Where's Frankie?

Red Letter Day

Saturday 24th September

We awoke this morning, I say woke but we had all the noises from the previous night but with the addition of Lucy’s Baileys induced snoring, so it was more gradually came to life, with some very good news. One of our close friends, Liz Marshall underwent a liver transplant overnight and by accounts is recovering well although we still have fingers and toes crossed.

Obviously we need to send a get well card and find something perfect in the local superstore, however no stamps. We were directed to a couple of places but no luck. You’ll hear more of this tale later.

Nothing for it but to move on to our next Romantic highlight, Harburg Castle.

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Harburg Castle which dates from 1150 is one of the oldest and best preserved in South Germany and for 700 years has been in the possession of the Princes of Oettingen-Wallerstein. According to the club this is where history becomes adventure. Looks worth the entry fee of €3 and we have a free stellplatz just to the right of this photo – what more could you ask for?

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The buildings are obviously old…

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…with lots of quirky angles, it’s all looking rather good.

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Inside the main courtyard and I’m liking what I see until we try a door. Everything is closed, some rotten old Princes are growing rich on letting me into their courtyard and no further, you could see them lined up at the windows laughing at us.

Off we go to our next destination, Donauworth which has a free stellplatz nestled between the banks of the River Wornitz and the Danube! We are also 100 yards from a post office which is the only place that you can buy a stamp. There is a stamp machine outside but how much is a stamp to the UK? Eventually we find the front door which you have to reach by going through a very posh department store and they are shut until Monday. They are also shut for lunch as well, I thought that the Germans were hardworking members of the EU.

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Into town. Our guide says that the Reichstrasse with it’s imposing patrician houses forms a magnificent axis in the historical old town and is one of the most attractive streets in Germany. Following are three photos and I’ll let you decide.

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Well, is that the best street in Germany? I suppose it is OK but then we have been spoilt with Rothenburg and Dinkel something. And then we found a Federweisser shop and all was forgiven. I managed to buy in bulk this time, 2.5l for €6.95 and there is nearly a litre left!

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Whilst we were in the shop I happened to notice these chalk marks at the top of the door. I’ve seen them numerous times and thought that they might be notes for the local fire brigade so they knew what was inside the house but everyone seems to have the same sign. We now know half the message because the shopkeepers English was worse than my German. It is put up at New Year and is asking God to bless this house. The three Wise Kings, Casper, Methulusar and Balthazar are the three letters. We need to find someone else to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

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And outside the federweisser shop there just happened to be a beer shop. Ein dunkel fur meine Frau und ein dunkel weissbier fur mich, bitte. Two beers for less than €6 when it was over €9 in Rothenburg.

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Here is the Danube, current plan is to see a lot more of it later on our tour.

7 thoughts on “Red Letter Day

    1. Mark Post author

      I like the way you think!!
      Now everyone wants to know your French stamp story. Emma spent five years at a language academy studying French, German and Spanish so at the age of 16 she was going to be very useful to us when we went to Normandy for our summer holiday.
      We need a stamp, “Emma, go and get us a stamp”. Into the Tabac and “Je voudrais une timbre pour Angleterre, si’l vous plait” in her finest Essex girl accent. They didn’t have a clue so multi-lingual me who gave up French in the third year at school went in, they were still laughing, asked for exactly the same thing and got a stamp!

  1. Darren Hartfree-Bright

    Hi Mark and Lucy, I hope your friend is recovering well, I send cards home via Funky Pigeon because they arrive the next day, you don’t have to worry about a stamp and you can personalise it. I thought I’d mention it in case you’re still having problems finding a stamp. Mandy

    1. Mark Post author

      I’ll try and remember Funky Pigeon for next time. I like the excitement when you ask for something in German and they reply in German and you haven’t got a clue what they are saying. Hope you catch us up soon.

  2. Giorgio

    Each year on the Feast of the Epiphany chalk is blessed at Church and people are invited to take some home and mark their homes with a prayer for blessing. The priests are also very happy to visit homes and do the blessing. Seeing the marking at the door is a gentle reminder of God’s blessing, and a sign to all of a Christian home.

    Using chalk either above the door, outside, or at the side of the door, outside or inside, the markings 20 + C + M + B + 16 are made, or (20+K+M+B). 20 and 16 being the year, C (K), M, B being the initials of the traditional names of the wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, they can also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, the Latin words meaning, May Christ bless this home.

    Not just a tennis guru.

  3. Giorgio

    Chalk was blessed at mass for those who liked to follow the tradition of marking their doors with chalk.
    The initials as you said represent the names of the wise kings. The numbers refer to the year – 2016 in this case. CMB can also stand for Christus Mansionem Benedicat which translated from Latin means: May Christ bless this home.

    1. Mark Post author

      Glad to see you still following us. Just found your two old messages in the spam folder, no idea how they got there but then WordPress does some strange things.
      Thanks for the information, the lady we spoke to was trying to say something about blessing the house but it all got lost in translation.
      See you soon
      PS Got any tips on Italian – I think it is just Spanish but a bit louder and with vowels at the end of every word – do you think I’ll be OK?

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