. He went through each painting explaining what it was about, it was so interesting and good to have such an informed explanation. We then moved up through three levels into the bell tower. It is a seriously cool place. We got up there 30 seconds before 11AM so we were standing right next to the bells as they chimed 11. 'Chimed' isn’t the right word to describe a bell that weighs almost 1 tonne; I think ‘reverberates to your bones’ is a better way to say it. The top of the bell tower is amazing; the structure the bell sits in is called the ‘Glockenstuhl’ – seat of the bell. It holds 3 bells and it is a mass of old rough sawn beams the size of 3 railway sleepers all-together.
Here we were told many stories about the bells. One I remember particularly was about how the bells were taken down and melted for weapons during war. When bells were brought back it was a very emotional time for the people of Kieselbronn. The sound of the bells is a very special and unique to each town, the bells signal marriage, death, christenings and the hours. They are the sound of a hometown. When you hear the bells you feel at home. To have them back and sounding through the town again was a wonderful thing for the people. He told us about an Owl and a Hawk who lived in the bell tower together. They are able to share a home so well because one is home by day and the other by night, I can’t say living next to those bells I’d get much sleep though
. After church, Hilde and Karl took us out to lunch. We went to a place that was literally called "Dog Sports Club." It was right next to a dog agility-training place so you could bring you dog after training to lunch and it could sit under the table while you eat. It was a very nice place. The meals were HUGE. Its really quite astounding what some people have come to believe is a good size for a meal and I’m not sure how you can count 3 slices of cucumber, a light grate of carrot and I piece of lettuce as a the side salad. But apart from the size that put me off food for the next week, it was delicious, well the jagerschnitzel with mushroom sauce and spatzle that I had was. It was quite tricky choosing off a menu I couldn’t read. We walked home in the cold which helped a lot with over stuffed tummies, and all had tea and cake from a proper matching tea set for afternoon tea.
After afternoon tea Ute and Harald took us to an old, old Monastery
. My description just cannot do it justice. For a European, maybe it is not so exciting but as the first massive beautiful place like that I’ve seen how could I not be impressed in a big way. It was so cool, even just the “veranda” had beautifully carved columns and a vaulted ceiling and beautiful clover pattern at the top of the windows. In some places there was still the moat and there was one watch tower ruin left and one that must have been highly restored and remade, it seemed to have a more modern bit added on top that apparently Goethe lived in back in the day. Now someone still lives in it, which is pretty extraordinary. Imagine your house being twenty or thirty meters tall, I don’t remember exactly how tall, and every room is totally round and only about ten meters across. It would be like living in a stack of fruit tins. But it was stunning, so beautiful. Imagine the room at the top, it’s slightly bigger, and has 360-degree windows – 360 degrees of the best view in the whole area. I think you would feel like a bird in a nest. Just imagine having that as your living room… Anyway, there are heaps of pictures from this afternoon up. I love castles and ruins. It would be so cool to live in one.
This morning we went to church. We went because we wanted to see the church where Granny and Pop were married. When we got there and had sat down Ute whispered to us the Hilde had told the Priest that we were here, that we were visitors from Australia. She is so proud and happy to have us here. The service started and the German was all going over my head then I suddenly realized the Priest was saying something in English. He was announcing our presence to everyone! He welcomed us and said how it was good we were coming to see the village of our ancestors. It was embarrassing at the time with everyone turning to have a good old geezer but it was a very kind gesture. After the service (which Felix was able to understand a little of and found interesting – it was very modern in its style and Lutheran values) the priest came to meet us. He took us on an amazing tour of the church. We started in the main part and he told us about how it was before it was restored. During the restoration they discovered the walls were covered with old paintings and frescoes many of which have been restored