I had never had any real desire to visit Germany again, but something about being shown the country by real life people who really live there helps the experience a lot. I suppose that's true of any place though. One doesn't learn about France by visiting the Eiffel Tour, or about England by visiting Buckingham Palace, or about Italy by visiting St. Peters anymore than one learns about the U.S. by visiting the Statue of Liberty. Honestly, those things I can take or leave, but the people in all of these countries (as well as dozens others) fascinate me. In each, they have their beautiful and ugly. And it shows me the beautiful and ugly in my own dear Kansas/Oklahoman culture too.
Essen used to be a huge coal industry town. In the 1970s, all the mines were closed down. They tried to tear them down but the biggest one was preserved and is now a Unesco World Heritage site. Below are some pictures.
Outside the coal mines. Jeremy, Sean, Bryan, and the German family.
Inside the mines. Scary huh? Actually it's face light.
We had a near miss when part of the building started to fall down. Fortunately, Sean was there to save the day and pulled the steel beams of of us. Jeremy would have helped more, but his hands were fully of (English!) materials about the museums.
So that's my adventure in Essen. The family has asked me to come back, but I don't know if I'm going to be able to. The eldest son (Hendrick) wants to visit me while I'm in Brussels, and I've assured him he's more than welcome. So you may hear more from my new German friends!