The movers were showing up to move us from Hetzerath, Germany, to RAF Mildenhall, UK – and as we would be in transition through Christmas – my wife set up this little table-top Christmas Tree to celebrate Christmas a little early, while we were beginning to pack up our household for the move.
We didn’t want David to miss Christmas in a hotel room over the holidays, so as the rest of the house was packed up – this table and small Christmas Tree remained in place for our early opening of presents – prior to driving to England at the end of the month.
This posting also completes my Spangdahlem AB Chapter as well, and a new Chapter at RAF Mildenhall would be opening soon…so stay tuned for my last assignment and the quaint and beautiful English countryside! 🙂
David shows off the St. Martin’s Lantern that he made in school as part of a class project to participate in the annual St. Martin’s Day Eve Procession.
David waits beside his pumpkin – now a Jack ‘O Lantern – while waiting to join the St. Martin’s Day Eve Procession.
St. Martin of Tours lived from 316 – 398 AD, and was a charitable Roman soldier, a monk and the Bishop of Tours, France – and he is celebrated on November 11th every year.
The Feast Day of St. Martin is celebrated in Europe on November 11th – the St. Martin’s Procession is on the eve proceeding his Feast Day.
David takes a look at the caged goose that will be pulled by the school children as part of the celebration – which is similar to our Thanksgiving.
The crowd of parents and their children begins to gather and assemble for the entrance of St. Martin riding a horse and dressed as a Roman soldier.
The children carry paper lanterns they made in school, while some of the parents have flaming torches to light the way along the procession route to the roaring bonfire.
Children pull the carriage containing the goose to start the procession – my old camera used to reveal these ghost-like images on the film at night.
The lanterns for the children used to be illuminated with tea candles, but the fire hazard was discontinued with the arrival of an electric lamp version instead.
St. Martin leads the procession dressed as a Roman soldier on horseback, while the horse seems to by spooked from either the flash of my camera or the ghost image that developed on the film in front of him.
David takes his turn pulling the goose carriage with another boy, while the bonfire in the distance reveals the procession’s destination – with yet another ghost image appearing on the film.
We seemed to have left the ghost image behind, and this photo shows David and another boy pulling the goose carriage – with the distant bonfire in the darkness.
The bonfire glows in the distance – started and fueled by the local fire department with a firetruck standing by for safety.
Another view of the distant bonfire with David pulling the goose carriage alongside all the children participating in the procession.
David and another boy pull the goose carriage as the bonfire is now close at hand for all to gather around – and await the giant, fresh, soft baked pretzels that will be handed out to all the participants.
St. Martin on horseback and the children stay a safe distance upwind from the bonfire – as the firemen keep watch nearby beside their fire engine.
The bonfire becomes a raging inferno as the accumulated pile of wood from the forest fuels the never ending appetite of the flames.
With the flames of the bonfire raging in the darkness, St. Martin will soon begin the process of handing out the soft baked pretzels to the children – reenacting the charitable kindness of the once Roman soldier, monk and later Bishop of Tours, France.
These three photos are all the same – I only cropped them to allow you to see the details – of David (yellow belt) performing an Okinawa style of Karate Kata with his instructor (black belt) at the Spangdahlem AB gym.
David learned an Okinawan form of Karate – and performs his Kata while holding two martial arts weapons – called a Sai.
The Sai is a short version of a three pronged trident – and typically used in pairs during practice Katas – which showed discipline and accuracy of Sai placement as extensions of the arms.
On the way back to Garmisch from Munich, we stopped to see Landsberg am Lech – a picturesque city on the Lech River – just west of Munich.
This is a statue and fountain dedicated to the Virgin Mary – and sits prominently in Landsberg am Lech’s main city square.
I love the Old World medieval tower gates of European cities, and this one had a nice character all it’s own.
Nicely squeezed in and supported by the neighboring buildings overlooking the city square – this tower is a real feature for Landsberg am Lech.
This view of a central area of Landsberg am Lech shows the front side entrance to the “Maria Himmelfahrt Kirche” or “Assumption Landsberg” – clearly visible on the Google Map satellite view.
This is the “Maria Himmelfahrt Kirche” or “Assumption Landsberg” Church from the front – the beautiful bell tower is offset near the middle of the long sanctuary.
As far as I can tell, this tower is the same one as the previous tower I showed – only this photo is taken from the tower’s opposite side.
David stands on a long staircase leading up to the “Hl. Kreuz Landsberg” or “Holy Cross Landsberg – Daughter Church of the Assumption.”
David and I stand at the magestic entrance doors to the “Hl. Kreuz Landsberg” church – as David proudly makes what looks like drooping rabbit ears above my head.
This is a close-in view of the High Altar of the “Hl. Kreuz Landsberg” – which has a wonderfully ornate and detailed interior.
This is a more distant view of the High Altar of the “Hl. Kreuz Landsberg” – an amazing work of the hands of man – for the Glory of God.
This is a view of the church’s beautiful double balcony – with an amazing pipe organ near the church’s ceiling – as if in a cloud.
A sectional painting of the sanctuary’s ceiling – painted with a beautiful portrayal of Heaven in the “Hl. Kreuz Landsberg.”
I can’t identify this church – but though a little smaller – I still love all of these beautiful Bavarian churches with their onion dome bell towers.
The rear of this beautiful church has a wondrous Crucifix – with the Virgin Mary weeping at the foot of Jesus’ Cross.
I cropped this photo of the Crucifix with the Virgin Mary weeping at the foot of Jesus’ Cross – in order give the setting the reverence it deserves.
This appears to be a view looking east from the Karolinebrücke towards the Old City central district area.
This is another statue and fountain monument dedicated to the Virgin Mary – but I can’t locate where in Landsberg am Lech I saw it.
This is a classic section of the inside of an old city wall that at one time surrounded the city – while open to the inside of the city – the outside is a fortified solid wall with small defensive windows.
Our family took a trip to Munich from Garmisch – this building is the Bavarian State Opera House and National Theater or “Nationaltheater.”
David and I sit under the Monument to Maximilian I – I especially liked the lion statues.
I was a little off center with David’s rabbit ears here under the Monument to Maximilian I – but if I had first looked it would have given it away to him.
These pictures are from Munich’s Marienplatz – my favorite part of Munich – the entire area is a pedestrian zone lined with historic buildings and stores.
This building is the New Town Hall, built in the Flemish Gothic Style and 279 feet tall – completed in 1909.
This monument is the Column of St. Mary or “Mariensäule” – the guilded statue of Mary was sculpted in 1590, and the column erected in 1638.
Another view of the Column of St. Mary or “Mariensäule” – and you can see the pedestrian zone ahead with stores and shops.
This is a “living statue” or what we could call street art or street theater – and it was amazing to see how still she was able to hold her pose.
Another “living statue” which David decided to pose beside – European cities are always alive with artists and musicians practicing their art and creativity on the sidewalks.
I cropped this image of David standing beside a sculpture of a wild boar cast in bronze.
David poses beside a sculpture of a very large fish – European cities often have an abundance of sculptures on public display for everyone to enjoy.
This is a cropped photo of David reading the label of a bottle of water at an outdoor cafe – note the image in the window – which is the following picture.
I cropped this image of an artist debating his next brush stroke – and enjoyed how his head is in focus while the reflection of the building builds depth and texture.
This made an interesting composite image – taken I believe in a basement restaurant – with my reflection taking the picture, two wood carvings suspended in mid-air and a historic building’s stairway with tables in the distance.
At one point on our trip we stopped at this scenic overview of a Bavarian mountain lake – and my wife took this picture of David and I.
This is a photo from the village of Hohenschwangau looking up at Neuschwanstein Castle or “Schloss Neuschwanstein” – perched on a mountain peak in the foothills of the Alps.
Once we walked up the paved access road and entered Neuschwanstein Castle, this is the view from the courtyard after passing through the entry gate in the outer wall.
Another view of the tower that soars high above the courtyard – from this point we took the tour of the castle’s interior – where no photographs were allowed.
From one of the upper rooms of the castle this was the view looking out the window towards King Ludwig II’s father’s castle, Hohenschwangau Castle or “Schloss Hohenschwangau.”
This is another view of Hohenschwangau Castle looking through the open window of one of the upper rooms of Neuschwanstein Castle.
After the interior tour of Neuschwanstein Castle, we walked the footpath towards a narrow bridge over a deep canyon called, “The Marienbrücke over the Pöllat Gorge.”
Another view of Neuschwanstein Castle’s exterior at the western end, and the previous photos of Hohenschwangau Castle were taken from one of these upper windows.
As we followed the footpath toward the high narrow bridge over the deep canyon, I stopped to take a photo from this angle of Neuschwanstein Castle – and this is the cropped version.
This was the original photo, and here I tried to frame Neuschwanstein Castle within a gap in the forest with trees on either side.
From “The Marienbrücke over the Pöllat Gorge” we had the best view of Neuschwanstein Castle standing on the very narrow bridge over a very deep canyon – here’s David on the bridge.
My wife took this picture of David and I on, “The Marienbrücke over the Pöllat Gorge” – with Neuschwanstein Castle in the background.
David took this picture of me on, “The Marienbrücke over the Pöllat Gorge” – and from his aspect you can see how adults look from a child’s perspective looking up at us.
At this point I took a couple of photos of Neuschwanstein Castle – trying to get a nice aspect with as much landscape in it as possible.
You can see the flat Bavarian plain is it extends northward from the Bavarian foothills of the Alps.
Then I moved to a different spot on the bridge and continued my landscape photos of Neuschwanstein Castle – and you can get a feeling of the majestic location and view the castle has of the surrounding area – this is my desktop background photo.
This was the final photo taken from a vertical aspect, which shows how steep the rock descends from the southern foundation of the castle into the next valley below.
Our family took the chairlift up to the top of the mountain just SE of the town of Oberammergau, and the view was amazing.
One aspect of Germany that really impresses me is that with so many people living in the country per square kilometer, the areas outside of towns and villages can be like stepping into pristine wilderness.
Another aspect of Germany is that most everywhere it is as clean and tidy as you can imagine – like all Alpine countries – and it is wonderful to see everything so nicely manicured.
David and I climbed to the top of the mountain peak near where the chair lift took us to, and here we are up on the very summit.
David and I stand next to the flag on the summit of the mountain – it wasn’t a very tall mountain – but the views were still amazing.
David and I stand at on the observation platform with the Bavarian countryside stretching to the distant horizon.
David and I were always best buddies, and here my wife takes our picture together – I have just as many pictures of her too, but she would rather remain private and not be on-line.
David and I were always goofing around for the camera, and either one of us would try to sneak in a pair of “rabbit ears” into the picture when possible – like I do here for David. 🙂
On the way down the chairlift we had a beautiful view of the Oberammergau valley in front of us.
It was a very pleasant day to take a ride on the chairlift and we enjoyed the scenery immensely.
The ride down the mountain was dramatic enough to give you a nice scenic ride – but mellow enough for almost anyone to ride the chairlift.
Here’s a nice view of the Oberammergau valley stretching out in front of us between two mountain ridges.
Near the lower right corner of this picture of Oberammergau, you can see the clustered community and long parallel buildings of The NATO School in Oberammergau.
As our chairlift descends you can see how the town of Oberammergau lies nestled in a very pleasant, green valley.
You can clearly see The NATO School at the bottom right of the picture, along with the pleasant surroundings that make attending the school a very enjoyable experience.
Beyond The NATO School in the foreground, you can see Oberammergau’s white church just left of the center of the picture – with the characteristic onion dome bell tower that is common in Bavaria.