Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Moin Moin Meppen Meppen
When I first heard of Meppen (mein Mann's hometown) my only thought was that it sounded like the name of a particularly zany muppet, but over the past few years, I've had the opportunity to explore (or at least drive by) it's many charms....um....the New Jersey Nightclub, for example...and Jumpy's American Pizza (I am fairly sure nobody from Jumpy on down has ever been anywhere in the vicinity of America (or Italy for that matter)), and the Hotel Pöker (sounds like Puker) come to mind. OK, so I have at times struggled to really see Meppen's charming side, although the natural setting is quite nice and behind the family home there are some work horses - the really giant ones with lots of hair/fur in the winter that I really like, along with many duck couples that hang out on the main square....I really do try to like Meppen.
We went up to Meppen this month to collect a load of furniture for our new apartment and managed to squeeze in a few day trips so mein Mann could show me Emsland (the region where Meppen is situated). When we met, mein Mann told me he was from "the Iowa of Germany." Perhaps: there's a lot of farmland -- very pretty in the German way (all very precisely groomed, nary a grain out of Ordnung and to my own personal horror and dismay: not a single farmstand).
First, he showed me a bunch of piles of rocks aka megalithic graves (apparently his ancestors were very strong):
Also, a lovely mill (what's not to like about a place that has Mills listed at the top (I kid you not) of their list of tourist attractions?):
And a few nice Schlosses and (after sneaking sans passport across the Dutch border, where, by the way, we immediately encountered an adorable farm stand) to see a very nice fort.
Along with rocks and mills,
Along with rocks and mills, Emsland is also known for Schnapps production. I was particularly taken with this bottle of Hasetaler Korn, which promises a "guarantee of origin" and actually lists the names of the farmers whose wheat was used in the Schnapps' production along with the specific location of the farm!