We have arrived in Germany and St. Goar! Flip told us that German's have the lowest cultural pride in the world -- and I believe this. However, in my opinion, Germany is kind of like that weird kid at school that gets picked on for doing nothing (World War I and the Treaty of Versailles) and finally snaps (World War II), but is still found responsible for his actions.
Flip also told us how and why Hitler came to power, what happened to Berlin after the war, why the wall was built and why it fell in 1989. I learned all about this in history class and I know the majority of people lived through the falling of the Berlin Wall, so I don't think another history lesson is needed. After yesterday's rant, I don't think you'll want another lesson for a while.
Flip went over what we were doing the next few days in St. Goar, Munich and Innsbruck, Austria. We also got a copy of all he optional tours. The website didn't say anything about the group photo in Venice, nor the Venetian dinner we can have. We can also get our own t-shirts!
We arrived late into St. Goar but we were welcomed by a delicious meal of a spicy rice and chicken soup, two slices of tender roast beef, a scrumptious potato-cheese side-dish and optional boiled peas and carrots. And for vegetarians, there was a boring platter of cooked veggies that I heard it was very good. For desert we had a small piece of chocolate cake with alcohol-jelly inside.
Our hotel, Hotel Montag (sorry the link isn't the best), has an Internet Cafe in it. However, to use the computers, you have to pay. It costs €1 for 10 minutes, €2 for 20 minutes and €5 for an hour. The hotel also has a bar and smoking is allowed inside (Hitler outlawed smoking indoors, and since the Germans want to be completely different from him, it's legal).
The hotel is old but nice, just like the town. St. Goar has two castles in it and is surrounded by a massive stone wall, with a huge river cutting the two in half. It isn't beautiful like Amsterdam, but it has a very quaint charm to it.
Some of the tour members went for the optional wine-tasting excursion after dinner, but I and a few others went for a walk around town. We climbed the steep roads to the top of the mountains surrounding the town and took pictures of the distant lights. On our way, we found lots of old stone "doors" and "windows" in the old city walls. If someone had told me the town or the surrounding walls were haunted, I would have believed them.
Once we got back into town, another group of people from my tour were standing near the Rhine. I decided to join them right when they were daring each other to roll up their pant legs and go into the ice-cold water. I didn't, but I joined in with the laughter when they ran out of the water shivering.
The only downside about this place is the that the Rail Europe goes right through this town, so every 10 to 15 minutes there's a loud *whoosh!* outside for about 10 seconds or so. Besides that, the town is quiet, peaceful and nice.
Tonight is a night where we can go to bed early and wake-up semi-late (pre-7 instead of pre-6). I'm taking this advantage and I'm going to sleep soon too. My roommate is once again Ralph and has already fallen asleep, so I shall follow suit soon too.
Tomorrow should be exciting. I've always wanted to go to Munich!
See you then!
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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My article "8 Places to Visit in Regina" is by far my most popular article, being read over 7,000 times in the past 6 months. In honour of the anniversary of my blog (and because 1 of the 8 locations mentioned before is now closed), I decided to do a sequel and talk about 8 more places to visit in Regina. This was really easy as Regina is growing at an extraordinary rate and new, incredible places are opening almost every week.
After the Regina Cyclone huffed and puffed and blew down the majority of houses across the city in 1912, Annie Darke asked her beloved Francis Darke to build her a house that could withstand even the worse things Saskatchewan could blow at it. Being one of the richest and most influential men in Regina’s history, Francis Darke took up the challenge and began to create his wife their very own stone castle.
This massive fortress served as their dwelling for the remainder of their days, until Francis Darke passed away in 1940 and his widowed wife passed away in the very house he had built her, twelve years later.
Earlier this year I did a presentation at The Artesian about the Spanish Influenza. It was the first time I had ever done a presentation like this and I was nervous about the number of people that might attend. I told my mother I would be thrilled if five people came that night, but forty people showed up instead. For a topic that very few people know anything about, I was excited to see so many people interested.
But one person in the audience was so interested that several months later she reached out to me to see if I wanted to do my presentation again. Instead of doing it in Regina, she asked for me to travel to Craik, Saskatchewan to tell the Craik Museum and Oral History Society about what I had learned.
For knowing so much about a topic nobody ever asks me about, I was super excited to talk about it. The organiser reached out to Craik School to ask if the students would be interested in attending the lecture too. The teacher said they wouldn't be able to make the time slot work but asked if I could speak to the students about being a blogger at a different time.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shut its doors in 1970. A year later, in 1971, it would briefly reopen and house inmates from Holmesburg Prison after a devastating riot. After the prisoners were returned to Holmesburg, Eastern State would sit empty for over two decades. It would rot, decay and collapse. Trees and shrubs would grow into the structure and a clowder of cats would take residence. These hallowed halls would sit empty, the only noise being the chatter of startled birds and the trotter of feline paws.
The following decades would see various discussions of what to do with the building. Eventually, it was decided to preserve it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Although it officially opened for tours in 1994, attendants would have to sign a waiver and wear hardhats before entering until 2008. They had 10,000 visitors the opening year, a number of tourists not seen in the prison since 1858.
From 1829 to 1970, Eastern State Penitentiary underwent a variety of changes and transformations. This massive, sprawling, 11-acre complex was founded under the belief that solitary confinement was the cure needed to prevent criminals from committing future crimes. It was believed criminals who served in solitary confinement would turn to a higher power to reconcile with themselves for their crimes – hence feeling "penitent". To assist in this process, each cell was equipped with a slit window on the ceiling nicknamed "The Eye of God". It would be the only light source available to the inmate.