My Home is my Wartburg Castle.
I share my hometown Eisenach (Thuringia, Germany) with Johann Sebastian Bach. Eisenach (first mentioned as a market town in 1180 AD) and its Unesco World Heritage Wartburg Castle (dating back to 1067 AD) get a few mentions in German history.
Read more about Eisenach & Wartburg Castle…
With the Fall of the Berlin Wall came the end off almost a century of car manufacturing in Eisenach. Only nearly though, fortunately. General Motor’s interest in the location led to the biggest US investment in former Eastern Germany and saw a brand spanking new OPEL factory open its doors in 1992. A very proud Markus stood in the front row singing “What a Wonderful World” in a choir during the opening ceremony.
Family, Skiing, Hiking
Eisenach & the Thuringian Forrest, that’s where my older sister Conny and I grew up. The close proximity to mountains, woods and nature as well as our membership-by-birth in a hiking and winter sports club means that our family has been active in the great outdoors a lot for as long as I can remember. Fond childhood memories..
All these activities and family life were a good counterweight to everybody’s worries that my’ eye sight was not the best. I was born (in 1979, in case you’re taking notes) with a rare eye disease; a few months old, I was diagnosed with a cataract in one eye and a retina problem in the other one.
My right eye gave up the ghost in 1995, and the left eye followed in 2000 due to a detached retina. After 19 stays in hospitals and having greeted an anaesthetist 17 times, I am really not afraid of doctors anymore – not even dentists.
After one year at a school for the blind in Marburg, Hesse, during which I learned the skills and tricks that help blind people to get by, I moved to Bamberg in Upper Franconia to study at the University of Bamberg.
Beautiful “Freak City”
I couldn’t have picked a better place to go. Bamberg is a beautiful place and with its medieval old town my second home which is on the list of Unesco World Heritage sites.
#FunFact: Buried in Bamberg is the only pope who was laid to rest north of Italy – Pope Clemens II, 1046-1047.
The enthusiasm for Basketball in Bamberg resulted in the nickname “Freak City”; and I became a Basketball fan, too. Bamberg won the German championship in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. They have won the German Basketball Bundesliga Cup in 1992, 2010, 2011, 2011 and 2012 and the BBL champions Cup in 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. Bamberg has also left a lasting impression in the Euro League. Oh yes, I do love basketball!
And then I thought: Feck it, I’m in Ireland!
This was written on a T-shirt that I purchased shortly after arriving in Galway, “The City of the Tribes”, in the stunning west of Ireland. I studied at the National University of Ireland Galway as a visiting student in the academic year 2004-2005. The country, the music, the people as well as the friends I made in college and in a drama group had a lasting impact on me and led to my return to Ireland after I graduated from the University of Bamberg.