They showed me all around the places where they spent their lives in their younger days when it was the GDR. It was a very different life for Germans living in what was East Germany and a lot of people seem to have both positive and negative feelings about that time still. We went up to see the city's rich mining history high up in the area where we were going to watch the fireworks from that night. The architecture in Freiberg is quite lovely although the outskirts, like quite a lot of this part of the world does not have the magical beauty of Bavaria and there is a very stark feeling to the old apartment buildings. There has been quite a bit of work done to re-invent these buildings and it will still take quite an injection of money and expertise to change it but the people are so very generous, friendly and hilarious. My God they can talk and laugh, every time they meet each other in the street or in a restaurant the conversation goes on forever.
We stayed in a lovely older style place called Hotel Silberhof. My room was at the top in the corner so I had double aspect windows, just delightful.
After driving around the city we had lunch at a most delightful old restaurant called Schwanenschlösschen. Of course the name was another hilarious excuse for them to try and educate me in German pronunciation, which obviously was not going to eventuate with this particular noun.I must say we do not just 'pop in' to a place like this, almost every part of my stay here in Saxony has been planned and booked for me with typically meticulous German precision.
I think that Sydney has the most amazing New Year's Eve fireworks although they cost us, the taxpayer a fortune. Is it worth it? Mmmmmm that is debatable. That point aside, I think our fireworks laws in Australia are to be commended. Here, I was totally shocked to see small children with their parents carrying around large fire crackers and rockets which they are able to buy very easily in the supermarkets. I was told that there have been loads of accidents with them but the law still stays the same. We went to the beautiful 800+ year old St. Nikolai's Church at 11pm for the New Year service then left just before midnight, rushing up to the highest point overlooking Freiburg to watch the explosion of fireworks all over the city. I do not think there was a clear space of sky, fog mixing with the smoke from the fireworks which had gone on solidly for an hour created quite an unpleasant atmosphere. They went on intermittently throughout the night and the debris the next morning was absolutely everywhere.
January 1st 2016, we arrived back into Annaberg at around noon to a lovely coating of snow over the city which was quite magical. Heidi had pre-cooked rouladen and rotkraut a couple of days ago and just had to re-cook it for our New Year lunch, it is best cooked twice apparently. Along with a delicious champagne that Bernd had been given years ago which he was saving for something special, it was a really lovely way to start 2016. As I write this we have -3oC outside at 9pm.
Food and alcohol can be kept outside on the balcony because they are high up and it is freezing!
Happy New Year
Annaberg city with the fog coming in on the left