Tag Archives: WWII

The German Iron Cross of Roswell

Iron Cross at Spring River
~ North bank, Spring River, Roswell, New Mexico ~

Embedded in the North bank of the Spring River by the Roswell Spring Hill Zoo is a heritage landmark that was created by German prisoners of War who were working on a flood control project that was part of their incarceration. It was in 1943 that a 50 man detail rip-rapped rocks on the Spring River banks. It was on the north bank between Pennsylvania and Kentucky Avenue that they made an “Iron Cross” on the bank. These men were prisoners of war imprisoned during World War II in a camp near Orchard Park. The camp housed more than 4800 German prisoners of war from the Afrikacorps Rommel’s men of the 8th army from 1942-1946. There were numerous residents in Roswell who were angered at this work and retaliated by pouring five yards of concrete over their landmark. The concrete over time washed away and it is said to be visible again.

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Plymouth, United Kingdom

Plymouth, UK

Plymouth means “mouth of the River Plym” and is a city and unitary authority on the coast of Devon, England located roughly 190 miles southwest of London. The city lies between the rivers ‘Plym’ and ‘Tamar’ where they join Plymouth Sound. Early Paleolithic man inhabited the area as bones of Homo sapiens have been found in the local caves. Early Bronze-Middle Iron Age artifacts have also been found at Mount Batten showing very early trade in the area. Plymouth has been inhabited since the Bronze Age when its first settlement was established and grew from Mount Batten. This settlement turned into a Roman trading post until its competing city Sutton surpassed it. In 1340, during the Hundred Years’ War – a French attacked burned a manor house and took prisoners, yet failed to get into Plymouth. 1403 Plymouth was burned down by Breton raiders. This led to the construction of various fortifications during the Tudor and Elizabethan eras including four round towers. 16th century saw wool becoming the major export commodity for Plymouth. The town became home for successful maritime traders including Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake who led England’s first foray into the Atlantic slave trade. Plymouth is very famous for its 1620 expedition to the New World and its establishment of the Plymouth Colony – the second English settlement in North America. From 1642-1646 the town was besieged by the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War. 1660 the monarchy was restored by King Charles II who imprisoned many of the Parliamentary heroes on Drake’s Island. 1665 saw construction of the Royal Citadel after the Restoration. From the Industrial Revolution it grew into a major shipping port handling imports and passengers from the Americas as well as constructing ships for the Royal Navy. Mid 1600’s commodities manufactured elsewhere in England became too costly to transport to Plymouth so the city lost means of processing sugar, tobacco imports, and other New World imports. 1690 It opened its first dockyard, the HMNB Devonport, and more docks built in 1727, 1762, 1793. By 1733 Plymouth’s population was approximately 3,000 citizens. Imports changed to grain, timber, and coal in the latter half of the 18th century. 1812 John Rennie created the mile-long Breakwater in Plymouth Sound. World War I Plymouth became the entry point for many of the troops and served as a manufacture facility for munitions. During WWII the city was integral for naval importance and this led to it being targeted by the air raids known as the Plymouth Blitz whcih destroyed its city center. Eventually this was rebuilt beginning in 1943 by plans developed from Sir Patrick Abercrombie. By 1964 over 20,000 homes were rebuilt. 1970’s Plymouth became the home of a nuclear submarine base. 1971 the Army left the city until recently where it became the home of 42 Commandos of the Royal Marines. Today Plymouth is the happy home of over 250,000 people making it the 15th largest city in England. The city is governed by the Plymouth City Council and represented nationally by 3 MPs. Its economy is still influenced by shipbuilding even though in the 1990’s it has become more service based economy. It is home to the 11th largest University in the UK – the University of Plymouth – and has the largest operational naval base in Western Europe – “The HMNB Devonport”. Plymouth is also a ferry gateway to France and Spain, as well as hosting an airport for inter-Europe flights.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part A (4/10) -Leaving Amsterdam for Mons, Belgium to the “Trolls et Legendes” festival …

Part A

Hunting for the hostel in Mons

Friday, 10 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Mons, Belgium

The adventurers had a pretty interesting night partying in Amsterdam with the pub crawl. Awaking early with a hangover was not the best start to the day that Sir Thomas Leaf could have. Onwards to check out from the Zeesburg hostel after a good night rest. Princess Breanna took advantage of the free breakfast and chatting with friends before their departure, Sir Thomas Leaf was certainly too groggy and needed to catch up on winks. A short bus ride from the hostel to the Zeesburg park-n-ride, the party was soon into their rental auto-carriage and off on the road to Belgium – the land of chocolate and fries. The roads getting out of Amsterdam were pretty congested and a headache, but once into Belgium, the traffic alleviated somewhat. It was afterall Easter weekend and since European’s are big on travel and vacations, one would be sure to run into crowds hitting the roads for their Easter vacation plans. The party drove through Brussels, but didn’t stop, as they wanted to get to Mons to find their hostel and the festival center so they could see the opening acts at http://www.trolls-et-legendes.be/. Sir Thomas Leaf has 6 years of French under his belt so was quite excited to try it out – unfortunately he sucks at comprehension and pronunciation, so it was no better that he knew French as he was still stuck with English. It however was much easier for him to manage in Belgium than Germany and other countries he felt. The roads in the historic section of Mons were an absolute nightmare. Cobbled roads all one way, roads the GPS was saying existed either didn’t or were blocked off, the frustrated duo, arguing over directions, finally two hours of driving around in circles parked and hoofed it on foot dragging their luggage. They weren’t too far off as the looming castle of a hostel was right in front of them the whole time, it was just shut off from driving to it because of road constructions and restorations. Checking in, they were blessed with their own private room, as the apparently “full” hostel on the web, wasn’t so full in person. One could spot a few of the festival goers in their outfits that were staying at the hostel as well. Unfortunately, the duo really struggled getting around because no one knew English and with Sir Thomas Leaf’s poor french, it was a struggle finding out where to go. The woman at the hostel desk knew decent English so was able to guide them to the Central station so they could catch a bus to the festival center.

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 16, Part A (4/10) -Leaving Amsterdam for Mons, Belgium to the “Trolls et Legendes” festival …



2008 estimated population: 10,666,866. with a area of roughly 11,787 square miles (30,528 km2)
The Kingdom of Belgium is the founding member of the European Union and the host of its headquarters, and is a small northwestern European country that straddles the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe. “Belgium” is derived from “Gallia Belgica” – a Roman province in northwestern Gaul that was inhabited by the Belgae, a blend of Celtic and Germanic peoples. Belgium hosts two main linguistic groups, the Flemings and the French, with a very minute group of German speakers. It is also the host country to many major international organizations including NATO and the OECD. The two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north that hosts 59% of the population, and the French speaking southern region of Wallonia which is populated by 31%. The Capital region is Brussels, though bilingual, is mostly French speaking. Belgium’s linguistic diversity and related political/cultural conflicts are reflected in their complex system of government. Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg were all known as the Low Countries that were once a larger landmass than the current Benelux (Be=Belgium, NE=Netherlands, LUX=Luxembourg) group of states. Belgium prospered greatly from the end of the Middle Ages to the 17th century with commerce and culture. Continue reading Belgium


Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The largest city in Holland (The Netherlands) and its capital, is world-famous “Amsterdam”. It is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands. It is also the headquarters for most Dutch institutions and 7 of the world’s top 500 countries including Philips and ING. Amsterdam is located in North Holland in the western portion of the country. Amsterdam boasts over a million people (2008) and merged with the northern part of the Randstad, is the 6th largest metropolitan area of Europe at over 6.7 million in population. Amsterdam is most popular for its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, its red light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops all of which draw over 4.2 million visitors a year. Amsterdam is named after a dam in the river “Amstel” where the Dam Square resides today. It started as a small fishing village in the late 12th century later becoming one of the most important port cities in the world during the Dutch Golden Age due to its innovative developments in trade. At this time it became a leading center for finance and diamonds. It was named as such when the inhabitants of the area built a bridge with a dam across the Amstel had been exempted from paying a bridge toll by Count Floris and had to bound together as a city. By 1327 it was well known as “Amsterdam”. Amsterdam was granted city rights by 1306. Continue reading Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Ansbach, Germany

Ansbach, Germany

Ansbach, Germany
Ansbach or Anspach is a town of roughly 40,512 people in the Bavarian state of Germany (census 2004). It was originally called Onolzbach. It serves as the capital of the administrative region of Middle Franconia. 25 miles southwest of Nuremberg and 90 miles north of Munich, Ansbach has been an important center for Franconia and Bavaria. It resides on the Frankische Rezat, a tributary of the Main river. Ansbach started out as a Benedictine monastery in 748 by Gumbertus (a Franconian noble) who was later canonized. Centuries later, the monastery and its adjoining village called Onolzbach populated into the town that is now “Ansbach” (1221 AD). The counts of Oettigen ruled there until the Hohenzollern burgraves of Nuremberg took over in 1331 making the seat of their dynasty there until they acquired the Margraviate of Brandenburg in 1415. With the death of Frederick I (Elector of Brandenburg) in 1440, the Franconian cadet branch of the family was not politically united with the main Brandenburg line remaining independent as “Brandenburg-Ansbach”. Continue reading Ansbach, Germany


The Ansbach Residence (Ansbach, Germany)

Ansbach Residence, Ansbach, Germany

Ansbach Residence, Ansbach, Bavaria, Germany
* Schloss- und Gartenverwaltung Ansbach * Promenade 27 91522 Ansbach * Tel. (09 81) 95 38 39 -0 Fax (09 81) 95 38 39 -40 * sgvansbach@bsv.bayern.de *
OPENING TIMES OF THE RESIDENCE: April September: 9am 6pm; October March: 10am 4pm; Closed Mondays. The palace can only be visited by participating in a guided tour. Tours (ca. 50 minutes) take place every hour until 5pm in the summer and until 3pm in the winter.
The Residence of the Margraves of Ansbach were under reconstruction and revitalization while we visited, so unfortunately couldn’t take a very good look at the exterior of this palace since the scaffolding was blocking the view. We did however take the 50-minute guided tour into the interior, no photographs were permitted, and the guided tour was in German. Luckily I had the pleasure of a best friend accompanying me and giving me the translations, as well as a english guide i could read while touring. Great history and phenomenal art within. I was quite impressed. According to the brochure: “The Residence of Ansbach originated as a medieval complex. The large Gothic Hall with its ribbed vault, in which the largest collection of faience and porcelain from the former Ansbach Manufactory is now on display, was built in around 1400. The medieval complex was redesigned as a modern residence between 1705 and 1730.
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Nrnberg, Germany

Nuremberg is located on the Pegnitz river and the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. It is in the heart of the Franconia / Bavaria state of Germany. It is Franconia’s largest city and is located 170 km’s north of Munich. In 2006, it’s population was 500,132. It is located 302 meters above sea level. Nuremberg saw great expansion from 1050-1571 because it was located on one of the key trade routes for the region and thereby was referred to as the “unofficial capital” of the Holy Roman Emperor as often royal meetings took place at the Nuremberg Castle. In 1219 it became a Imperial Free City under Emperor Frederick II and was popular as one of the two great trade centers on the route from Italy to Northern Europe. 1298 saw a horrible massacre (one of several in the Rintfleisch Massacres) of the Jewish population as they were accused of having desecrated the host with a hidden agenda to combine the northern and southern parts of the city which were divided by the Pegnitz River – and since the Jews settled there, this was one of the means the city had of getting rid of them. The area is now the City Market, Frauenkirche, and the City Hall (Rathaus). From the 15th-16th centuries, the German Renaissance flowered in this center. Then in 1525, the Protestant Reformation took influence in the area, and in 1532 the religious Peace of Nuremberg was signed here. The Thirty Year’s War did its damage in 1632 and declined thereafter until recovery in the 19th century as it grew into an industrial center. Because of the bankruptcy after the war, Nuremberg was given to Bavaria who took over the debts and guaranteed amortization. Eventually Nazi Germany landed here. Because of its former relevance to the Holy Roman Empire, the Nazi Party chose the city to be the location for the huge Nazi Party conventions – the Nuremberg Rallies that were held from 1927-1938. When Hitler rose to power in 1933, the rallies became huge state propaganda events and Nuremberg became a center of Nazi ideals. It was here that Hitler ordered the Reichstag to convene at Nuremberg to pass anti-Semitic Law to revoke German citizenship for all Jews. Today there still remains many examples of Nazi architecture. With WWII, Nuremberg became the headquarters of Wehrkreis (military district) XIII and an important site for the production of airplanes, submarines, and tanks. Continue reading Nrnberg, Germany


Worms, Germany

WORMS, Germany

The fabled city of Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. In 2004 its population was 85,829. The city was originally called Borbetomagus by the Celts who established it first (meaning “settlement in a watery area”), and it may very well be the “Oldest City in Germany” (of course Trier and Cologne are also fighting for this title). The city was captured and fortified by the Romans under Drusus in 14 BC and named Augusta Vangionum for this garrison but still held the name Borbetomagus. The Roman garrison was developed into a small town with a regularized Roman street plan, forum, temples for Jupiter/Juno/Minerva (upon which of course was built the Cathedral later) and Mars. Roman inscriptions/altars/votive offerings are preserved in the town’s archaeological museum along with one of Europe’s largest collections of Roman glass. Continue reading Worms, Germany


Cologne Cathedral, Cologne/Koln, Germany

Kln Cathedral

* Cologne, Germany *

Cologne Cathedral is a World Heritage Site and is one of the best known architectural monuments in Germany and Cologne’s most famous. It is 144.5 metres long, 86.5 m wide and its two towers are 157 m tall. The Cathedral (German: Klner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche St. Peter und Maria) is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne, under the administration of the Roman Catholic Church and is renowned as a monument of Christianity, of Gothic architecture and of the faith and perseverance of the people of the city in which it stands. It is dedicated to Saint Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is one of the world’s largest churches and the largest Gothic Church in Northern Europe. It was the tallest structure in the world from 1880-1884 until the construction of the Washington Monument. It possessed the second-tallest church spires only surpassed by the single spire of Ulm Cathedral completed in 1890. It holds the position of the largest facade of any church in the world. The church construction began in 1248 and took over 600 years to construct when it was finalized in 1880. It was built atop a grain store that was succeeded by a Roman Temple built by Mercurius Augustus which was followed by 4th century Christian buildings including a square edifice that was commissioned by Maternus as the oldest cathedral at that time. In 1164 the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel acquired relics of the Three Kings which had been taken from Milan in Italy by the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa and were properly housed on this spot. The foundation stones laid on August 15, 1248. When construction stopped in the 1800’s, it wasn’t until 1842 that a civic effort raised two thirds of the enormous costs to resume work on the original design of the surviving medieval plans and drawings and the bells were installed in the 1870s. The completion in 1880 was celebrated as a national event, 632 years after construction began. The cathedral suffered fourteen hits by aerial bombs during World War II. It did not collapse, but stood tall in an otherwise flattened city. Believers said it was divine intervention. In June 1945, the cathedral was abused as a rifle range by American troops. The repairs to the building were completed in 1956. On August 25, 2007, the cathedral received a new stained glass in the south transept window. With 113 square metres of glass, the window was created by the German artist Gerhard Richter. In 1996, the cathedral was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List of culturally important sites. In 2004 it was placed on the “World Heritage in Danger” list due to nearby high-rise building and its visual impact upon the site, as the only Western site in danger. The cathedral was removed from the List of In Danger Sites in 2006, following the authorities’ decision to limit the heights of buildings constructed near and around the cathedral. The cathedral is open every day from 6.00am to 7.30pm; admission is free except for tower ascent and the treasury. Visitors can climb 509 steps of the spiral staircase to a viewing platform about 98 metres above the ground. [abstracted from Wikipedia and the Cathedral’s information pamphlets : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cologne_Cathedral]

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Cologne/Koln, Germany

River promenade in Kln

State: North Rhine-Westphalia; Area: 405.15 km (156.4 sq mi); Elevation: 37 m (121 ft) above sea level; Population: 995,397 (31 December 2007); Founded: 50 AD. Website: www.stadt-koeln.de

Cologne (German: Kln (helpinfo), IPA: [kln]; local dialect: Klle [?k??]) is Germany’s fourth-largest city (after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich), and is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants. It is one of the oldest cities in Germany, having been founded by the Romans in the year 38 BC. Cologne was granted the status of a Roman “city” in the year 50 AD. The city is one of Rhineland’s most spectacular cultural centers and is located along the Rhine River and most famous for its media, art, theater, mimes, shopping, fashion, the Cologne Cathedral (Klner Dom) and the University of Cologne (Universitt zu Kln) which is one of Europe’s oldest universities. Cologne has over 30 museums and hundred of art galleries. The exhibitions range from local art, theater, and local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The city’s Trade Fair Grounds are host to a number of trade shows such as the Art Cologne Fair, the International Furniture Fair (IMM) and the Photokina. Cologne is also well-known for its celebration of Cologne Carnival, the annual reggae summerjam, and the gay/lesbian pride festival Christopher Street Day (CSD).

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Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 7, Morning – Exploring Kln, Kln Cathedral, April Fools

, Morning

By the Kln Cathedral

Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Kln, Germany

Awaking relatively early, yet having a little of a sleep in; the adventuring parties of Sir Christian, Sir Thomas Leaf, and Princess Brea ventured out to the fabled city of Kln (Cologne) for searching clues in the Kln Cathedral, German Roman Museum, and the Chocolate Museum. Venturing out to the autobahn in the carriage with preferable unlimited speed limit … the party was there in no time. However, traffic congestion and an accident made things slow like molasses.

Brea and a romantic Mime

It was officially “April Fools Day” and as Lady Vanessa informed Sir Thomas and Lady Brea about the fabled prank that the press pulled on the citizens of Kln … that the two spired wonder of the Cathedral in Kln which is infamously under construction, was in fact not being restored, but rather being built a “third” spire with the city’s unlimited funding. Apparently the joke did not go over very well. The party adventured up the steps towards the main entrance, where a half a dozen mimes dressed in various “period” clothing and body paint were doing their acts, posing for photos, making the minute mime noise when they want your attention with birdish tweets and sparrow whistles, and collecting their Euros. A couple grabbed Princess Brea’s moments as they flirted with the young lady and as Sir Thomas Leaf captured it on film. Wandering into the World Heritage site of the Kln Cathedral, the adventuring party explored the grounds in search of “the key”. Some murals and panels had interesting facts and history. The buried tombs and coffins of many a night and clergy lay round the arms and loop of the cathedral. Inspiring decorated stained glass, gold and metalwork, paintings, and sculpted art brought brilliance to the party as they quietly explored the church. After explorations, they followed a large group of historically dressed elderly that seemed to be off to some wedding or event. The symphony grounds enroute to the river had 9 security guards protecting a piazza from entrance even though nothing was in the bricked space or any activity suggesting there would be something. Perhaps an April Fool’s joke? Onward to the River, enroute to the Chocolate Museum to see if the “key” was there.

One of the Piazza / street painters doing a Unicorn chalk painting

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 7, Morning – Exploring Kln, Kln Cathedral, April Fools