Thursday, May 10, 2012

Trip of a Lifetime

Well as you may have guessed we have been away again... We took Derwent6 to a marina and travelled down to Kent where Del and his mate Steve had arranged at trip to Germany for another mate, Bernie's, 50th Birthday, and Al had arranged some things with the girls while the boys were away.Del met the boys at Stansted on Thursday 3rd May in the afternoon and landed in Leipzig Germany at 9.30pm.
After hiring a car they then drove to Colditz town and arrived at the hotel at 10.30pm. They were greeted with beers and ended up staying up till 1.00am.
On Friday 4th May they couldn't wait to walk to Oflag IVC which is Colditz the famous POW camp from the Second World War. Since we were boys, and the Colditz series was on TV, we have all been fans. Our dads were never happy with us as we used to dig tunnels in the back garden! This was like a dream come true.
The castle has now been painted white, as you can imagine in Germany it is not a symbol they want to remember, but it has been there since the 10th century. It was these colours then, so they are trying to restore it to it's former glory. I don't think we have to worry as it was already flaking and will soon look like it's former self. It looked fantastic!!!! We walked to the courtyard where the prisoners had their role calls (Appels). It felt strange being there, and still had the eeriness of those war camp days.

We were then lucky enough to go and see the Colditz Glider which is up in the attic.This was a replica which was successfully flown from the castle in March to prove it would have flown in 1945. You will all be able to see a programme on Channel 4 in June and as we get more details we will pass them on.
We were blown away with seeing this as you all know we are very interested in model gliders.
We had the rest of the day walking round the town and there is still loads to see. Town jail, the Home Towers, Colditz Station, the Market Square, and the graves of  British POW's. You can also see the Blacksmith's where Douglas Bader (the spitfire pilot) had his tin leg's repaired while in Colditz.
We couldn't believe our luck as over the weekend there was also a festival going on in the town and live music was being played with beer tents along side..perfect!!!
On Saturday 5th May we had an extended tour of the castle booked which went into detail of the escape methods and escape routes at Colditz. You get to see the Chapel and Canteen tunnels, Airey Neave and Pat Reid's escape routes, the theatre, and prisoners quarters and exercise park.
There is a good museum there showing escape equipment and how they made it. In the afternoon we went on to another museum not too far away with loads more escape equipment and photos of the war time antics. It was then back to the town for more music and more beers and later we had a big thunderstorm over the castle, spooky! As the rain had stopped play we ended up playing the Colditz game, ("Escape from Colditz") in Colditz, how cool was that....
On Sunday 6th May it was up early as we had a long drive into Poland. We were going to Stalag Luft III (the Great Escape Camp) and the first surprise as you get to Poland was how rough the roads were.
It is difficult to find but we managed to find it. They have a very good museum there where you can go down a replica section of Harry, the famous tunnel where 120 prisoners tried to escape.
50 prisoners were caught in the tunnel and shot on the orders of Hitler. The tunnel is a memorial to those prisoners. You can also see the locations of tunnels Tom and Dick which were decoy tunnels for Harry. It turned out to be a full day..
On Monday 7th May we said our goodbyes to the Hotel manager who was very helpful and could speak English very well; he also had fantastic knowledge of Colditz and comes recommended.
We then drove back to Leipzig where we visited the City's shops and museum and finished the trip off at a good old curry house. Wow, what a trip......
On Tuesday 8th May we both then made our way over to Reading where we met up with friends Joy and Steve.
In the evening we went into town and to a concert to see a Pink Floyd tribute band called Brit Floyd..It turned out to be a brilliant light and stage show with the band. It was fantastic and we can recommend them.
In the morning we had a full English breakfast before we made our way back to Derwent6. It didn't take long to warm up Derwent6 and snuggle up in front of the telly to watch the football..

3 comments:

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

Wow, wow, wow, what a fantastic trip. It looks amazing from your photos, oh and Del you look good with your shirt off hahahaha.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! What a brilliant way to celebrate your bestest's 50th - guess that means you will be coming to Belfast next year to visit Georgie's grave.... :)x

don't need to sign this one!!!

Les and Jaqueline Biggs said...

I would like to do that trip sometime but you don`t mention what canal it`s on. LOL
I am envious that sounds like a great visit.
Les