Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hermann the German: June 23, 2012

Saturday was a three-fer!  Joe and I took a Day Trip to New Ulm and Mankato, for three purposes:

1.  Seeing Hermann the German
2.  Going to Flandreau State Park
3.  Going to Minneopa State Park
4.  Eating Lunch at Veigel Kaiserhoff (an added perk, we didn't go to New Ulm just to eat there)

I will talk about Hermann and Veigel Kaiserhoff here, and do the State Parks in another post (maybe two).

Hermann the German!  Who was Hermann the German?

Well, he was a Germanic Chieftain (real name Arminius, but that doesn't have the same rhyming ring) that smacked down the Roman Legions in 9 a.d. and caused Caesar Augustus to shout, "Quintili Vare, legiones redde!" or, "Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!"  Alas, Augustus could not have his legions back.  16,000 Romans died at Hermann's Hands.  The Germans beat Rome, and Hermann became quite the folk hero...especially in a city like New Ulm, MN which is quite proud of it's German Protestant heritage.  Take that, Rome!  Like many proud conquerors, they put up a statue.

The third tallest bronze statue in the USA
stands proudly atop this monument.

When Joe told me that New Ulm had a ten-story tall monument with a bronze statue of Hermann the German on it, I thought that the statue itself was ten stories tall.  I was a bit relieved to see that it was less intimidating than I thought it would be.  I had lots of questions, though: how tall was it?  When was it built?  What was it made of?  Luckily, the fine people of New Ulm provided Monument Data in the form of a sidewalk paver...which was surrounded by smaller pavers from donors with very German names.

Oh.  Well, thanks for the info, New Ulm. Seriously, it's nice to have all of the pertinent info right here.

Brave souls can climb the monument for $2 a head.  There's a nice little museum in the building at the base of the monument, then it's up their circular staircase to the lookout deck.  Then, if you're REALLY brave, you can climb a ladder and squeeze through a small hatch and come out on the little roof deck.

Joe is not a big fan of heights.

Once we got onto the little deck, we had a very nice view of New Ulm. New Ulm is very hilly: when we asked the lady at the gas station for directions to Hermann, she said "down the hill and up the hill." When we asked for directions to Flandreau, she said "down the hill and up the hill." There WERE a lot of hills in town. We suspected that "down the hill and up the hill" was a common directive to many locations in New Ulm.

I was glad to have seen Hermann the German. I was a very poor student of Classical Civilization, I didn't remember him at all. Joe is reading a book about Rome right now, so this fit in nicely with his current scholarship. Plus, it was fun for Joe to see such a Bavarian Little Town, being a Son of Germany himself.

Upskirt Paparazzi Shot!  Scandal in New Ulm! 

I will skip over the part in which we went to Flandreau State Park, and write about that later. Instead, we're going to talk about our trip to Veigel's Kaiserhoff, a German restaurant in town. The food wasn't much to speak of, so I won't. I WILL talk about the atmosphere. Small dining rooms, dark wood, sassy waitress full of ideas about what we should order (the ribs...not a fan) and jukeboxes at every table.
Joe examines our music options

It was free to play music, and it was quiet enough so that we didn't feel like we were intruding on the other tables.  We played some Neil Diamond, some Johnny Cash, and we even found one of our favorite songs...or so we thought...

"The Gembler"

I was curious about "The Gembler"...I wondered if it was some cheap-o knockoff of "The Gambler".  Perhaps sung by Kennie Rogers, or Kenny A. Rogers, about a young man meeting a grizzled old Gembler on a train and being given life advice.  Fortunately, (?) it was the real thing and just a funny typo.  Then we somehow broke the jukebox and it started playing very, very loudly.  Embarrassed that we were now broadcasting our musical choices to the entire restaurant, we paid for our food and headed on out with our heads ducked.

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