Twinning Visits

Sheralynn’s diary

Tuesday morning started early with 2 cars filled with 9 twinners heading to Southampton Airport to catch a 1 hour 50 minute flight to Hannover, followed by a seamless transfer to a train which arrived in Northeim 1 hour later. We were met by 3 German drivers who transported us to the village and onto our host family homes. We congregated later in the evening in the village Festival Hall to greet the French who arrived by coach.

Wednesday morning was free time for the families, followed by the ceremonial planting of a tree in the afternoon in the nearby forest to commemorate the visit. Germans are passionate about their forests and have the right to roam, collect wood if they own a house with a chimney, and hunt wild boar and other wildlife. An evening’s entertainment was laid on in the Festival Hall with food and as much beer as you could drink.

Thursday morning started with a trip through the Harz Mountains, the origin of many German fairy tales including Hansel and Gretel, to a wood company who processed local wood into many products including logs, posts, fence panels and wood pellets. We then drove to a distillery in an old monastery where we spent a pleasant afternoon tasting a range of liquors. The evening was free and many of us spent the evening with other families eating together.

Friday was spent walking through the Harz forest with our guide describing the series of reservoirs and tunnels created by the 15th century Germans to create a successful silver mining industry. We had a welcome stop at a forest restaurant and ate a hearty lunch, followed by a trip into a local cave where bronze-age human remains were found whose DNA linked directly to a large percentage of the local population.

Saturday was free for families to spend time with their hosts; many of us visited the local medieval towns and enjoyed a local delicacy – zwetschgenkuchen – a plum yeast cake. The evening was spent together at a formal meal with the local accordion group providing the entertainment.

Sunday morning service at the local church was held in 3 languages and we were overwhelmed by the excellent singing of the local gospel choir. A walking tour around the village introducing us to the local history was followed by our last evening spent with our families.

Monday morning saw us saying our goodbyes to the French and our German hosts, before we set off for our trip back to Williton.

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