Sunday, August 4, 2013

Homburg: flea market, flower fields, caves, and Turkish food

Finally, after months of hoping to go, a friend and I finally took a trip on Saturday to Homburg (not to be confused with HAMburg), which is about half an hour west of Kaiserslautern. We had been wanting to visit the monthly flea market there and this was the first month we were both around and available to go.

It was huge! We were there for several hours and were tired out by the end of it. The flea market, or Flohmarkt, auf Deutsch, occurs on the first Saturday of every month (except for December) from 8 am - 4 pm. It spreads out in front of the Rathaus at Am Forum, 66424 Homburg (Saar).

There were a wide variety of vendors, selling everything from electrically-heated ice cream scoops (didn't know you needed one until now, eh?), to life-size Indiana Jones replicas (at least I think that was who the whip-yielding dude was), to just about everything else! Food vendors and imbisses were even available. We sustained ourselves by visiting the Bretzeln (pretzel) cart as we wandered through the extensive maze of goods.

This is just the beginning of the market.

Crack that whip, Indiana!

Electric, heated ice cream scoop!
After several hours of wandering around, we were ready for our next stop: the Schlossberghöhlen, or the "castle rock cave" under the ruins of the Hohenburg castle. However, we took a little wrong turn "side trip" and experienced the fun of road-side flowers.

How cool is this? There are Selbstschneiden ("self cutting," as in do-it yourself, not harming yourself!) flower fields where one pays on the honor system and cuts one's own flowers. I've always been meaning to stop at one to take pictures at the very least. My friend suggested we do this and bought us each a flower (aww, so nice!). We frolicked through the flowers and each picked a nice one.

After reorienting ourselves correctly post-flower picking, we drove on to the caves (article about them here) for a tour. We paid 5 euros and were taken through the caves for a tour in German. I understood maybe about 25% of the content: people hid in the caves during aerial raids in World War II; there are ripple marks on the ceiling from water millions of years ago, etc. My favorite part of the caves was how cool, temperature-wise, they were. It was a pleasant respite from the warm, muggy weather above. Were the caves worth a visit? I wouldn't consider them a top tourist attraction, but if one were passing through the area anyway, it wouldn't be a bad stop. The caves involve a steep climb up and down steps to the entrance and stairs within so it wouldn't be a recommend trip for those with mobility difficulties.

Ceiling of the cave in its spirally goodness.
We left the caves and headed down to Homburg, which rests at the bottom of the hill. Hearing music, we were intrigued by the activities in town and found a classic car show. Somehow, there were classic tractors driving about, too!

We grabbed a tasty lunch at Ilan then headed for home after our full day.

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