60th Anniversary - Darlington Citizens Visit to Mülheim

Tuesday 17th Sep 2013

We left Darlington at 1200 0n 17th September and travelled with Hodgson’s coach via Beverley to Hull for overnight ferry travel to Rotterdam. This visit was to celebrate our 60 years twinning links with Mülheim.

As well as our citizens group we had people who would be involved in the “Darlington 60” exhibition in the Forum Shopping centre.
These included singers and those who would be working on tourist information, railway heritage and South West Durham Training Co./Siemens stands.
22 persons in all we enjoyed a good dinner, with drink and entertainment, on the ferry before arriving in Rotterdam at 0830.

On Wednesday 18th we arrived at our hotel, Kaempgens Hof, in the Duempten area of Mülheim.
We were met by our hosts and had lunch at the hotel before unloading exhibition items at the Forum. Those of us working there remained to set up the stands, while the others went on a return river trip to Kettwig with the Weisse Flotte boat Friedrich Freyer.
At 1930 we all met at the Wasserbahnhof where we enjoyed a great variation of German national dishes, in the presence of Mayor Renate aus der Beek and members of the Mülheim Twinning Association.

First visit on Thursday 19th was to the Koenigs Brewery in Duisburg which everyone said was amazing – a very large brewery manned only by a few staff controlling systems by a huge panel.
Then on to the “Christo” exhibition in the Oberhausen Gasometer which was also brilliant. That evening we all went by train to Dusseldorf Altstadt where we had a wonderful evening eating Jaegerschnitzel etc. and drinking in the famous Uerige pub, finally finishing with the dreaded Killerpitch Schnapps!

Our Darlington 60 exhibition continued on Friday 20th and we had good support from local members, and were visited by many local people. Some of them recognised the old photos we had on display and took copies for themselves.
We also sold numerous items from our town and were quite pleased at the attention we received. Our citizens visited the gigantic Garzwieler open coal mine and Neurath power station, as well as Castle Paffendorf.
Many remarked that they had quite an amazing day, however it was not finished as that evening was the celebratory dinner at the Sparkasse, which was attended by 170 persons. Great entertainment was provided by Charisma Choir, who will perform in Darlington on 6th October, and our young vocalists Phil Crumbie and Hayley McKay, who both did Darlington proud!
Presentations were also given by local students who had visited our town for work experience, and speeches made by Mayor Renate aus der Beek and other dignitaries.

Saturday 21st was the last exhibition day and it went very well finishing at 1800. Others enjoyed a full day excursion to the Wuppertal Neanderthal museum followed by lunch at the Bergische Kafeetal, and visit to Schloss Berg an der Wupper.
That evening we were split into groups and hosted at the homes of our Mülheim friends. My family and Hayley were at the home of Karl and Ingeborg Schaefer, where we had excellent food ,wine , schnapps and friendship throughout the evening, and I believe others in our group had similar experiences.

Sunday 22nd was the final day for visits and it began with a 2 hour tour of the city, followed by a choice of cycling along the Ruhr or visits to Kloster Saarn and the Alte Post Museum. The evening finished with a visit to Fellerband at their Felchner Farm, and again the hospitality was superb and the music by the band, accompanied by Hayley and Phil, really rounded off a brilliant week in our twin town.

The coach departed at 1030 on Monday 23rd for a visit to Xaanten and then on to Rotterdam for the ferry. They had a good crossing to Hull and arrived in Darlington on noon on 24th.
I remained in Mülheim, staying with my friends the Schaefers until Thursday, when our Mayor and Council Leader arrived for the official celebrations with leaders from Mülheim. Visited Aldi HQ with Mayor and Leader.

Report by Tom Nutt

Darlington Participants. Tom & Gill Nutt, Nigel Davison, Alan Lenham, Sandra Dashwood, Hugh Adams, Jo Rigby, Maggie Ellison, Kath Vernon, Allan Wilson, Jim & Janice Nutt, Ann Rider, Jean Hattersley, Jean Thompson, Phil Crumbie, Hayley Mckay, Helen Crumbie, Paul Tate, Callum Little, Dave Lyonette , Geoff Walker. Robbie (coach driver)

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