29.08.2006 - 29.08.2006
Mari met me at the train station in Bayreuth [Bayreuth-travel-guide-368963] and took me on a tour of town. Mari was my sister's German Exchange Student in High School. I hadn't met Mari because I was away at college, so this would be our first meeting. Our first stop was the famous Festspielhaus - where Wagner operas are held to sold out shows for a month in summer. People travel from all over to come here for the Wagner Festival and operas or just to see this building. There is a wait list of 5-10 years just to see a show here! It was closed today, so we didn't go in.
We walked around the city a little bit but I can't remember most of what we saw. We did see the smallest house in Bayreuth - a bachelor pad near the Stadtkirche. The big church was undergoing some renovation and we could only go in the entrance, but you couldn't see much of the church from there. We walked over to the Neues Schloss (new castle) and stopped by the fountain before walking to the Hofgarten (park) behind the castle. The park was really nice with flowers, walking paths, statues and a pond. But it rained on us. We did see a little room of statues and fountains that is usually locked so Mari got to see something new! I liked the long row of flowers with a person sitting under an umbrella on a bench in the rain. We stopped in at Wahnfried - Richard Wagner's house, but didn't pay to go through it. It was near the end of the Wagner Festival, so there were lots of flowers and memorials on his grave from around the world!
We stopped in the mall for a little bit and had some ice cream, but it was smoky in there so we didn't stay long. We drove out to the Eremitage about 6 km outside of the city. This consists of an old and new castle and some beautiful park grounds. It was gorgeous! The new castle has a mosaic type decoration on the outside of the buildings. Its actually kind of neat and sparkly. Many of the mosaic tiles are really broken colored rocks (so of course I liked it!). There are lots of trees, statues and fountains throughout the park. I would have liked to have spent more time here, but there were dark clouds moving in and thunder in the distance.
We went back to Mari's house where her parents made a delicious dinner. We talked a little bit in pig-Deutsch (German with English words thrown in) - her parents didn't speak the best English but it was still better than my German. Off to bed and ready for another adventure tomorrow!