Germany is one of, if not the most beautiful of all the European countries. From the North Sea all the way down to deepest Bavaria, there are breathtaking sights to behold.  Most people would associate Germany with the famous castle, Neuschwanstein, but that is just one of the many jewels in its crown.  Many towns throughout Germany have castles and palaces.  From the Black Forest where cuckoo clocks are still handmade to the hills in Idar Oberstein where beautiful jewels are brought from the earth, to the ruins of Roman baths in Trier, there is always an adventure waiting just around each turn.  What follows is just a quick glimpse into some of the places I lived in and visited.  Enjoy!

I first moved to Germany in early 1975 to what was then, a rather quiet little village by the name of Gelnhausen.  The City of Gelnhausen, located in the Kinzig-Valley between Frankfurt and Fulda was founded in 1170 by emperor Friedrich Barbarossa.  Gelnhausen can look back to 825 years of history and once was an important part  of the German 'Kaiserreich'.  Important historical  figures called Gelnhausen their home.  The writer Johann Jacob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen (1622-1676) and Philipp Reis, the inventor of the bicycle and the telephone, were born in Gelnhausen.

Now if you go in the opposite direction, down and around a few curvy roads you will come to the town of Buedingen.  This is where I worked for 3 years at the Army Education  Center. Buedingen is smaller than Gelnhausen, but certainly doesn't lack in charm.  It has its own castle in town,  complete with black swans swimming in the moat.  A favorite place to go.  Not too far outside of Buedingen on another one of those very curvy roads you come to the village of  Ronnenburg.  They also have their own castle, which in its  time must have been quite splendid.  You can walk thru what was left of it and imagine what it must have been like long long ago.  I would drive past it daily on my way to and from work and it never failed to amaze me that there was actually a castle sitting on top of the hill.

Now I toured Germany in a rather unconventional manner when I lived there the first time.  I was involved with the European Rodeo Association and we performed at rodeos every weekend all over Germany from April through September. We camped in tents at whatever location we were performing.  Now camping in Germany in the spring and summer can be a very drenching experience.  Dry clothes and warm showers, when available, were truly appreciated.  We slept, ate and lived rodeo.  One of the most vivid memories I have is of performing on July 4, 1976,(America's Bi-Centenial) at the  olympic stadium in Nuremberg.  This stadium is often seen in newsreel footage with Hitler making one of his speeches.   We performed before sellout crowds for 3 days.  It was quite a rush!  Also during those wonderful 3 years, I skied  the Alps in Garmish, visited all of King Ludwig's beautiful castles and saw, what was then, East Germany. I visited cut  glass crystal and "porcelan" factories on the East German  border, shopped in beautiful candle factories and admired the workmanship of the wood carvers in the Black Forest.

In summer of 1982 I once again traveled back to Germany.  This time to live briefly in the town of Pirmasens, then down to a very little village by the name of Fischbach bei Dahn, which is almost on the French border.  My fondest memories of there are of shoe shopping in Dahn and going to the Christkindl Markt across the border in Strousborg, France.  Christkindl Markt or Christmas Markets as they were known to the Americans were something that should not be missed.  The ornaments, the nativities, the smell of lebkuchen and the taste of gluhwein. Unbelievable!

July of 1983 brought another move, this time to the area of Ramstein-Miesenbach.  This area is best known to Americans as home of Ramstein Air Force base and Kaiserslautern, or K-town as it is commonly called.  It has one of the largest concentrations of American personnel in Germany. It was hard to miss the American influence, but still possible to find  the real Germany.

Ramstein, host community for Ramstein Air Base, was first  mentioned in historical documents in 1215. It survived several occupations through the years, but the town was completely destroyed during the thirty Years' War in the  early to mid-17th century.  For more than a century the village grew steadily.  The village's first factory was constructed in 1898 creating more jobs.  After World War II,  Ramstein Air Force Base was constructed accelerating the economic growth of the village.  Ramstein received its city status in May 1991.  Today, this community has a combined population of more than 18,000.  The relationship Americans enjoy with their German hosts continues to generate goodwill, friendship, and understanding.

This has been a rather lengthly tour of Germany and my  memories of it.  I hope the historical facts were not too boring, as I felt they were a essential part of this page.

Special thanks goes out to the following people.
  To"Bluewebb"You started this whole thing! To Streak for my background and header (and my terrific moon too!). To all my crazy Rodeo buddies, wherever you might be. To the guys from 3/12 who made Buedingen a great place to work. And to the OWC of Ramstein AB for adopting an "Army" wife!

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