Leverkusen September 2014

lev17In September 2014 the Bracknell twinning Association organised a 4 day coach visit to its partner city, Leverkusen. Formed from several smaller towns Leverkusen sits on the northern edge of Cologne in the German province of North Rhine Westphalia.

Guests were made exceedingly welcome staying with families. A number of events and visits were arranged including a visit to the Landesgartenschau (a huge garden festival) at the nearby ancient Roman town of Zülpich. We were then officially welcomed at an evening buffet by the Lord Mayor and entertained by a local choir.

The Leverkusen Historical Society (OGV) was host to a major exhibition tracing the fates of European cities 1914-1918. The party met representatives from the other cities twined with Leverkusen.

A visit to Bonn (a short distance south on the Rhine) included wine-tasting lunch at a famous vintners in Rhöndorf where Konrad Adenauer used to sit on the cellar steps contemplating the renaissance of Western Germany – sipping a glass of the local wine. This was followed by a visit to the excellent historical exhibition in the “Haus der Geschichte” presenting German history from 1945 until the present.

A further session of historical delights allowed the group to select themed visits around the region looking at architecture and art. An important part of the visits was the availability of English speaking guides throughout. Although there were several members keen to improve their German.

A guided walk around the historical centre of Cologne brought into focus the origins of this important trading centre on the Rhine, communications meeting point and cultural and religious centre – dominated by its imposing cathedral.

Throughout we were treated to superb German food and extraordinary hospitality from the Freundeskreis Bracknell-Leverkusen. Many lasting friendships were formed. Many thanks go to Frau Renate Buchwald and her committee and to Michael Gutbier and his society for the historical aspects.