Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Snapshots from Germany

I'm in Germany for my mother's 80th birthday and have been collecting photos to show you. This post contains about 60 photos, tomorrow's another 40, of my hometown, Hersbruck. It is located in Franconia (northern Bavaria), about 18 miles from Nuremberg, and has about 12,000 residents. The first mention of Hersbruck in official documents was in 976 but the town may even be older than that.

My mother still lives in the house where she grew up, and where I grew up. I've been gone for many years now, and while a lot of things have changed, some dramatically, others have remained the same. The houses in the town center are mostly unchanged due to laws protecting historical buildings. This corner on the edge of the town center, for example, looks the way it did when I was little--and probably long before:



The tower (Wassertor) is one of three in the fortified wall that used to surround the town. The only way to get into town was through the gates in these three towers. Today, only fragments of the wall remain, but the three towers are still standing.


Built in 1602, the Wassertor is probably the best known landmark in Hersbruck, and one of my favorite sights because of its scenic location on the River Pegnitz:




Here is the Wassertor from other side:



The streets in the center of town are cobbled and narrow--built centuries before cars were invented. Many of them are one-way streets now.





The tower you see in the next photo belongs to Hersbruck Castle.


The structure you see today was built in 1517 on the ruins of a much older fortification dating back to before the year 1000. Hersbruck Castle is now the seat of the municipal court.




On Sunday morning, I parked my car at the Castle and walked all over the town center. Even though I grew up here (and couldn't wait to be old enough to leave), I now view Hersbruck through the eyes of a visitor and I fully appreciate its charms that eluded me when I was young.

One of many houses that are centuries old. According to the inscription, this one was built in 1625.

I photographed the same cracked wall 10 years ago. It's still the same.

Glimpse of the tower of the Stadtkirche

The Stadtkirche is the oldest church in town, dating back to the late 14th century




Star Singer blessing for 2017 written in chalk at the top of the door

The houses right in the town center don't have gardens. But that's no reason not to have plants!

Grapevine climbing up the facade of the house

Window boxes are very popular

Who says dandelions can't be beautiful?

One of the quaintest houses in Hersbruck


Now we're in heart of town. This is Lower Market Square:


My favorite building because of its unusual stair-step roof


Glimpse of City Hall



Upper Market Square, dominated by the Rathaus (City Hall) dating to the early 15th century:



The yellow building on the left in the next photo is the N├╝rnberger Tor (built in 1444), the second tower in the old wall:


This is the Deutsches Hirtenmuseum, Germany's only museum dedicated to shepherding:



In the Middle Ages and beyond, a fortified wall surrounded the entire town center. Today, only a small section is left:


I love walking through this narrow alleyway:



Outdoor seating area of the Blaues Haus, a restaurant located next to the old wall


A narrow greenbelt adjacent to the old wall offers a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle:






Proof you can garden in very little space:


The oldest tower is the Spitaltor, originally built in 1425:





The Spitaltor is named after the hospital that was built right next to it in 1400.

The church below is the Spitalkirche, dating to the 15th century as well:



More vignettes of Hersbruck's historic town center:








You don't need to be fancy to beautify your house with flowers:


Weather note: It's unseasonably cool, and everything is a good month behind. Some trees are just now leafing out while others had their buds frozen by a cold snap a few weeks ago. Out of the six days I've been here now, only one has been bright and sunny. I tend to forget how blessed we are with the weather in California! (I looked it up: Hersbruck is zone 6b vs. 9b for Davis, CA.)

20 comments:

  1. I've been waiting for this since I saw the Instagram shots, and it didn't disappoint! "Hustle and Bustle..." hehe.

    Were you up at 5 AM in order to get photos without residents (for the most part)? :)

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    1. Not quite. I took most of these photos between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. No hustle and bustle then, that's for sure. It's quite different at other times of day/week.

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  2. Following your posts on FB too and enjoying all your pics!

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    1. Thanks! It was a good motivation to go out and take some pictures.

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  3. Absolutely lovely! The photos of your home town give a whole new meaning to the words 'quaint' and 'picturesque' for me in the best possible way. As always, thank you.

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  4. Thank you for sharing your historical and wonderful home town with us. Hersbruck is truly lovely and I'm in awe of so many old buildings preserved so well.

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    1. And Hersbruck is just one of many lovely small towns in Bavaria and elsewhere.

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  5. Thank you for the extended look at your hometown. I've enjoyed the FB photos but this takes it all up a few notches. Has you mom ever wanted to leave? Or has she always been "firmly planted" there?

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    1. No, my mom would never have left. My brother might have at some point in his life, but not now. In general, people tend to stay put much more than they do here in the States.

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  6. Wow!!! These are wonderful photos Gerhard. I love how they maintain their buildings. I have only been to Nuremberg and loved all the streets, building and people are very friendly. Can't wait to see the next post.

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    1. Nuremberg is fantastic. To think so many old buildings had to be rebuilt because they were destroyed or damaged in WWII.

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  7. I loved the photos of the river running through the town. Having been born and raised in SoCal, where there is little history to be found in buildings, the oldest of which are far more likely to be leveled to make way for newer models than preserved, seeing structures this old feels like a journey into the past.

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    1. It's quite a culture shock coming back, even after just a week in Germany!

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  8. Brings back so many memories! So nice to see all those places again. Lovely.

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  9. Thank you for this great tour of your beautiful and historic hometown. My hometown is Los Angeles-quite the contrast! I couldn't help but notice how clean the city center is. I imagine tourism is a big industry there ? Is this a bedroom community to any major metropolis ? Really looking forward to the next installment .

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    1. Nuremberg is less than 20 miles away. There are direct trains from Hersbruck to Nuremberg that take less than 20 minutes. A lot of commuters take the train.

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  10. I'm guessing the house you grew up in had a garden. Did your parents garden? Would be cool to see a photo of it.

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    1. A very small garden. But my mom has always loved plants. Her window sills are full of plants even now (mostly orchids and succulents).

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