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Antiques and Toy Trains

October 10 , 2005



Dear Friends and Families,


It seems like everything we do lately has to do with the house project but sometimes "house-related" expands to "tourism", to a degree. On this particular Sunday, we went off to find an antique fair that Mr. Blei, our old fireplace source, had told us about. It was supposed to be in Alte Buseck or Oberbusek or Busek, three villages not far from the Sommersmuehle farm. The directions were a bit vague, but how hard could it be?

Despite a road-construction detour, we drove to where we were sure we had been told to head. After some searching around, we found a building that matched the se=description, but it said, in German of course, "Toy and Game Museum". Inside, we discovered that our couple euro admission was all inclusive; a Count Dracula exposition, antique furniture sales booths, local history displays, and a huge area of model trains. There must be a theme here, but we couldn't determine it.

The Count Dracula thing was not worth it's share of our 2 euros. Maybe because we'd seen Dracula's original castle, this small, dark room just didn't cut it. Besides, his name was Vlad the Impaler, not Dracula and he was Hungarian/Romanian, not German.


A highlight of the local history display was an array of Giessen postcards. It was fun to see that this used to be a pretty tourist destination. Nowadays, it's OK. but more a working town than a tourist attraction. Nevertheless, so far, our 2 euros were ill-spent.

The next highlight was a house project I think we could handle - a camping tent trailer. Maybe this was worth another 20 cents. The best history display may have been this old pick-up truck. The size made me wonder how these things morphed into the monsters we see in America. I think I like old and small. (The truck. The truck. I'm talking about the truck!)


As for the antiques, we discovered that this was not the best weekend. Next weekend, we were told, there would be more (so we did in fact come back). But, for today, we had a few possibilities.

We had actually seen pictures of this "schrunk" or cabinet. Mr Blei's father had seen it and thought we might like it. We didn't. It was close, but not quite right and not a bargain to boot. There will always be another one.

This carved sideboard was very interesting. It was part of the museum display, so I suppose not for sale but we could still take inspiration. This small farm table was for sale, according to or memories, about the right size for our farm kitchen. We thought about it for a week, but then tried to sit at it an discovered that it would only fit very small people. That doesn't work for us.


However, the piece-de-resistance for the Alte Buseck Toy and Game Museum was the model trains and cars room. There were perhaps a half-dozen separate track sets, with the largest probably fifty feet (15 meters) from end to end. Most of the train worlds were works in progress with mountains and towns still under development. These were not toys for kids, or at least not kids under 30.

This train set had a harbor, downtown, suburbs, etc. It was pretty impressive and the little trains kept up their relentless shuttle from edge town to burb to harbor and back again.

One set was all-American. I swear I could almost place the town the German creators had tried to reproduce. Maybe, around the train tracks, they all look alike.

The detail on this very German train station was fun. We could almost hear the travelers' "Auf Wiedersehen".


So, in the end, the Toy and Game museum was well worth the price of admission. Maybe it will never be in Fodor's or Rick Steve's tour books, but, if you find yourself in Buseck (Alte, Unter-, or plain), do drop in.


John and Marianne


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