Day trip: Idar-Oberstein & Flugaustellung P. Junior, Hermeskeil

Now that it seems clear that we’re going to settle in Germany for at least the next one year, I’ve decided to add another category called Life in Germany to document or share my experience living here as a non EU-citizen. After some encounters with fellow ‘aliens’ (‘Aliens Office’ or Ausländeramt is responsible for your Residence Permit application), I thought that it would be interesting to share these experiences which could even be helpful for some readers in this demographic.

Idar-Oberstein, Birkenfeld

Last weekend, we went for a day trip to Idar-Oberstein, a gemstone mining town in Birkenfeld in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. The town itself is about two hours drive from Heidelberg. Hubby visited this town as a child during a vacation with his family in a nearby holiday retreat and has fond memories of the visit.

It was rather gloomy with light drizzle when we got there. According to the Germans, this is a typical April weather just as the popular saying says ‘April, April – der macht was er will’ (literal translation: ‘April, April it does what it wants’). The town was rather quiet with the exceptions of four local kids playing in what looks like a dried fountain in the town square, a group of 40-something bikers and tourists like yours truly.

Small shops along the way up the hill

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We did some small window shopping as we made our way from the town square up the hill to Felsenkirche. There are shops selling accessories made from the gemstones mined from the nearby mine at 5€ to the ones selling hand-crafted jewellery and some big chunk of rare gemstones at 500€.

View of the town from top of the hill

According to legend, Felsenkirche or better known as Idar-Oberstein’s Chapel-in-the-Rocks, is a chapel built between the years 1482 to 1484 by the Lord of the Oberer Stein as a penitence for a fraticide (the killing of one’s sibling or one’s own forces). There is an entrance fee of 5€ for adult for the chapel so we decided not to enter (cheapskates!) and continue to further hike up the hill.

Stairs going up the Chapel-in-the-rocks. Imagine those poor people had to manually carve the big rock on a hill to build a chapel..
Chapel in the rocks

Flugaustellung L. + P. Junior, Hermeskeil.

Around 1pm, we made our way down the hill and drove for 45 minutes to the town of Hermeskeil to visit a private aviation museum Flugausstellung L.+P. Junior. There is an entrance fee of 9€ for adult, 5€ for children under 14 and kids under 4 years old gets in for free!

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I don’t know how this one compares to another aviation museum in Sinsheim but I do find it interesting and informative enough for someone with little knowledge of this industry and the technology involved. I can also imagine that kids who are starting to get interested in aviation would find this museum enjoyable.

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There are sections for turbo engines, models of early aircrafts and decent collection of helicopters, military and commercial aircrafts. Unfortunately for non-German speakers, except for the names of the aircrafts, all the info and descriptions are in German. Nevertheless, I had fun and took way too many photos of the aircrafts! Fun-fact about me: When I was a kid, I dreamed of becoming a pilot (along with a long list of cool professions). I think it’s really cool that visitors can take a look at the cockpit and the interior of the some of aircrafts.  PicsArt_1493412274627

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In 1955, Konrad Adenauer (German Federal Chancellor) flew to Moscow to negotiate the release of the last 10,000 war prisoners in this plane.
This is how crazy complicated the cockpit looks like back then.

Cafe Concorde

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The highlight of the visit for me was the late afternoon kaffee und kuchen at a replica of a Concorde aircraft called Cafe Concorde. Summarizing a Wikipedia article on Concorde, it was a super fast passenger aircraft that gets you across the Atlantic in less than four hours. Concorde ceased operation in 2003 with economical reason being cited as one of the major contributing factors. You can read more about it in this Quora thread.PicsArt_1493410503212

I have to talk about this cake. This is the best ever Apple cake I’ve ever had in my life. The apple bits were not too sweet nor sour, the crumbles were crispy and the base was perfectly crunchy. Too bad this place is a freakin 3 hours drive away from Heidelberg!

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The interior of Cafe Concorde. I think it’s really cool!
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Cafe Concorde menu & prices for your convenience 🙂

It was another ‘successful’ day trip for us. I don’t think we’ll be going for another day trip tomorrow because we just got back from Berlin late last night (8 hours bus ride from Berlin – Nürnberg – Heilbronn – Heidelberg) and we’re still a bit tired from it. We’re really getting old…

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