City of Bath Boules Visit to Germany.
By Terry Basson
I begin by waxing lyrical about our boules tour to Germany starting with our flight from Bristol to Hanover. Eight members of the CoBPC signed up for this adventure to play boules in Bremen and Braunschweig. We boarded our flight on BMI’s Embraer ERJ -135 powered by two Rolls Royce AE 3007 engines. The company call it ‘Their Little Rocket’. Seating just 37 passengers costing around £143 million to build and guess what? We were the only passengers on board that day!
Forgive me when I say, we travelled Rolls Royce class and this is the unbelievable truth. We were treated like a charter flight!
The on-board staff even had time to take the interior picture, shown with this article, of us, in our millionaire’s mode of transport.
‘Don’t mention the war’ thoughts raced through my head as we flew over the industrialised areas of the Ruhr valley, thinking about those frightened young bomber crews back in that time which now, cannot be mentioned.
All we had in our Bomb Bay were 24 steel Boules to drop onto the Pistes during friendly Petanque tournament games in Braunschweig and Bremen.
Lutz – Ruiger Busse (Hon member of CoBPC) met us outside our hotel ‘Deutsches Haus’ where we were to stay in Braunschweig for three nights. Lutz was so very helpful, he took us to a nice Restaurant which was offering special traditional Bavarian meals, with a beer especially brewed for what the German people call their Oktober Fest, This unique place had many surprises in store including looking like a railway carriage from an Agatha Christie novel and with drinks leaving the bar by model railway and being delivered to our table.
The next day we visited the VW car factory in Wolfsburg taking the tour, viewing the assembled rows of Robotic arms, welding with great dexterity , actually looking back and checking the standard of the weld, before allowing the partly assembled vehicle , to continue to the next Robot to act its part of the overall plan. At this point I was overcome with that feeling of, OMG, maybe the future will see machines taking over as in movies like ‘The Terminator’! As we progressed we did eventually observe a few humans who were working almost , in like fashion, unhurried yet efficient as their brother Robots. VW produces a car every eighteen seconds, 52 thousand workforce. The factory covers 6.5 square kilometres of the countryside.
In the evening, we met our twinning group. The president Treve Erdmenger of the Anglo- German Association warmly welcomed our group from Bath and invited us all to help ourselves to a table spread full of a variety of foods and drinks. Don Grimes began by greeting all assembled, presenting gifts from our Petanque Club and interesting presents from our twined Roman City. The evening proved very useful – we split ourselves up among many tables to reach out to as many members to show that they too could receive a good welcome from Bath. Making new contacts was important for I feel sure this will continue to gather momentum.
Thursday we met the local Braunschweig Petanque club and we were made very welcome playing double matches throughout the day.
I always thought German people were a culture of aloofness. Oh how wrong I was! Warm hugs and genuine smiles were exchanged among old and newly made friends.
Friday was to see us travelling to Bremen (staying in The Atlantic Grand) and to play in the Open triples. Throughout our train journey we discussed tactics which will hopefully bring us even more success. On Saturday another fine day in Bremen. I was now swimming in an ocean of happy friendly hugs – yes hugs! This leads me on to say,
“My residing war child finally realised, that the war is now truly over”.
To complete our day, Cary Bush guided us to a fascinating place to eat called Comturei. I say fascinating because I can only describe the meal in my pictures attached – other than to say, “Out of this World experience”!
During a lifting of glasses we congratulated Don Grimes for his faultless arrangements throughout the five days. In the tall man’s way, he thought he had done nothing special. Yet those who have ever undertaken arranging a five day tour will know, how much planning goes into this splendid adventure. Stand up Don and take a bow!