August 23 Kottenheim / Maria Laach

Next up was finding our way to Kottenheim,  in the Eifel, and Gertrud’s cousin. 2018 was the year for the biennial potato pancake festival there, the Kröbbelchesfest.

Before the festival began, we visited Maria Laach, a nearby monastery. It’s a huge place, including a restaurant, a hotel, a gift shop and a sculpture garden in addition to the monastery itself.

Maria Laach monastery

Maria Laach monastery

At Maria Laach

At Maria Laach

Courtyard at Maria Laach

Courtyard at Maria Laach

Stained glass window

Stained glass window

Another stained glass window

Another stained glass window

Sign at Maria Laach

Sign at Maria Laach

Fused glass birds in the gift shop

Fused glass birds in the gift shop

In the sculpture garden

In the sculpture garden

Fountain at Maria Laach

Fountain at Maria Laach


August 21-22 Traben-Trarbach to Bernkastel-Kues and back

After a couple of days in Cochem, Gertrud wanted to visit Bernkastel-Kues, on down the Mosel. I checked the Internet, and all the hotels I looked at seemed to be fully booked. So, we stopped on the way at Traben-Trarbach instead and took a day trip to Bernkastel-Kues.

The Mosel River is not passable by the big ships between Cochem and Traben-Trarbach, so we were back to trains. On the way to and from Traben-Trarbach, we had to change trains in the tiny village of Bullay. The train station had some interesting tile murals. Here’s one:


Gertrud needed to change some dollars. We tried in Cochem, to find that the bank would not take her large bills. I looked around the train station in Bullay and found a bank. I asked the teller there about changing US dollars, large bills. With her passport in hand, Gertrud got her euros…

Train station at Bullay

Front of train station at Bullay

Once we arrived in Traben-Trarbach (it took me days to be able to spit that out), we went to our hotel in Trarbach (Traben is on one side of the river, Trarbach is on the other).

Traben, on one side of the river.    Traben, on one side of the river


  Gateway to Trarbach

We took a day trip, still on the Mosel, to Bernkastel-Kues. On the way we passed under a huge bridge:

Bernkastel-Kues is quite picturesque, especially around the marketplace. And, as it turned out, the town has a service to help tourists find a hotel. There would have been no problem with a hotel.

  Marketplace in the heart of Bernkastel-Kues

Another part of the Bernkastel-Kues marketplace.

Another part of the Bernkastel-Kues marketplace. So much for my little point-and-shoot camera and perspective, though….

Stained glass window in a pizzeria

Stained glass window in a pizzeria in Bernkastel-Kues

Bernkastel-Kues from above

Bernkastel-Kues from above

Back in Trarbach, this was the pedestrian street behind our hotel:

August 19-20 From Koblenz to Cochem

Early Sunday morning Gertrud’s brother Günther drove us to Koblenz to the pier from which the ship was to leave. Although Gertrud was born and raised in Cologne, she had never taken this trip.

Leaving Koblenz Leaving Koblenz

Along the way we saw one of the ships for river cruises:

For river cruises

For river cruises 

Along the Mosel we had to pass through a lock:

We saw a lot of castles and picturesque buildings:



After about five hours, we arrived in Cochem:


I used to look at a wonderful photo of this town in our gallery, which was why I wanted to see Cochem for myself. My photos aren’t nearly so impressive, though….

Near the center of activity in the town I found this painted building, which I thought was interesting:

Painted building in Cochem

I liked this detail:

The church had some rather modern windows:

Window in Cochem church

August 18 Onward to Boppard

Next up was a trip down the Mosel from Koblenz to Cochem. But first I needed to get to Boppard, to meet my friend Gertrud, who lives not far from me in Tucson. Her brother arranged a hotel room for me. We had dinner in a wonderful restaurant where Gertrud’s nephew-in-law is the chef.

Around Boppard were several old castles, like this one:

August 17 Zwiesel

Zwiesel was a good choice for a hotel. I picked it because I was tired of changing trains with three pieces of luggage (suitcase, bag with DSLR, laptop) and purse. It’s a pretty town and I found some extra glass events.


Glass show by the church in Zwiesel

Glass show by the church in Zwiesel


The exhibit included several glass artists with whom I wasn’t familiar. Here are a few:


Giuliano Luigi Gaigher - Delusione 2017

Giuliano Luigi Gaigher – Delusione 2017


Vladimir Klein's Blue Planet

Vladimir Klein’s Blue Planet

Reiner Schlestein, Blumenmädchen 2018

Reiner Schlestein, Blumenmädchen 2018

August 15-16, Frauenau (and Zwiesel)

The manager at the hotel explained a different, less dangerous route to the train station.

Zwiesel is a 15-minute train ride from Frauenau, my real destination. It turns out that hotels have visitor cards, which means I can ride the train and buses in the area for free. It also includes admission to some museums, etc. — except I always forget about the card for them.

Before I go to the museum, I wander around Frauenau a little, visiting a couple of stores that sell glass. This is a religious holiday in Bavaria, so many of the stores are closed. The bus I was expecting also didn’t run.

My first stop is the Glass Museum in Frauenau. It’s a good-sized (relative to the other three museums I’ve seen on this trip) museum, glass walls, glass staircase. It’s on two floors, includes a café, is located in a park with a pond and many glass sculptures. It’s next to the Eisch facility (gallery / sales shop / glass-blowing facility).

Glasmuseum Frauenau

Ron Fischer, "Arche II", in the Glass Garden

Ron Fischer, “Arche II”, in the Glass Garden

Mosaic in the floor near the entrance of the museum

Mosaic in the floor near the entrance of the museum

The museum offers a well-done history of glass, with apparently a lot of original pieces. It also offers an overview of glass in the area, which is on the border to what is now the Czech Republic. This area has had glass since the 1600s — the Poschinger Glass facility is still in business. The glass place I visited on my first trip to Germany in 1969 has disappeared, but it must have been in Zwiesel, because of its name (Arber –and many businesses have Arber in their names).

I wander through the Glass Garden, which leads in part to the Eisch sales area.

The sales part of Eisch is open, so I wander through that, as well. Eisch was begun in the mid-1940s, after the war. Best known is the son, Erwin Eisch, now in his 90s. He, along with Harvey Littleton, was a mover and shaker in the modern studio art glass movement. He was also one of the founders of the glass museum.

On Thursday I visit von Poschinger, complete with a tour.

This is apparently the largest manufacturer in the area, as well as the oldest. It has a retail outlet, but apparently most of its production is fulfilling orders by other companies. The tour was interesting. One of the other participants was a woman whose father was American. The other part of the group is a couple with their daughter. It turns out the woman is a well-known Bavarian moderator/actress — I didn’t know who she was, but the other woman recognized her.

Back in Zwiesel I set out to explore and find the exhibit at the middle school. This is glass, ceramics, paintings, wood, metal… on three floors. With lots of windows, it’s great for glass.

Glass sculpture in show in Zwiesel

Glass sculpture in show in Zwiesel

Copper in glass - sculpture

Copper in glass — sculptural piece in a show in Zwiesel.

Included in the exhibit are some pieces that were winners in a competition at the glass school. Most of the pieces are by women and represent a variety of techniques.

I was actually looking for the huge church. Finding the middle school was luck. Tomorrow I’ll visit the exhibit by the church.


August 14, Zwiesel

My goal today is Zwiesel, in the Bavarian Forest. This is a glass area. The train, from Karlsruhe to Stuttgart, Stuttgart to Nürnberg, Nürnberg to Plattling and Plattling to Zwiesel, offered plenty of chances for delays — and we had them. We got to Nürnberg about 20 minutes late, so I missed the connection to Plattling. Since the train there runs about once an hour and we were so late, the wait wasn’t too long.

In Zwiesel I needed a taxi — and that was a trick, but I finally got one. The Aparthotel Zwiesel, which I found online, turns out to be a 15-minute hike to the train station — through a narrow underpass that’s used by cars and has no sidewalk. I hope to survive the experience….

It turns out that today, beginning at 6 p.m., is the 16th Zwieseler Glas Nacht (Glass Night), complete with a glass pyramid at Zwiesel Kristallglas, tours, a visit to the showroom, glass-blowing demonstrations at the Fachschule für Glas (a government-backed glassblowing school), a glass flea market, a glass chapel, and several music events around, mostly in parks. The pyramid is made up of 93,665 white wine glasses, stacked (but not glued) in 65 layers.

Hundreds of people were out and about. The music events were often competing, but the listeners didn’t seem to mind. Würst and other stands were at the music venues — it’s too bad I’m a vegetarian. The potato puffers at one would have been veggie, but looked soaked in grease.

I wandered through some stores, especially the Zwiesel one, which is huge and includes a bakery, a condiment/wine shop plus all the glass. It would be a great opportunity to get really nice glasses (but not hand-made) at a great price — but shipping would be prohibitive and I don’t trust the postal services, since my other packages seem to be lost.

Zwiesel also seems to have a sculpture program – I found at least three that were labeled. Here are two:


August 11-14, Karlsruhe

Because of bad planning on my part, Hans and Maria expect me in Karlsruhe on Saturday. I arrive in early evening. The train is actually on time (German trains have been mostly late on this trip).

Sunday morning we take a walk around the park by the “Schloss” (castle).

In the afternoon Gabi and Wolfgang are coming for coffee. Hans and Wolfgang used to work together. I met Gabi and Wolfgang in 1978, when they were in Albuquerque. I was still married, my daughter was 13 months old, and we were planning a trip to Europe. The woman who was helping me refresh German and give me vocabulary for little-people things like “high chair” introduced me to Gabi. Hans and Maria came to visit Gabi and her husband and mentioned they would be living in Virginia for a year. As it turned out, we were moving to the same area about the same time.

I saw Hans and Maria a few years ago, but I hadn’t seen Wolfgang and Gabi for at least 30 years. It was really great to be back in touch. And Hans and Maria hadn’t seen them for some years either, so they seemed happy to have a reason to get together.

Monday was spent running errands. I found that my watch wasn’t working, I was trying to fix the jewelry I was planning to send to Longwy for the show on September 1, and I needed to get some more money at the bank. It turned out that the beads I bought didn’t work and the works in my watch were shot. The one success:  I was able to get money.

A second trip to the shopping area got my package to Longwy mailed, the beads that didn’t work returned to the store, my watch picked up and a new watch found at Karstadt (a relatively nice department store chain). It was a little tough finding a watch that wasn’t too expensive — no Timex or Swatch in sight. And I wasn’t up for Movado and the expensive brands. I finally settled for a Rivado, which is the Karstadt brand and which worked with my watchband.

After I packed, I watched the news with Maria and Hans. Maria and I then were up even later when a French film, dubbed into German, came on. She said it was supposed to be a good film. I started watching — until it ended after 2 a.m. It was a good film, but I’m not sure of the title. And it was a short night.


August 9-11, Reutlingen / Riedlingen

Thursday morning it was off to Reutlingen. Although the street car works well, I had the hotel call a taxi. My luggage is too heavy, though I haven’t figured out exactly why.

In Reutlingen, which is also outside Stuttgart but in a different direction than Plüderhausen, I visit Margot and her husband, Ulf. I’ve known Margot since 1994, when she was in Washington on a sabbatical. She and Ulf show me around the area, with dinner at the Stausee, where we’ve been before but which is always nice to see again.

The next day we visited the cathedral at Zwiefalten, which turned out to be under renovation on the inside.

Zwiefalten cathedral Zwiefalten cathedral

After that, we looked around Riedlingen, a picturesque town, while Ulf went to an “underwater circus”. Ulf is a circus enthusiast and expert who writes reviews for a circus publication.iedli

Afterwards, we had dinner at another excellent restaurant with a view.

Our walk by Reutlingen

Our walk by Reutlingen

Saturday Margot and I took a walk around her house, then went to lunch overlooking Reutlingen (with a great cherry torte) and then to the train station to go on.

It was a short visit, but it’s always good to see friends and catch up with what they’ve been doing.


August 8, Leipzig

Down the street, more or less, from the hotel is the Grassi Museum für angewandte Kunst. The building features an Art Nouveau pineapple on the roof, which I found interesting.

Grassi Museum für angewandte Kunst and the Art Deco pineapple

Grassi Museum für angewandte Kunst and the Art Deco pineapple

I planned to spend an hour or so in the museum. It turned into more like four… with lots and lots of glass, including Art Nouveau and newer artists.

I also found the post office and spent an hour filling out forms to send tissues to my cousin in Dallas and more stuff home to me.