Bath – Braunschweig Association annual twinning dinner
By our roving reporter – Terry Basson.
Having recently visited Braunschweig as part of the City of Bath Petanque tour and enjoyed the hospitality of our hosts in Germany Di and I were delighted to receive an invitation to a German theme menu by members of the Twinning Association in Bath. We were also joined by two others of our intrepid travellers, Don and Thelma Grimes.
The venue chosen was ‘Cafe Retro’.
We arrived at the scheduled time to be received by an unusual scene of our waitress
ironing the sheets for our tables. Clearly this proved a hoot with me thinking “Is this all part of a Cafe Retro experience”?
Many happy faces continued to arrive during our pre-prandial drinks. Meeting so many new people was most enjoyable.
Whilst our meal was being served, we chatted and banter was soon fast exchanged with Councillor Bryan Chalker and his wife, who kindly introduced us to other diners at our table.
After coffee, I was truly taken back, when Bryan stood up to entertain us, first with his lips supporting a Jewish Harp twanging in fine a rhythm.
Further talent was still to be discovered when Don Withers played his piano along with Gerald, a professional singer, who beautifully sang us ballads all in German.
Not finished yet, Bryan was up on his feet again because he had even further talents to declare to us new comers, playing his mouth organ even though suffering from nasty chest infection. When once again, a most tuneful note sounded throughout the room.
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!
September 30th and we are on our way to Bremen and Braunschweig to compete in a couple of tournaments, attend the 40th twinning anniversary of the Anglo German Association.
Our trip started with a visit to Bremen in Northern Germany to compete in the Bremen Open. As saturday dawned we were greeted with blue skys and warm sunshine. The competition is held round the Werder Bremen football ground and we were assured that we were the first english side to have graced the Bremen Open. While the results were not positive both teams gave a good account of themselves and after a enjoyable day were presented with a memento of our visit. Dinner that night was exceptional and despite a limited menu it was agreed that we could not have done better.
Sunday and on to Braunschweig by train. Don had been advised by our host, Lutz, ahead of our visit that
There are two possibilities for you to practise petanque. The easiest is to go to the square in front of the Magnikirche, fairly central -actually in the oldest part of town – and just play there. it is open to everyone. The second is to play at the grounds of the BffL where the championship will be held. But this is more complicated. Firstly, it is a nudist club and on that day there will be nudist club members in the grounds, which may not be to your taste.
In the end, deciding to prevent any embarrasement for the tour members we arrived in front of the Magnikirche to be greeted by a number of our hosts for a preliminary game of pétanque before the main competition and of course a few beers.