It probably is obvious from my previous post, Leaving a Land of Beauty and Enchantment, that I am enthralled by this area of Germany, known as the Eifel region. Eifel is synonymous with history, geography, nature, and culture. The region presents the best of each of these categories. The pictures linked in that post are of majestic landscapes and of ethereal scenic beauty that belongs in the realm of fairy tales. But it is not just the landscapes and countrysides that one needs to experience as the cities and small towns are just as exciting. For just one example, I will attempt to describe Gerolstein.
My great uncle, Gerard Happ, made three visits to this part of Germany researching our family history. Below is a picture of Gerard and his wife Nancy enjoying a meal in Gerolstein. It is obvious they are both enjoying themselves and their smiles are as real as it gets.
For those of us who live in not so ‘fairy tale’ parts of the world, and to assist us to fully appreciate the quality of this region, here is a video of Gerolstein.
After viewing this video, compare Gerolstein to a typical city or town in the USA that so many of us endure experience. In Gerolstein we see attractive buildings and different architectures, an overall neatness and cleanliness, and inviting shops and restaurants. When I first moved to rural North Carolina, I noticed many of these attributes to some extent, but things are changing here quickly and not for the better. Much of the pine forest areas have disappeared – many replaced with failed housing developments. Nearly all of the small family-owned restaurants have disappeared, replaced with fast food chains. In general, the crime rate has increased as well as the pollution and litter. Hog waste from massive farms far upriver pollute the Creeks and Rivers here. The positive southern culture with the fine manners of the youth are being slowly eroded over time by mass media and marketing. Small elementary schools in different areas of the county no longer exist. Except for a Charter School, all public school children are bused to the Town of Bayboro, our County Seat. Gerolstein appears to be a stark contrast to the many cities where I have lived or visited. And surprisingly, Gerolstein is Germany’s oldest established city. The video, linked to above, is fairly recent, produced in 2014.
I have never been to the Eifel region of Germany, but I did spend a few days in the large city of Hamburg (northeast Germany) not too many years ago. Hamburg was impressive but I truly desire to visit the “Land of Beauty and Enchantment”. For the time being, I can enjoy this fairy tale in a real way – just today I purchased some “Gerolsteiner” mineral water” at a local Harris Teeter food store, a product that is now shipped and enjoyed all over the world.
– Rick Happ