Germany trip a success for Ottery 'twinners'

PUBLISHED: 11:01 25 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:27 17 June 2010

A DRIZZLY weekend failed to dampen spirits of Ottery Twinning Association members who enjoyed a trip to Southern Germany earlier this month.

A DRIZZLY weekend failed to dampen spirits of Ottery Twinning Association members who enjoyed a trip to Southern Germany earlier this month.

Thirty-five "twinners" returned from a "very successful" trip to twin town Ilsfeld on October 6.

Twinning Association secretary Keith Spittlehouse said: "We didn't pick the very best of weather but the spirits of the hosts and the visitors were not dampened and it didn't significantly curtail the programme arranged over the weekend."

Highlights of the four-day trip included trips to scenic Heidelberg and a chance to sample several of the Baden-Wurttemberg castles surrounding Ilsfeld.

Ilsfeld is famous for its wines and the visit was arranged to coincide with the area's grape harvest.

Mr Spittlehouse added: "Our programme included helping to pick the grapes and to have a traditional grape pickers lunch. It was not the best weather to pick grapes. We were, however, able to walk through the vines and sample some of the different varieties of grape, all of which were sweet and juicy."

The following night a volley of cannon and rifle fire from a traditionally dressed re-enactment group sparked a formal meal between the groups.

Ottregian guests joined in Harvest Festival celebrations on the Sunday, with the pastor of Ilsfeld's church printing traditional hymns in both German and English for all to enjoy. Ilsfeld also broke with Sunday tradition as shops opened alongside a market.

Mr Spittlehouse added: "The town was lively and thronging with visitors.

"On Monday it was time to say our farewells and arrange to rekindle our friendships next May."

Ottery will welcome 28 residents from French twin Pont L'Eveque in time for the town's carnival next weekend. Guests arrive next Friday, October 31.

Sylvia Gehring, who liaises with the French town, said: " The twinning is over 30 years old and it will be friends old and new.

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