enough to say, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness". We must practice it. More photos are downloadable at : The Fortress, The Emperors, and the Facade

In the evening, the family of Bettina, and Matze and Sandra Müller joined us for a grand dinner. We had lots of talk about India, about the Bishop, and about the next day's plans.

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