This year we had a particularly large group (approximately 70) visiting from Germany, as the Bad Vilbel based choir “Zwischentöne” joined the visit to Glossop. A number of participants travelled by coach from Germany, arriving by ferry at Hull and driving via Castle Howard in North Yorkshire to Glossop. They were greeted at a reception at the George Hotel by the Mayor of High Peak and members of the Twinning Association.
On Friday there was a full day trip to North Wales. The visitors were very impressed with Penrhyn Castle; they enjoyed visiting the Victorian stately home with its lovely grounds, railway museum and beautiful views over the Menai Straits. (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/penrhyn-castle). The late afternoon and evening were spent in the pretty seaside town of Beaumaris, where some members visited the medieval castle, one of a string of castles built along the North Wales coast in the 13th century by Edward I to control the local inhabitants. (https://www.visitanglesey.co.uk/en/things-to-do/activities/beaumaris-castle/). The group enjoyed an evening barbecue and sunset over the Irish Sea before travelling back to Glossop.
On Saturday there was a guided tour following the Hadfield and Padfield Heritage Trail. (http://www.hadfieldandpadfieldheritagetrail.btck.co.uk/). Our visitors were introduced to some of the history of the area and were guided past significant buildings and locations in the two villages. In the afternoon a smaller group walked around the Longdendale reservoirs, while choir members made their way back to Glossop for a rehearsal. (https://www.unitedutilities.com/about-us/recreation-sites/Longendale-Valley-and-Trail/). The social evening at Oaklands Hotel, Hyde was a great success. The choir performed a wide repertoire of songs and the evening was rounded off with a disco. Our visitors love to dance!
On Sunday there was a half day trip to Bakewell, where the group was able to sample some genuine Bakewell Pudding. (https://www.bakewellpuddingshop.co.uk/)
2014 Bad Vilbel
We were welcomed in Bad Vilbel at the “Haus der Begegnung” at a reception with a traditional Hessian buffet.
On Friday we set off on a beautiful sunny morning to the town of Marburg (about an hour and a half from Bad Vilbel). https://www.marburg-tourismus.de/ Marburg is a historic university town, location of the oldest Protestant university in the world and home to the Grimm brothers at the beginning of the 19th century. There is a trail around the town with representations of the various fairy tales to spot, such as Cinderella’s slipper and the witch’s house from ‘Hänsel and Gretel’. On arrival in Marburg we were taken on a guided tour of the lovely Elisabeth Church, built in 1235 at the burial site of St. Elisabeth of Thüringen. https://www.marburg-tourismus.de/staedteerlebnis/marburg-entdecken/sehenswuerdigkeiten/elisabethkirche/
This was followed by free time to explore the attractive gift shops and visit the castle on the hill above the town https://www.marburg-tourismus.de/staedteerlebnis/marburg-entdecken/sehenswuerdigkeiten/landgrafenschloss/.
We then travelled to Schloss Rauischholzhausen which now belongs to the University of Gießen, a stately home with extensive gardens laid out in the traditional English style (unusual in Germany!), where we enjoyed a delicious buffet meal and some singing. https://www.marburg-tourismus.de/staedteerlebnis/region-entdecken/burgen-ruinen-schloesser/schloss-rauischholzhausen/
Saturday was a free day for visitors to spend with their hosts. Many headed into nearby Frankfurt to visit the cathedral, walk along the river Main, call in at Goethe’s birthplace https://www.goethehaus-frankfurt.de/goethehaus or browse around the shops. On Saturday evening we enjoyed a meal and dancing at the Social Evening at the Kurpark Hotel.
On Sunday there was a trip to Seligenstadt, which is a small town on the river Main near the border between Hessen and Bavaria. https://www.seligenstadt.de/tourismus/ueber-seligenstadt/ Seligenstadt was part of a Roman fortification in the 1st century AD, but the focus for our visit was the monastery built when Seligenstadt became a significant place of pilgrimage in 828, when the bones of the Roman martyrs St. Marcellinus and St. Petrus were brought there. The monastery had an amazing herb garden; the monks used the herbs to make medicines for the community. After visiting the monastery we enjoyed a stroll around the town in the hot sunshine.
The ice cream shop was doing excellent business! We photographed many of the lovely half-timbered buildings and saw the traditional maypole in the town square.
Our visitors were greeted at an official reception at Windy Harbour Hotel: a chance to renew old friendships.
On Friday we set off to Lancaster, where we visited the Priory and Lancaster Castle.
We had a very informative tour, in German, of Lancaster Priory given by a member of staff from the university. The musicians in the German group were particularly interested in the history of the organ in the Priory. (https://lancasterpriory.org/). The tour of Lancaster Castle was also very interesting (although rather gruesome in parts!); the Germans were fascinated to see the part of the castle which was still used as a prison until very recently and the court room, where the British judicial system was explained to them (in simple form!) http://www.lancastercastle.com/ From Lancaster we travelled further north to Leighton Hall, where we were greeted and given a guided tour by the owner of the house. The lovely sunny afternoon was perfect for visiting the extensive gardens, enjoying afternoon tea and taking in a bird of prey demonstration in the grounds. http://www.leightonhall.co.uk/ For the evening meal we drove to the coast to enjoy the Art Deco splendour of the iconic Midland Hotel in Morecambe. https://englishlakes.co.uk/the-midland/
Unfortunately the weather turned and Saturday was terribly wet. There was a guided walking tour of Old Glossop, but only a few hardy souls turned out and we all soon retreated to find dry places to spend the afternoon! Never mind: Saturday evening was lovely. We were treated to an excellent meal at the Oaklands Hotel in Hyde and an amazing swing band provided the music for the evening.
On Sunday there was time for hosts to show their visitors something of the area. We had a picnic on the Moors and then went to Buxton and enjoyed visiting the Pavilion Gardens where there was an interesting art exhibition and lovely collection of tropical plants in the hot house. Afternoon tea in the Old Hall Hotel was a special treat. https://www.visitbuxton.co.uk/pavilion-gardens/
This was a special year as it was the 30th anniversary of the Twinning Charter being signed in Glossop.
Our guests were greeted at an official reception at the Windy Harbour Hotel with the traditional speeches and exchange of gifts.
On Friday we set off to visit the beautiful Peak District. Our first stop was Cromford Mill, where we learned all about the history of the first fully mechanised cotton mill in the world, including a guided tour with a holographic projection of Sir Richard Arkwright telling his story. Our guide also did a demonstration using one of the original spinning machines. https://www.cromfordmills.org.uk/visit-us
From Cromford we travelled further into the Peak to the village of Crich, where we visited the superb National Tramway Museum. The weather was fantastic and the freedom to ride on the trams as much as we liked proved very popular, as did the extensive exhibition, period themed shops and restaurants. Crich was a very popular choice with the whole group and we also had a very entertaining guided tour in German with the guide dressed in a historic uniform of the Berlin transport company. https://www.tramway.co.uk/
Our last stop was at Hassop: a former station on the disused railway line which is now the Monsal Trail. (https://www.hassopstation.co.uk/) On arrival at Hassop, we were treated to a Morris dancing demonstration by the Winster Morris Men (and women!). (https://www.winstermorrisdancers.org/). Our visitors enjoyed watching this traditional English pastime and the leader of the dancing group explained about the history/legends behind the particular dances and the costumes. Then the moment came when they asked for volunteers to join in; many of the Germans were keen to have a go – they all seem to love dancing! It was a lovely evening so we posed in the sunshine for group photos looking over the Monsal Trail. (https://www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/visiting/trails/monsaltrail)
On Saturday we headed back into the Peak District with our visitors, driving via Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs to Eyam, where we visited an exhibition of the history of the ‘Plague Village’ (https://www.eyam-museum.org.uk/) and then on to Bakewell to sample some authentic Bakewell Pudding. (https://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/explore/towns-and-villages/bakewell-p680091). After a quick stop at beautiful Monsal Head for a photo opportunity, we travelled back to Glossop to get ready for the Social Evening at the Oaklands Hotel.
On Sunday afternoon, we gathered at the Parish Church in Old Glossop for a special service to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the twinning link between the two towns.
2018 Bad Vilbel
The twinning charter was actually signed in Germany in 1988, so this was considered the 30th anniversary year in Bad Vilbel. As part of the celebration, members of the German committee had decorated the Hassia spring on the riverside in Bad Vilbel and we were invited to join in the inauguration ceremony and chat to passers-by about Glossop. Loved the use of flags to preserve Cupid’s modesty!
It was a balmy 38C when we gathered at ‘Haus der Begegnungen’ on Thursday for the official welcome ceremony and the extremely hot weather persisted throughout the whole trip. On Friday we set off for Rüdesheim, a wine growing centre on the banks of the Rhine. (https://www.ruedesheim.de/ruedesheimundassmannshausenamrhein/). Our first call was to the heritage cable car which has been taking visitors from the town of Rüdesheim up over the vineyards to the ‘Niederwalddenkmal’, the statue of ‘Germania’ erected in 1883 to commemorate the German victory in the Franco-Prussian war. ‘Germania’ stands on the top of the hill looking defiantly in the direction of France! (http://www.niederwalddenkmal.de/) There is a lovely forested area near the statue with a selection of pretty woodland walks and the occasional viewpoint giving a fantastic view over the Rhine Valley. It is possible to walk to Assmannshausen and then catch the boat back along the Rhine to Rüdesheim, but we had return tickets on the cable car, so we returned by the same route. Back in Rüdesheim we had lunch at a traditional pub with typical German ‘umpah’ music.
After a short time to look around the town, we went to a wine merchant’s premises to sample some of the local wines. The bus then met us and took us to the next village called Oestrich Winkel, (https://www.oestrich-winkel.de/tourismus-freizeit/) where we visited the home of the poet Clemens Brentano. We were shown the room where Goethe slept when he visited in 1814 and we ate our evening meal in the attractive garden with its adjacent vineyard. (http://www.brentano-haus.de/ )
On Saturday there was a guided tour of Frankfurt’s new ‘Old Town’. (https://www.frankfurt-tourismus.de/Entdecken-und-Erleben/Best-of-Frankfurt2/neue-altstadt). Some years earlier it had been decided to re-build the old town, which was destroyed completely in World War II, using plans of the original buildings. A €200 million project to rebuild the heart of old Frankfurt has just been completed. 15 buildings were reconstructed as exact replicas and a further 20 were reconstructed in the style of the period.
Later that afternoon we gathered at the Church of the Resurrection in Bad Vilbel for a service to mark the 30th anniversary of the signing of the twinning charter in Germany. This was followed by another enjoyable Social Evening at the Kurpark Hotel.
On Sunday we met at the Historical Museum in Frankfurt for a guided tour, which included a viewing of a copy of the Imperial crown and jewels. (https://www.historisches-museum-frankfurt.de/) Afterwards there were plenty of other sights to enjoy in the city, from a boat trip on the Main to areal views from the Main Tower (https://www.maintower.de/en/) and of course numerous shopping opportunities. A lovely day in an interesting city!