2001 Tour of Bavaria and Austria  (page 2)
29 September 2001 through 11 October 2001

We split this into several pages to avoid long load times.  Thanks for your patience.

We drove to the Congress Hall, shaped like the Coliseum but more than four times its size.  This is where the Party was to have all its offices, but the place was still unfinished when the war ended.  It is now being renovated for new government offices.  We drove in, right past the sign that said ‘SHARKHUNTERS Welcome’.  Actually, the sign said ‘eintritt verboten’ but we know they really mean it is okay for us.  We had ample time to shoot photos and videos before we went to the famous Zeppelinfeld and the place where the ‘Death Ceremony’ was held.  You recognize it from ‘Triumph of the Will’ by LENI RIEFENSTAHL. Again, there was plenty of time for photos and videos, and we were at the Luftwaffe Memorial to the fallen pilots of both World Wars.  Thanks to DAVID (Hans) STALTER, we all had a piece of the famous podium at Zeppelinfeld.  Workmen were refurbishing the place, and there were scraps on the ground, headed for the trash and Hans grabbed them for us.

Congress Hall   "Death Ceremony"   Zeppelinfeld

Again, we go where no one else is allowed and we were in a bunker beneath Nürnberg.  During the war, it was an air-raid shelter with the upper chamber holding 800 people and the lower chamber holding 6,000.  We were joined by MICHAEL’s girlfriend Innes, his father, a veteran named Eugen and Frau Höstel.  They were full of history!  MICHAEL’s father was in the Hitler Youth, and he showed us a badge that was given to his Hitler Youth group at the 1934 Party Congress, which was made famous in ‘Triumph of the Will’.  He donated that badge to SHARKHUNTERS!  Vielen Dank, Herr Kaiser.  (photo below) Eugen is a veteran of the Hermann Göring Division, Paratroops and he told us many stories of the war.  As a young woman, Frau Höstel sold wurst (sausages) from a tray at the Party rallies and she met Hitler.  As she was walking from the field, Hermann Göring drove up and thought her tray was too heavy, so he gave her a lift in his car.  The stories from these veterans were just great, and they all signed autographs freely and had their photos taken countless times with our Members.

Again we were at the restaurant zumGoldner Stern where EDDIE PHILLIPS set a SHARKHUNTERS record for sausage eating in 2000 by eating 22 of these little delights in this restaurant that first opened in the 1400’s.  EDDIE’s record still stands, as no one even came close to 22 sausages.  PHIL BROWN however, set another kind of a record – he didn’t eat anything.  He drank a lot of beer though.

3 Oct. (Wednesday)  This is the 10th Anniversary of the reunification of Germany!  Our SHARKHUNTERS group was in Berlin on that very day 10 years ago for another ‘Patrol’.  It was nice of SHARKHUNTERS Member President RONALD REAGAN to arrange for the reunification to coincide with our ‘Patrol’.

We went to the outstanding military museum that MICHAEL KAISER founded and operates.  It is difficult to describe this outstanding museum, built into a World War II bomb shelter.  There are a great many beautifully restored and maintained artifacts from the war years, many in diorama settings as seen in the photo below with MICHAEL.

In the late morning, we depart for Dinkelsbül, a beautiful walled medieval city that originated in the 900’s.  We enjoyed the wine and trumpet ceremony as we did in 2000, then went again to the restaurant in the Bishop’s personal wine cellar from the 1500’s.  I guess they didn’t live so poorly in those days.


the Medal   MICHAEL in his Museum   the Wine Ceremony

The wine and trumpet ceremony dates back to the Thirty Years War when, upon being confronted by one of the armies, the people of Dinkelsbül declared that they did not wish to take sides in the war and wanted to be lest in peace.  They sent a young wine maiden out to give a sample of the local wine to the leader of the invading army, but she had to drink it first.  They all watched her to see if the wine was poisoned but after some time, she did not turn blue or fall over dead, so the leader of the army drank, enjoyed the wine, and so there was no attack on Dinkelsbül.  The wine was very good, the wine maiden did not fall over dead and neither did HARRY, and so all our group had a taste of this nice white wine (photo above).

After dinner, GERD DIETRICH got a room in which to show his videotapes of the Crimean campaign.  GERD was a cannonneer in World War II and he was in the Crimean Campaign under von Manstein.  These great videotapes are all right from GERD’s wartime experience.  These are available now on Sharkhunters DVDs.  CLICK HERE to see them.

4 October (Thursday)  We went to the Audi production plant and it is amazing!  Just about no people in the plant at all – it’s all done by robots.  From the time the sheets of metal come in to the time the car is almost finished, it is all done robotically.

After lunch, we were guests of Dr. AICHNER, Director of the Bavarian Army Museum.  We were treated to a special, SHARKHUNTERS only tour of this tremendous museum.  It is housed in an old fortress and each room is better than the last.  We walked a lot, and we saw a lot – photos and videotapes always allowed.

Then we received a special treat – we were to be guests of the Museum as they welcomed our friend ERICH TOPP & dedicated a room to him. Admiral TOPP was very pleased that our SHARKHUNTERS group was there on this monumental occasion.  Both he and Dr. AICHNER mentioned SHARKHUNTERS at length in their speeches.  Then we went into this new exhibit room.  All of TOPP’s orders and mementos were there; the Knights Cross that his men made on board his submarine when it was announced that he had been awarded this medal; the oil painting of TOPP in his oilskins on the bridge of his boat; many tonnage flags from his boats; the actual flag that flew on his boat and so much more it is impossible to mention it all.  After the ceremony, all the guests went into another room for sandwiches and drinks.  As always, ERICH TOPP was happy to sign autographs and stand for photos with all Members of our group.

Rear Admiral ERICH TOPP   TOPP's flag, medals, orders etc.

Late in the evening, we arrived at our hotel in a suburb of München and after checking in, we scattered.  Some of us went to the little Italian restaurant a block or two away while others headed for the Irish pub a little further on.

5 October (Friday)  The people who own this hotel thanked us for coming, as their tourism had all but dried up since the 11 September attack on America.

Our guys who hit the Irish pub last evening did something previously thought impossible.  They drank the pub out of beer!  The bartender had to put a sign on the door that said they had no beer in this pub.  In some places, this could be considered a national emergency.

After breakfast, we went to the victualenmarkt (farmer’s market) as we did last year, and the lack of tourists was quite evident.  The crowds were way down, so we had no lines to deal with and no delays in restaurants.  Then our bus took us to Feldherrenhalle (photos below) where we began our walking tour of the famous buildings in this historic city.  Our tour was quite complete, and we went by foot in some areas, on the bus in others.  There were photos and videotapes aplenty shot here.  CLICK HERE to see them.

Feldherrenhalle in the early 1940's   Feldherrenhalle October 2001