'We made friends for life': Town Council's 'twinning' trip to Germany
By Caroline Kolek
10th Sep 2023 | Local News
Written by our new Nub News columnist, Town Councillor Caroline Kolek.
Honiton town is twinned with Mezidon in France and Gronau in Germany. You can read more about the links between the towns here.
On Thursday 24 August 10 members of the Honiton Twinning Association visited Gronau in Germany, travelling to Hanover via London Heathrow.
We arrived late in the afternoon and were met and collected from the airport. We were then welcomed in Gronau with a civic reception by the Town Mayor and District Mayor as well as being introduced to our hosts as six of us were new to twinning, with this being our first visit.
Later that evening we all settled into our host's homes.
The couple Stephen (my husband) and I stayed with had good English and were keen to talk about England and Germany's shared history, particularly through the monarchy and the House of Hanover.
On the Friday, despite taking the English weather (heavy rain and thunderstorms) with us, we enjoyed a tour of the town in the morning and a boat trip in the afternoon, with two members going to the Egyptian museum in Hildesheim.
The evening was spent at Gronau's annual wine festival, featuring wines from all over Germany. It was a wonderful day with the opportunity of making new friends and, for some, strengthening existing friendships.
Saturday was a trip to Hildesheim visiting their UNESCO Romanesque Church, St Michael's; their cathedral, St Mary's and the historic St Andrew's church. All sympathetically restored along with the mediaeval town centre following heavy bombing in WWII.
Sunday brought a variety of options including a picnic lunch, a local art exhibition, a friendly international boules tournament and for Stephen and I an accidental visit to Germany's smallest pub!
In the evening we had a farewell buffet dinner at a local hotel.
I have to be honest to say I had some reservations about going - staying in a stranger's home and having to make small talk with a big language barrier was a bit daunting. My worries were quickly dismissed when we arrived.
Everyone was super friendly and our hosts were fantastic; we sat up late on the Friday and Saturday night chatting about our families, history, world events and everything in between. We have made friends for life.
We had a fairly early flight home on the Monday which proved to be a blessing as we landed just as the UK air traffic control fiasco was starting to unfold.
It was a fabulous experience and a great way to immerse yourself into the local customs and culture as well as strengthening our twinning commitment with Gronau.
We look forward to welcoming our hosts and friends in Honiton soon.