In response to an invitation from Verwood's twin town of
Liederbach in Germany to visit them in order to celebrate the 25 years
anniversary of twinning between the 2 towns; 18 members of the Verwood &
Three Legged Cross Twinning Association travelled to Liederbach on a
self funded trip.
Report on the Group extending their
members of the group opted to travel by car and extend the visit in
order to visit places of interest in the Ardennes and the Vosges Mountains. The group met in the port of Dover on
Sunday the 11th of June
in order to catch the DFDS 14:00 hrs sailing to Dunkirk and then
travelled to their first hotel in the walled town of Bergues in France
where they gathered together in a local bar for something to eat and
the following morning they visited the extremely large market in Bergues
before travelling 197 miles on to the next hotel at Houffalize in
Belgium for dinner bed and breakfast.
(The picture shows some of the group in
a bar in Houffalize.)
On Tuesday the 13th of June the group travelled the short distance to the
"Bastogne War Museum" which is situated just a stone's throw from the
famous "American Mardasson Memorial".
The "Bastogne War Museum" represents a new way to
remember the past, specifically devoted to the Second World War in
Belgium. It gives a fresh perception into the causes, events and
consequences of World War ll through the lens of the Ardennes Counter
offensive - the "Battle of the Bulge".
(The picture above shows the Mardasson
Memorial above the Crypt
and the picture below shows the driving group
at the war museum
with the Memorial in the background)
After visiting the Bostogne War Museum the driving group
then travelled to the Hotel at "Kedange-sur-Canner" for an evening meal and
a comfortable nights sleep.
On Wednesday the 14th June a leisurely drive
was made to the "Hackenberg Fort" which is part of the
Construction of "Hackenberg Fort"
started in 1930 as one of the very first to be built. For
that reason, it was considered as a prototype for the artillery
fortresses of the Maginot Line. During six years, around 1800 workers,
with rudimentary means, were employed to build 19 combat blocks and to
drive more than 10 kilometres of galleries. After 1933 and the
achievement of the major works, the fortress was fitted out with its
equipments and delivered to the military command in 1936.
After the declaration of war in 1939, the fortress was
placed in full alert state all the Phoney War long and was involved in
the fights during the German offensive of May and June 1940. It only
surrender a few days after the armistice, signed on the 25th of June.
Later, in November 1944, it had been breached by General George S.
Patton's Third US Army on the occasion of the bloody battle for Moselle
River. Please visit their site for more information.
("The first picture
shows the effect of General
Patton's attack on block 6 of Hackenberg Fort, while the
next picture Shows the
start of the tunnels from the main entrance.
The train and railway track
for moving Ammo & used by visitors can clearly be seen")
At the conclusion of the visit to the "Hackenberg Fort" the group
made their respective ways to the next Hotel at "La Petite Pierre",
74 miles away and the "Hotel aux trois Roses" for another
excellent meal and nights stay.
La Petite-Pierre is a commune in the Bas-Rhine department in Grand Est
north-eastern France within the Vosges Mountains.
This picture shows the town of La
Petite Pierre sitting high up on its walls.
On Thursday the 15th June the group travelling by car spent the morning
the old town and had a relaxing coffee in one of the restaurants there
prior to travelling the remaining 150 miles into Germany and up to
Liederbach where they met at around 1900 hrs in the "Liederbach Halle" for a drink and to meet their hosts and the group flying.
Group flying from Heathrow to
Unfortunately the group flying had a few problems. The aircraft was full
and all the hand luggage could not be accommodated in the cabin of the
aircraft so some passengers agreed to have their hand baggage put in the
hold. The flight was then delayed and on arrival in Frankfurt airport 2
families in the group did not get their hand baggage back. One set of
actually went to Vienna before being returned. but it was all returned
within the next 2 days. The group flying were picked up by the
Liederbach Red Cross and taken to the "Liederbach Halle" but because of
the delay the first group had left with their hosts.
Main Twining visit starts.
Thursday the 15th June all the visitors met at the
"Liederbach Halle" at 0830 for the coach trip which initially went to the town
of Heppenheim in the Odenwald region of Germany which is a
low mountain range in the German states of Hesse, Bavaria and
Baden-Württemberg. The Odenwald is located between the Upper Rhine Plain
with the Bergstraße and the Hessisches Ried in the west, the Main and
the Bauland in the east, the Hanau-Seligenstadt Basin – a subbasin of
the Upper Rhine Rift Valley in the Rhine-Main Lowlands – in the north
and the Kraichgau in the south. The group was split into two and had a
guided tour of the old town of "Heppenheim" which is the home
town of Sebastian Vettel,
of Formula 1 fame; It is understood that he is paying for the
restoration of one of the old buildings there.
On leaving the centre of Heppenheim the group were taken by the coach up
a very narrow road, not suitable for coaches, to the Burgschanke
Starkenburg restaurant which is situated next to the castle on the
top of the hill. The last part of the climb had to be carried out on
foot but the Liederbach Red Cross bus was in attendance for those unable
to make the climb unaided. There was some confusion as to what had been
ordered and by whom but there was plenty of excellent food and drink and
everybody left in excellent spirits.
returning to the coach (Later than planned) the group were taken
to "Morlenbach" in order to board the worlds first solar powered trolley
ride of around 11 km on a beautiful listed railway line which terminated
after a tunnel at the "Wald-Michelbach" terminus where drinks and
cake were provided. The group were then taken back to the "Liederbach Halle" to be picked up and spend the evening with their hosts.
Liederbach International Strachen Fest
twinning visit was organised to coincide with the annual Street
Festival (Strachen Fest) and the committee agreed to set up a stall to sell Dorset produce. The
townsfolk of Liederbach loved our local marmalade, biscuits and
selected teas, all provided in a Union Jack carrier bag with a copy of
the Verwood Town Guide included.
The picture above shows part of the
Verwood group and friends,
testing the local produce - as a necessity.
of the other stalls were selling different types of food as well as
numerous stalls selling beer and cider and other drinks. There was also
a children's section to keep the little ones amused.
On the stage there were many local acts throughout the afternoon and
The picture shows Lisa interviewing
the local cowgirls.
On Sunday the 18th June
the group returned again to the "Liederbach Halle" for a short
walk to the Europe Tree which was a tree gifted by Verwood to Liederbach
10 years ago where a plaque was unveiled to commemorate the event.
Unfortunately and embarrassingly the plaque had been incorrectly worded
so needed to be replaced, this has now been done as the picture shows.
The picture shows all the group at the
On the way back to the "Liederbach Halle" for the
official ceremony and meal with Guests and Hosts one of the artefacts found in Liederbach was an old GPO Telephone Box
donated by Verwood which is now being used as a library exchange.
The trip was climaxed
in the "Liederbach Halle" by an official ceremony to mark the
25 year Anniversary and attended by all the host families and local
dignitaries. Speeches were made, with greetings also made to the
small group who had visited from Saldus in Latvia. Presents were
exchanged with Verwood providing a picture of Durdle Door and
Liederbach presenting a slate plaque to Verwood.
Above is the slate plaque given to Verwood and Three Legged Cross
during the visit. This now resides in Verwood's Town Hall.
In addition the Twinning charter was renewed to celebrate
25 years of Twinning/Partnershaften between the two towns and was signed
by Clive Grove, the chairman of Verwood and Three Legged Cross Twinning
Eva Sollner the Burgermeisterin of Liederbach.
The picture shows Clive Grove, the
chairman of Verwood and Three Legged Cross Twinning Association who
signed on behalf of Verwood with
Eva Sollner the Burgermeisterin who signed on behalf of Liederbach,
with both copies of the 25th Anniversary Twinning Charter shown below.
On Monday the 19th June
early in the morning the group flying were taken to Frankfurt Airport
for their relatively short flight home. The group travelling by car left
around 10 p.m. for the longer drive to Ghent where they rested overnight
after an enjoyable and relaxing meal at a restaurant in the square. On
Tuesday the 20th of June they left
Ghent for the noon DFDS ferry sailing from Dunkirk and onward travel to
Verwood. All arrived home safely after a very enjoyable twinning visit.
partnerships even closer".
pictures and text by Stuart Clifton.