We all had different experiences
of the weekend as this was free time with our hosts: for some a trip to
the nearby towns of Bamberg or Rothenburg; for some hiking in the
countryside or even enjoying the spa towns of Marienbad
and Carlsbad in the Czech Republic, not too far away.
Monday saw our first
group excursion by train to Ingolstadt, the home of Audi cars but with
some interesting old buildings still surviving despite the best efforts
of the Allies to bomb the place to bits.
We were all
impressed with the amazing Assam ceiling with its optical
the Jesuit discussion hall.
Other excursions during the week included
Nuremberg, the spa at Bad Staffelstein, a boat trip through the Danube
gorge to the Weltenberg Monastery.
Everyone enjoyed the trip
to Coburg, especially to the castle of Rosenau, the childhood home of
Prince Albert. Victoria loved this place and visited the
castle many times even after the death of Albert. It is
reported that she said: ”If I were not who I am , this is
where I would choose to be”. After World War One
the castle was taken over by the state and used over the years as a
hospital, refugee camp and old people’s home. The
restoration of the castle, started in 1990, was made possible when the
Queen allowed copies to be made of water colours of the rooms in the
castle which Victoria had commissioned as a birthday present for Albert
so that he could be reminded of his beloved Rosenau. From the
water colours, the rooms could be restored to their former state. Often
this just meant stripping off the whitewash over the original paper.