As if it wasn’t hard enough not to have been jealous of the eternally iconic Elvis Presley, when you factor his ties to the German town of Grafenwöhr — it just makes it worse.
We know that Elvis was a Good Ol’ Southern Boy from the Deep South in the United States, so what’s this got to do with this charming Bavarian town?
Um, in case you didn’t know, Elvis Presley was stationed here in Grafenwöhr during his stint in the United States Army.
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Didn’t know that Elvis was in the Army? Didn’t know that the U.S. Army had a base here in Grafenwöhr? It’s OK, I’ll tell you all about it, and then some. ;-)
FYI, Grafenwöhr is home to a United States Cavalry Regiment, a Brigade Combat Team, and don’t do anything naughty ’cause Military Police are here too.
Grafenwöhr is a lot older than you might realize. Although military and combat training have only been going on since World War I. Besides that, Grafenwöhr has been (and still has) many farms — retaining its agricultural feel. Which are surrounded by the most picturesque forests and hills, by the way.
Jealous of Elvis that he got to spend some time here?
Within Elvis’ Grafenwöhr, you’ll see the old medieval Stadtmauer (from the 15th century), which is the same century that saw the building of the town’s Rathaus on the Marktplatz. 1462, to be exact.
A century later, Grafenwöhr saw the construction of the Cemetery Church of St. Ursula.
And in keeping with the whole military tradition, Grafenwöhr holds an annual German/American Volksfest on the first weekend of August. Besides barbeque foods of the German and American varieties, you’ll get to see huge tanks and anti-tank helicopters. It’s every little boy’s dream day.
Can’t make it to the party? Don’t worry, you can go to the Oberpfälzer Kultur- und Militärmuseum (Upper Palatinate Culture & Military Museum) instead. I know, it doesn’t beat a hot dog or cheeseburger, but enjoy this historical old building anyway. ;-)
Anyone wanting a quieter activity, then I’d say go to the Friedenskirche (Peace Church; white & tall, you can’t miss it), Church of the Assumption a.k.a. Maria Himmelfahrt (with its Lourdes Grotto), and the Waldnaabtal — which they even gave the badge of a Wundergarten, or Miracle Garden.
Or, you could just find a hiking trail, slap on a good Elvis song on the iPod (Love Me Tender or Suspicious Minds to name a couple).
Drats — I really am jealous of Elvis, he got to live here for a while — and I have to go. I only hope where I’m headed to next is just as wonderful…