August 17, 2015

I love to read about vacations. The following is from Jan Wilkerson when she and Burlon spent three weeks in Europe. Their daughter Krista is married to a Master Sergeant who has two more years in Wiesbaden, Germany. Krista planned the whole trip from her mom saying she wanted to see windmills and her dad wanted to go to Switzerland. Jan shared a few highlights of their trip. We left on July 6 and arrived in Frankfurt July 7. The next day we went to a little town on the Rhine River—Rudeshein. We rode a cable car to the top of the hill to see the Niederwald Monument-this is like our Statue of Liberty. The town is full of little shops, we drove though the countryside and saw dozens of old castles and visited Lorelei—from the poem. Our trip the next day went to Heidelberg to tour the castle there that was built in 200 A.D. We rode a funicular to the top of the mountain but walked back down and had lunch in the Queen’s Garden. We got to see an original Gutenburg Bible and the printing presses used to print it. These Bibles were huge—two volumes and were hand painted depending on what the buyer of the Bible wanted. It was fascinating to be able to see one of these famed Bibles.

In Weisbaden we visited the market in downtown where that was everything from flowers to onions on display. The market is set up in the town square and is open two days each week. Everyone buys their produce fresh at the market. That same day we visited an old walled city that was hosting a Medieval Festival. Everyone (not us) were in costume and there were lots of street vendors. The next day we attended the Harbor Festival and watched Dragon Boat races. This was very different from anything in East Texas.

Rothenburg was a beautiful city. It is walled and one of the cities never destroyed over the centuries. The town square was huge and a band was playing while we were there. We visited the largest Christmas Store in Germany and got to eat Schneeballen, a pastry unique to that city. We actually walked on top of the walls about one-half way around the city. It was quite an experience to walk on a wall that was hundreds of years old. A visit to the Castle Burg Rheinfels and the town of Saint Goar’s was an adventure. We toured the castle from the dungeon to the tower and ate lunch in one of the courtyards with a fantastic view of the Rhine River. The town at the foot of the mountain was a unique little German town with lots of shopping and it was almost like a fairytale when the church bells rang for about thirty minutes.

On our way to Holland we visited the Aachen Cathedral which is the oldest cathedral in northern Europe. The remains of Charlemagne are housed there. The church treasury was beautiful and filled with gold and jewels. Then it was on to see windmills, watch clog making, and cheese making. We visited a small fishing village on the North Sea. Our visit to Zaamescheans was wonderful. It is a village of working windmills. We went into and watched a sawmill cut logs using only wind power. It was fantastic! This was truly a “bucket list” adventure. We came back through Koln and visited the cathedral there. We also visited the Lindt Chocolate factory which was one of Burlon`s high points of the trip.

In Straussburg, France we toured the city by boat. The cathedral there was built between 1200 and 1400 A.D. Then to Switzerland where it was 100 degrees! We visited Rheinfalls—a beautiful waterfall and took a ferry across Lake Constance to tour Meersburg. Another item on our “bucket List” was scratched off when we went into Austria and across to Germish Germany– up into the Alps. The Alps are beautiful and indescribable. We hiked the Partnleechklamm Gorge which is several miles long and right above the rapids. It was a true adventure and beautiful.

Our last adventure was to Treberg, Germany in the Black Forest. This is the area where my ancestors are from. It was a real treat to go back to a place where my great-great-great grandmother lived. We toured the cuckoo clock shops there and saw the largest clock in the world.

Jan said the weather was pleasant most all the time except for the 100 degrees in Switzerland. Air conditioning is not needed, you open the windows and it is very cool at night. All five countries were very clean and the technology in Germany is out of this world; much more automated than the states. All of Europe is concerned with the environment and they do not tolerate litter, pollution, etc. Everything is clean and the people are very respectful of one another and of the environment. The country is very safe. We only saw police about 3 times the entire time we were there and that was due to accidents on the autobahn. You never hear of shootings because guns are illegal there. Crime of any kind is very low. In France we saw a sign to be aware of pickpockets. In the larger cities people spoke English to some extent, but in some of the smaller villages we visited, they did not and we had to smile lots and hope they understood what we said.Jan and Burlon arrived home July 28 three weeks and five countries packed with adventure and would love to share their 1200+ pictures!

Vera Jones celebrated another birthday August 16th…101. She is an amazing lady. She lives alone but near her granddaughter and family, Jennifer, Aaron, Ethan, Ben and Cooper Smith. Several family members went to church with her at Pine Grove where she faithfully attends. Those included her son and daughter-in-law, Gary and Brenda Jones, Jennifer, Aaron, their three sons and Aaron’s parents, Mr. & Mrs. Tommy Smith. Everyone went to the Smiths’ home for Sunday dinner and a special Italian Cream birthday cake baked and decorated by Fran McClain.

Gary and Brenda (Minyard) Jones will celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary on August 19th along with Kathy and James Simms who will celebrate their 48th anniversary. Congratulations to each of you.

The DHS Class of 1985 is planning their 30-year reunion on October 10 at J.R.’s Barn. Bill Walker and Clevette Mark stopped by to ask that we share this news. The cost will be $30 per person or $50 per couple. For more information call Clevette at 936-526-9416, Faye Jones at 936-208-9225 or Jimmy Tate at 936-635-4704. You might check out their Facebook page, Class of 1985.

Come see us…’round the table.