Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy said she never understood why everyone would tell her she needed to visit Europe, that is, until she made her first trip to Washington’s Sister City Marbach am Neckar, Germany, earlier this month.
Lucy and her husband Gary Lucy traveled with several members of the Washington Volunteer Fire Department to Marbach May 1. The Marbach fire department was celebrating its 150th anniversary.
“It was an unbelievable visit,” Lucy said. “The people of Marbach opened their homes and their town and they were happy to have visitors from their sister city.”
It was Lucy’s first trip abroad.
In many ways, Lucy said, Marbach and Washington are similar. They are a similar size, both are riverfront towns and both are civic and culturally minded, she said.
The Marbach fire department hosted the group.
“The hospitality was beyond amazing,” she said. “They took care of our every need.”
“I always knew that the Sister City relationship with Marbach was important to Washington. When we got there, it really showed how important the people of Marbach think it is too,” Lucy said, adding that she encourages students and adults of the community to make the trip if they have the opportunity.
Lucy spent a day with the burgermeister, or mayor, of Marbach, though it wasn’t their first time meeting. Mayor Herbert Poetzsch had visited Washington to celebrate the 20th year of the sister city partnership.
Lucy said the people of Marbach really think highly of their mayors. Unlike in the United States, a burgermeister’s term is eight years long and the mayor also serves as the city administrator.
One thing Lucy said she really loved about the trip was seeing the heritage in Germany.
“It was one of those wonderful moments in life when you really reflected on your historic background, but also see it in action,” she said. “Their personalities were just like those of the people of Washington.”
Being in Marbach, Lucy said, felt comfortable, even at the fire department celebration.
There were close to 400 people who attended the fire department celebration, she said.
Washington Fire Chief Bill Halmich was one of the guest speakers at the event.
“He did an outstanding job,” Lucy said. “The Washington fire department was represented quite admirably. I was very proud of them and very proud to be there with them.”
During the trip, Lucy visited the Marbach Museum of Modern Literature with writings from all over Germany, saw the civic orchestra perform, attended a high school talent show, toured museums and visited the grounds of a castle in Ludwigsburg. She also took a day trip to Stuttgart.
Lucy visited the Schiller Museum in Marbach, with works of Friedrich Schiller, an author, poet and playwrite.
Lucy said the literature museum was “fascinating” and complete with ink on paper manuscripts. The museum showed the process of how the works were put into publication and had biographies of each of the authors.
The most memorable aspect of the trip, she said, was the hospitality extended to the group.
“We just felt so welcomed and comfortable,” she said.
Lucy said she would love to go back to Marbach.
After the five-day trip, the mayor and her husband took a weeklong trip to Paris, where they visited Louvre Museum, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Palace of Versailles, the Musée d’Orsay, as well as other art attractions. They also visited the home of Monet in Giverny.
They returned to Washington Sunday, May 13.