The apes on the Rock of Gibraltar are a great tourist attraction, particularly when they are being fed by the army sergeant who is the Official Keeper of the Apes. It is not known how they came to be on the Rock but they have certainly lived there in considerable numbers since at least the 18th century when the British took possession of the territory.
It is said that if the apes should ever leave the Rock, then so will the English. Winston Churchill himself ordered that their number should never fall below 35.
is built literally into the rocks at the top of a mountain, a place where it is
impossible to drive a motor car. It is
very popular with tourists who are dropped off from their coaches on a car park
way below the village itself, where they are left to walk up the steep paths
and steps to reach the village. All is
not lost however because it is possible to get a taxi, but it would have to be
one of the licensed ‘donkey taxis’ which ply for hire. Spain
Thun is a pretty little town in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland which lies on the River Aare at the point where it flows into
. A fine castle, which dominates the town,
also houses a small prison. A nice
story is told about the ‘prison guards’ in the shape of a flock of geese which
occupies a small area alongside the building and are said to be the best
possible guards. Lake Thun
The Mosel Region in
is noted for its fine
wine. Each village has its own
distinctive vineyards and it is easy to find a wine which is suitable to ones
taste. The wine from the Germany is particularly notable and is
known as ‘Schwarze Katz’ or Black Cat.
Legend has it that in 1863, three wine merchants from village of Zell were in Zell to taste the wine and
find out which was the best cellar to buy from.
In one particular winery they went into lengthy negotiations and finally
they opted to choose from three casks.
Suddenly the owner’s black cat sprang onto one of the casks and arched
its back in a threatening manner, whereupon the merchants took it as an omen
that it was the best wine and without even tasting it, they bought it. Since that time, Zell wine has been known as
‘Schwarze Katz’. Aachen
The Bridge Monkey
Just alongside the town gate on the bridge over the River Neckar at
in Heidelberg there is a bronze monkey or
‘bruckenaff’ holding a mirror. Installed in 1979 it was sculptured by Professor
Gernot Rumpf and the theme of the sculpture is ‘humility’. Alongside is a plaque which reads: Germany
“Why are you looking at me?
Haven’t you seen a monkey in
Look around and you will probably see
More monkey’s like me”.
Old drawings show that there was a brass monkey at this spot as far back as the 15th century when a traveller abroad brought a real monkey back to
. The local people were amazed to
see it and just stared at it – hence the legend. The original bronze
disappeared during the Palatinian War of Succession of 1689-1693. Heidelberg
To touch the bronze is said to bring good luck!
Largest Cuckoo Clock
The largest free-hanging cuckoo clock in the world can be seen suspended outside a shop in St Goar on the Middle Rhine in
. Some 33 years old, this time piece is 3.5
metres high and 2.5 metres wide. It
weighs about 5 cwts. Carved from linden
wood it is entirely handmade and handpainted.
Because the clock has two faces, the biggest problem faced by the
designers was to arrange the working so that a cuckoo pops out on both sides to
call time every half hour. Music also
plays as a stage at the top of the clock revolves, revealing a set of four
dancing figures. Germany
The people of Lier in
are known as Schapekoppen or
‘Sheepheads’ . The story goes that in the
Middles Ages the populace had a choice of having a university or a flock of
sheep, and they chose the sheep.
Nevertheless the town prospered and the economy of the town is textile
Elwedritschen in the Market Square at Neustadt an der Weinstrasse
The creature has increasingly been portrayed by artists as female by adding breasts
The Elwetritsch is supposedly very shy, but also very curious andgullable people are sometimes encouraged to indugle in a hunting process. A hunting party consists of a "Fänger" (catcher), equipped with a big potato sack and a lantern, and the "Treiber" (beaters). The catcher is led into the woods where the Elwetritsch is supposed to live, instructed to wait in a clearing with his sack and lantern, while the beaters will supposedly disturb the Elwetritsch. The light of the lantern is said to be attractive to the curious creature, so it will come to investigate and will then be caught by the catcher. While he waits, everyone heads back to the pub to wait for the catcher to realize that he has been fooled!
THE LION OF GILLEPE
A huge dam was built near
in 1878 to hold back the waters of
the Gillepe, a tributary of the Vesdre, which created a large reservoir to
supply the area with drinking water. One
hundred years later the dam was raised to a height of 62 metres and a length of
320 metres, providing a capacity of 26 million cubic metres. The dam is dominated by a huge stone lion
constructed by A.F Boure in 1878. Verviers in Belgium
These beautiful wild sheep, De Moeflon, with huge curly horns can be seen in the forests of The Veluwe in the south east of the Netherlands. They were introduced to the area in the 18th century from Corsica and Sardinia and relatively small numbers have survived to the present day.
A very fine sculpture of one of these animals can be seen on the edge of the forest just behind the railway station at Nunspeet.
I took this photograph many years ago alongside a canal near to Gouda in Holland.
I have never been able to find anything about it although it would appear to have a 'story' attacvhed to it.