family and friends in Europe 2015 travel blog

Liz in the copper mine

boy with crystal in Iber

Cullen harbour with vertical stones

Mining and Minerals

It finally rained heavily on our last day in Germany. We have only had great weather. We drove to see some of the mining history of the area. First we went to the Historic Copper Mine near Fishbach. The mine was started in the 1400s and operated continuously until the French took over the area in the late 1700s. The main cavern is really big and it is hard to imagine that this is not a cave made by water; rather it was chipped out inch by inch by small men at a very slow rate. Sometimes they would hit a dead end with no copper that represented two years' work. We took a tour that had about 15 people who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Besides Grammar and me, there were some odd participants: a very old lady wearing patent leather shoes who was supported by two relatives, a small child about two years old who knocked off her helmet and it tumbled to the bottom of the cave; and a small dog. The cave was slippery and had lots of stairs. It was challenging but most interesting. The guide, who did speak English, gave Grammar a copy of her script; so we got all the information.

Next we went to Idar Oberstein. This area is word renowned for beautiful agates and other minerals. It has supported a mineral processing and fine jewelry industry for a very long time. We toured the Deutches Mineralienmuseum and saw fantastic minerals, all sorts: agates, turquoise, citrine, huge quartz crystals, jasperite, onyx, carnelian, obsidian (particularly Snowflake obsidian), giant collections of amethysts, lapis lazuli (although none from Nunavut), opals, etc, etc. We did buy a few things in the local shopss including one nice agate necklace for Grammar from a young designer.

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