Did you know that St Albans has been twinned with the city of Worms, in Germany, since 1957? It is a thriving partnership, with groups exchanging visits annually for the last 25 years.

Although there are earlier examples, town twinning was largely set up after the 2nd World War, with the aim of bringing about peace and reconciliation.

In August, my family joined others from St Albans who travelled to Worms to celebrate the Backfischfest, a popular annual festival. Several German families kindly offered hospitality, and we were hosted by a wonderful couple, Fritz and Irene. We knew little about them before we arrived, but hit it off instantly.

The next few days were a whirlwind of events: the opening ceremony for the festival, the parade, enjoying the big wheel at the funfair and sampling the local wines. In between, we spent happy hours chatting with our hosts and going out for traditional food with them. Fritz taught my daughter to bake German plum cake and Irene and I shared our love of creativity and sewing.

Eva is employed in Worms as an official city guide and kindly gave up a morning to show us around the historical centre. Her knowledge was incredible, and the tour had a deep impact on us. We visited a church bombed during the war, the beautiful cathedral and the poignant Jewish cemetery. We heard stories from throughout history of devastation, repair and reconciliation.

The Bible reminds us to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels. I doubt our hosts felt we were angels, but the deep warmth of their welcome reflected those early goals of the European union.