Visit by RC of Pirmasens - May 2008

Fri, May 23rd 2008 at 12:00 am- Sun, May 25th 2008 - 12:00 am

This time we entertained our friends from Pirmasens in Sussex, based at Battle, and enjoyed visits to Castles, Gardens and Canterbury.

Almost a Complete Group Photograph of Our Friends from Pirmasens

Wundervoll Weekend in East Sussex and Kent

We all rendezvoued on the Thursday, at Hever Castle, after Jorgen and Lesley had met our friends from Pirmasens at Stansted.  We really must go again as unfortunately it started to rain as the coach arrived and did not stop whilst we were there.  This did not dampen the pleasure of meeting o1d friends and new.  It is quite a challenge sitting down to eat a meal with someone you have not seen for some years or new people altogether but soon the room was buzzing with laughter and conversation and really that continued all the time.  There is much history at Hever stretching from Ann Boleyn to William Waldorf Astor.  We strolled through the gardens to the castle with throngs of French schoolchildren.  The rose borders had been freshly mulched and the water features resplendent.

Early evening saw us arriving through Battle with a glimpse of the Abbey, to Powder Mills, the hotel set in its own water gardens complete with ducks and geese wandering around.  Drinks were served to warm us up, and then we repaired to our rooms to get ready for our first meal.  This was served in a delightful room, with circular tables and a fine centre adorned with white flowers.  The evening rocked with laughter and conversation as friendships developed and were rekindled.  Notices were given and we prepared to rest before the interesting day prepared for us.

Our first port of call was the picturesque hilltop medieval town of Rye, which is no longer a port as the sea has retreated.  The Rye fishing fleet still moors at Rye on the tidal estuary and fresh fish can be purchased on the quay where Rye sole is a particular favourite.  The story of Rye is portrayed dramatically in light and sound at the tourist centre and there are separate showings for each language.  Whilst some listened and watched others saw the sites of the steep cobbled streets the enchanting Tudor and Elizabethan buildings, art galleries, the famous church with the chiming clock, tea rooms, rare book shops and views out to sea and the Romney Marshes from near Ypres tower .
We were all whipped into the bus and into cars and off across Romney marsh to Canterbury via the Rare Breeds Centre at Tenterden for Lunch.  We had a very healthy salad but no lamb, rare or otherwise.  One stalwart in the party gave up her lunch to see the rare breeds on display.  We love independence.

Arriving in Canterbury for a tour of the Cathedral we had to walk past M&S, which created a delay later because English mustard was being tracked down, to be taken back to Pirmasens.
The groups split up, the Germans having their own guide to speak in their own language and we had the audio recordings, which worked amazingly well.  When I say that, I think all the men seemed to have grasped the technology.  There was a tiny bit of organ playing to whet our appetites, the building itself is magnificent and the history is dramatic and powerful.  Everyone there seemed to enjoy the afternoon, grabbing tea and mustard from M&S on the way back.  Some were allowed to snooze on the way back, others had to keep their wits about them but the compensation was the views of the Kent and East Sussex countryside.

It was a quick change and then back to Rye for dinner at the Mermaid Hotel, a 16th century delight, but watch your head.  The sun shone in the evening, people relaxed outside and then a convivial dinner in delightful surroundings and special company.  A triumph for the organisers!

Saturday was designed to provide something for all.  The morning saw us stroll across the fieIds frorn the hotel to Battle Abbey where English Heritage have provided the most excellent interactive experience you could ever desire.  I wish they could take over Herculaneum.  There was computer-generated film of the battle and plans to look at, to see where it all happened.  There were shields and swords to pick up, not cardboard ones either; and then the tour of the Abbey and the grounds.  Hearing about, and seeing, the site of the battle and then admiring the skills, dedication and organisation of the monastery by the monks,  who even built it in a place that William did not want it was fascinating.  He made them move it to the battle site, on a hill, which is not usual.  Coffee and shopping followed, as did the people back to the hotel, in time for the afternoon

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