Early Summertime in Diez Germany

Diez metamorphosed from a blah German caterpillar in the winter to a shining, sunny butterfly in summer. We’ve traveled there twice in the winter months, once in 2017 at Christmas and recently 2019 in February. We had a fun time with Andreas’ brother and sister-in-law, but the town itself was quiet. Come summertime it now lights up with al fresco eating and drinking, food trucks, a water feature following the street that I earlier mistook as a giant gutter, flowers everywhere and general feeling of gregariousness. Tourists are seen trying to drive the wrong way on tiny streets, and long-distance hikers and bicyclists pass through.

At the beer garden in Limburg. From left to right: Anke, Mark, Andreas, Dragonfly and Burkhard. Photo by Carina Schmidt-Muenchow
At the beer garden in Diez. From left to right: Anke, Mark, Andreas, Dragonfly and Burkhard. Photo by Carina Schmidt-Muenchow

Burkhard and Carina picked us up from the train station and took us to a hidden beer garden in Diez where friends were holding a table for us. Our waiter, strangely enough, was from Germantown, Pennsylvania (the dodgy end) and was happy to speak English. I ordered my new favorite German restaurant food, Kartoffelpuffer mit lachs.

Carina (right) from Planet Eisenbach and Alien friend
Carina (right) from Planet Eisenbach and Alien friend

After dinner and drinks, we returned quickly to their home to transform ourselves into Aliens and then drove close to the Diez/ Limburg border for a punk rock, alien party complete with spaceship and burning alien on the fire pit.

Burning the Alien and his ship at Kalkwerk. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Burning the Alien and his ship at Kalkwerk. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Aliens like punk rock. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Aliens like punk rock. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

The party was held at Kalkwerk which is a former lime/chalk? mine transformed into art studios, recording studios and band practice space, a concert venue with a stage and like Diez has metamorphosing capabilities. If this place had existed in my life as a young person I would have moved in and never left.

The Alien scene at Kalkwerk. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
The Alien scene at Kalkwerk. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
I spy with my third eye.....
I spy with my third eye…..

The next day found us busy preparing for a dinner with Burkhard and Carina’s friends. Carina and I did some shopping including a visit to the Turkish butcher while Andreas weeded part of the back yard and expressed for maybe the first time this year that he was homesick for his garden in Delaware. Burkhard readied the tables, chairs and grill. Carina made delicious salads that I’m hoping to get recipes for and Burkhard grilled lamb and chicken from the butchers. One of the best dinners I’ve had in Germany. Also, great company.

At the butchers with Carina. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
At the butchers with Carina. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Dinner in the rose garden. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Dinner in the rose garden. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Burkhard cooking dinner. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Burkhard cooking dinner. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Prost! to good health and a happy summer. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Prost! to good health and a happy summer. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

On Sunday Andreas was interested in a long hike in the Jammertal Valley (valley of misery) along the Lahn River.

Hiking in the beautiful Jammertal Valley with Andreas and Burkhard. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Hiking in the beautiful Jammertal Valley with Andreas and Burkhard. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

The rest of us not so much. Burkhard and I walked with him for a while and then turned back and drove around the surrounding villages. We also visited the Schaumburg Castle that was closed for the day.

Schaumburg Castle. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Schaumburg Castle. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
The origins of the castle date back to 915 and it was first mentioned around 1197. Burkard and I found a more modern door walking around the outside.
The origins of the castle date back to 915 and it was first mentioned around 1197. Burkard and I found a more modern door walking around the outside.
Schaumburg Castle. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Schaumburg Castle. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

The castle site (not in the castle) is also where Mother Meera lives. “Mother Meera is the embodiment of the Divine Feminine, the Divine Mother on earth.”-from her website. Many people have visited her including a few of the Beatles. I hope to visit one day as well.

Carina in the garden with the Queen's drink. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Carina in the garden with the Queen’s drink. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

From the castle we returned to Diez for some ice cream and then back to Burkard’s home where Carina made me the Queen’s drink which was fancy and delicious and we waited for Andreas to return on the train.

The Queen's drink, perfect for summer. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
The Queen’s drink, perfect for summer. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

He arrived an hour or so later after hiking nine miles through the woods happy and tired with blisters on his feet, (yes, he walked in his Birkenstocks) and wine and liverwurst in his belly.

Andreas on the Jammertal Valley trail. Photo by some nice ladies on the trail.
Andreas on the Jammertal Valley trail. Photo by some nice ladies on the trail.

We had a dinner of leftovers with the neighbor’s little boy who invited himself over, and later drinks with the neighbors who popped through the garden hedge.

Happy in a garden. Thank you Burkhard and Carina for a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Life  is a blue bowl of cherries in a beautiful garden. Thank you Burkhard and Carina for a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

When on earlier visits I had the Specials song Ghost Town in my head walking around town I now saw Diez with new eyes as a fun, vibrant neighborhood. Amazing what a little sun and warm weather can do.

Hello new in-laws, I bring you eel.

We headed south by train last week to Diez to visit Andreas’ brother and sister-in-law, also my in-laws now I’m happy to say.

Andreas reflected in the train window pulling into the station in Cologne. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Andreas reflected in the train window pulling into the station in Cologne. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

We arrived mid-day Thursday with a box of Bremerhaven smoked fish and an eel wrapped in newspaper. That evening, after dinner, Andreas’ brother Burkhard put an old card game in a cigar box, that he had been storing in his basement on the table. The cards were of tractors, race cars, tanks and ships. I’m not sure how the game was meant to be played but young Andreas had been fascinated by the stats of the various vehicles on the cards and had organized and ranked them accordingly as a kid in the 60’s. We ended up throwing away all but the icebreaker ship. (they were stinky)

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Friday, we traveled by car on the Autobahn (oh boy!) to Weilburg where we had a yummy, roadside Currywurst lunch and then visited the Rosenhang Art Museum. The Museum was created in a renovated brewery and the eclectic mix of modern art presented is all part of a private collection.

Inside the Rosenhang Museum in Weilburg, Germany. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Inside the Rosenhang Museum in Weilburg, Germany. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

In fact, the owners of this space and collection also sell tickets and walk around monitoring and greeting the visitors. Some of the brewery equipment is still in place and the gallery spaces are rough, weird and totally refreshing after years of experiencing art on boring white walls.

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"Porcelin Car" by Ma Jun, fiberglass 2008
“Porcelin Car” by Ma Jun, fiberglass 2008
My favorite piece in the museum by Cornelia Schleime
My favorite piece in the museum by Cornelia Schleime

Later that evening Burkhard and my new sister-in-law Carina hosted a homemade pizza dinner party with their friends. We had a great time and ate and drank too much.

Burkhard's neighbor friend gets a lesson in pizza dough making before the party. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Burkhard’s neighbor friend gets a lesson in pizza dough making before the party. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

On Saturday Andreas, Burkhard and I visited Limburg to do some shopping and sight seeing. Limburg has some great older architecture that survived the war.

Limburg. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Limburg. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

We also got to see some of Burkhard’s restoration work. He’s a master craftsman specializing in restoring very old wooden windows

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Behind the Limburg Cathedral. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Behind the Limburg Cathedral. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

After Limburg we returned to Diez for coffee and cake and then to see Burkhard’s latest project, the restoration of an entire home.

Smallest cookie with biggest coffee. Diez, Germany. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Smallest cookie with biggest coffee. Diez, Germany. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Inside the restoration. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Inside the restoration. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Selfie in a spooky cellar that would make an awesome speakeasy. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Selfie in a spooky cellar that would make an awesome speakeasy. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Burkhard shares his vision for the house and garden project. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Burkhard shares his vision for the house and garden project. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

The next day we drove to Carina’s hometown to have coffee with her parents. Her mother always presents a beautiful table with delicate china, flowers and homemade cakes. It’s really special and her cakes and coffee are wonderful.

Marga gets a lesson on her iphone from Carina after coffee. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Marga gets a lesson on her iphone from Carina after coffee. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

Later that night everyone settled in in front of the TV, two of us with our knitting, to watch a German Survivor re-cap show and some strange game show where the contestants were popping balloons with radio controlled cars.

Cozy by the wood stove. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
Cozy by the wood stove. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

On Monday, before we returned home, Andreas and I walked to town for coffee and to see the bookstore’s new window. The woman who works there creates really cool scenes with cut-out and painted cardboard.

The sign says if you can see pink elephants you should go inside the bookstore so they can help you. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
The sign says if you can see pink elephants you should go inside the bookstore so they can help you. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

I’ll leave you with a little bit of Diez history that has haunted me since our visit last Christmas. These stairs connect the shopping district to the neighborhood we were staying in and we walked them every day.

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This sign says:

Down these stairs, 41 Jewish orphans and their tutors were taken in a dark night in a pogrom-like action on 20 August 1935 by Nazi-sympathizing local citizens from the Israelite orphanage next to the castle and were pushed to the marketplace. The next day they were deported to Frankfurt. The married couple who directed the orphanage were probably murdered in concentration camps along with many of the children.

In memory of the victims

A warning to the living

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(“Translating the inscription, I am appalled by its poor writing. A pogrom is described as “pogrom-like,” violent pushing, beating, and yelling at the Jewish children is described as an “action,” and local citizens are described as “Nazi-sympathizing local citizen.” The voice is passive and the violence is implied. The first sentence reads poorly, because it names neither the perpetrators nor their actions.”    ~ Andreas Muenchow)

According to Wikipedia the Jews in Diez can be traced back to the Middle Ages around 1286, but after WWII, “Almost nothing remains of a Jewish presence in Diez.”

The castle in Diez. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum
The castle in Diez. Photo by Dragonfly Leathrum

Diez and Limburg are really beautiful cities. If you’re traveling through Germany, I recommend them.