img_1645.jpgIn Italy, the 15th of August is a very important holiday. Elsewhere called “Assumption of Mary“, it’s known here as “Ferragosto“. The similarity to “Feast in August” can’t be denied and indeed, the week before and after August 15 is Italy’s main holiday time where life comes to a halt: Stores remind you of their reduced hours, and many restaurants and bars are closed altogether…

The Fincantieri ship yard was closed for the weekend which meant that we were not able to work at all that weekend. Friday was a short working day for us because the air conditioning unit of the data center wasn’t functional and we were therefore unable to power on the servers. What to do with two-and-a-half days of free time? Quick consultation, and then four of us decided to go to my home town in Erfurt, almost 900 km away, not without me giving my parents a quick call first… Good that Jason was here for the week to enjoy not only me and the ship but also Erfurt. Good that Nick (USA) and Alex (Romania) were interested in going because it distributed the fuel costs much better ;-)

We left Monfalcone on Friday afternoon at 3PM but the enthusiasm about the great Alpine landscape all around us was lost when we found ourselves stuck in a traffic jam for 90 minutes just before entering the Tauern Road Tunnel. That made us reach our destination at shortly past midnight. My sister Steffi had prepared an awesome welcome-snack which just hit the spot after the long drive! My parents had ‘booted out’ their children for the night (my brother and sister) and their rooms were set up for the guests :-)

The next day began with a delay because I was unconscious until 10:30 AM and awoke to Nick’s gentle knocking on my door — I’m such a good host :-) We’ve had a relaxed breakfast and then drove to the Petersberg fortress to get a first impression of the city. A short stroll later, we were at the Cathedral and learnt that a guided tour of the Gloriosa bell was due to leave shortly and that there was room on the tour for the four of us. All of that was very exciting for us and it has also for me been the first time to enter the bell tower of the Cathedral. Great views of the Old Town were enjoyed from up there. We then carried on with our tour towards the Kraemerbruecke (alternative link: http://www.kraemerbruecke.de/index.php?lng=eng) and climbed up to the Aegidien Tower which again provided good views of the Old Town. My girlfriend Constanze joined us and we introduced her to the art of Geocaching while further exploring the Old Town and relishing K√∂stritzer beer.

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I’d like to once again mention the thing about the holiday. The Assumption of Mary is also in Germany a catholic holiday important enough to justify the sounding of 10 bells of the main Cathedral, the famous Gloriosa being one of them. We learnt about this during our tour of the church bells. Not surprising to hear that we arranged to be near the Cathedral Square and listen to the bells which we had seen from up close just a short while ago. We were all very impressed, and things couldn’t have worked out any better…

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In a choice very unusual for Thuringian garden parties, we decided against Bratwurst and potatoe salad this time in favour of a Mexican Evening with home-made Chili and Tacos. This was mainly Nick’s fault because for weeks he’s been crying out for tacos which are impossible to get in Monfalcone… So, while we visited the Old Town, my mom has been busy in the kitchen and prepared a great Mexican menu for us…

After a sumptuous Sunday-morning breakfast, we faced a loooong ride back which we planned on spicing up touristically (and Geocaching-statistically) with a short visit of Munich. We didn’t really have a lot of time because we wanted to be back at the hotel at a decent time, but enough time for a visit of the Alter Peter, a taste of Weisswurst,¬† Leberkaese, and a Paulaner beer, the Kaufinger shopping street and the Stachus square.

We reached the hotel at a quarter past 10 and got some rest before the new day at the ship yard…

MORE ERFURT LINKS:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erfurt
http://www.historicgermany.com/erfurt.html
http://www.erfurt-tourismus.de/cms/website.php?id=/en/index.htm
http://www.erfurt.de/ef/en/discover/history/chronologicaltable/
http://www.letsgo.com/15593-germany-travel-guides-th%C3%BCringen-th%C3%BCringen-erfurt-c
http://www.germanplaces.com/germany/erfurt.html