Members of Soroptimist International Muenster extended the hand of friendship to 18 visitors from SI St Albans and District and SI Trier for the weekend of 29-31 September. Five members of the St Albans Club, three husbands and Beatriz Chadour-Sampson (the Soroptimist who started the friendship link) all travelled to Muenster along with nine Members of SI Trier.
The visit began with a brunch at the home of Dr Sylvia Vorhnhecke – after our early start that morning a huge spread of food was demolished in no time! The sun shone, and we were able to renew friendships, start to make new friends, eat, drink – and admire Sylvia’s husband’s collection of British artifacts including a traditional British red telephone box installed in the garden! The hospitality from SI Muenster was wonderful from the moment we arrived, until the moment we left. The President of SI Trier is a wine maker and provided delicious Mosel wine for everyone over the weekend – what a treat!
Next on the agenda was a visit to the harbour area of Muenster – an area focused on art, culture, bars and restaurants – perfect for Soroptimists!
The evening was spent in the home of SI Muenster’s Club President Marie-Eva Tumbrink – we are still not sure how we fitted into her lovely apartment and all sat down to a delicious meal with wine. Here our President Denise Powell was able to present our host with gifts – a book of National Trust Gardens as a symbol of our growing friendship and to inspire Members of SI Muenster to visit the UK. We presented every member of their Club with a packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds – chosen for their meaning of friendship, in support of SI Europe’s environmental programme of work and because they are Soroptimist blue.
On Saturday we had a guided tour of the lovely cathedral city of Muenster, including the Municipal Museum – where we were taken on the tour by Barbata Romme who is Director of the Museum and also a Member of SI Muenster.
After lunch there was a cycling tour of the sculpture projects in Muenster. By this time it was raining – so those that did go on the tour were very determined, and earned a well deserved coffee and cake afterwards!
The evening saw us at the lovely home of Dr Sabine Schiller-Lerg. Once more the generous hospitality made for a wonderful dinner party – good food – good company – lots of ideas and news to share – what more could you ask for?
On Sunday we visited not one but two “schlosses” before being taken to the airport at Dortmund. The first was Vischering Schloss at Ludinghausen – a beautiful traditional moated castle dating back to before the 15th century.
The secondschloss is the beautiful baroque style Nordkirchen palace which was built in the early 18th century and is known as the “Versailles of Westphalia”. We were also able to have lunch sitting outside the palace with our now best friends. President Denise gave a final farewell speech at the palace and presented President Marie-Eva with a thank you card, a donation for the SI Muenster Club’s charities, and a promise that we would all stay in contact and have another exchange visit very soon.
The visitors returned to Luton airport quite exhausted after such an action-packed weekend – what fabulous hospitality – what a joy to have such a marvellous Friendship Link!