More snapshots from Germany
My previous post showed you the sights in the historic center of Hersbruck, my hometown in northern Bavaria. This post ventures outside the town center and covers areas a little farther afield.
The best panoramic view of Hersbruck is from the Michelsberg, the 388 m (1278 ft) hill north of downtown. I will never get tired of this sight:
|Town center, with Hersbruck Castle in the back and City Hall and the Stadtkirche on the right|
The photos above were taken from the terrace of the restaurant that sits on top of the hill. This is what it looks like from below:
|Spectacular linden tree, just leafing out|
The restaurant parking lot also offers panoramic views looking north. This is Altensittenbach, the part of town where I grew up:
I'm constantly amazed at how green everything is!
The timing was right to see rapeseed fields in full bloom:
Rapeseed is the third largest source of vegetable oil in the world (what we call "canola oil" in the U.S. is made from rapeseed).
My mother's neighbor has quite an assortment of things in his front yard:
This part of town still has many old farm buildings. Most, if not all, of them are protected and cannot be altered.
This is the church where I was baptized and where my wife and I got married:
It's just up the street from my mother's house. In fact, it seems closer now than it did when I was a child. Funny how your perception of size and distance changes as you get older.
The church was completely renovated not long ago and looks better than I've ever seen it.
As we were walking around the cemetery, I was joking that quite a few graves had nicer plants than many front yards around town.
This is where I spotted my first agave on this Germany trip:
Yes, it's just a tiny pup, but it's an agave nonetheless. I have no idea which species.
Sempervivums are commonly seen on graves because they're extremely hardy and can get by with very little water. I suspect dew might be enough to keep them alive.
Communal watering cans for folks taking care of the graves in the cemetery:
Across the way from the cemetery is a restored farmhouse with a fully functional wood-fired oven:
|I wonder if they still bake bread here?|
Right next door is the neighborhood's haunted house:
It's been many years since this house was lived in. It's total disrepair now, but since it's protected as a listed building, structural modifications are either impossible or cost-prohibitive. As happens all too often, the heirs aren't able to fix it up, so it continues to degrade.
The front door was wide open, so we snuck inside. There was a lot of junk, disintegrating pieces of furniture, even an old record player. Except for the broken window below, nothing was all that photogenic, just sad.
This house on the other side of the cemetery is about to suffer a similar fate. Its elderly owner has died, and now it's for sale. The restrictions imposed on listed buildings are so strict that few people are willing to deal with such a potential money pit. When I was young, a great aunt of mine lived in a small apartment downstairs. I have fond memories of her and the house, and I hope it can be saved.
Speaking of relatives: Another great aunt owned the house below when I was a child. I spent a lot of time there. The house wasn't as nice then, but the garden seemed enormous. Now it's just a regular garden--neither small nor large.
This is where I had my second agave sighting on this trip. Two rather forlorn-looking agave pups, species unknown, but at least somebody there likes agaves. Maybe the family that lives in this house now is also responsible for the agave pup I spotted at the cemetery earlier?
My great aunt's old house from the side. The walkway is for foot traffic only; it's much too narrow for vehicles.
|Weeping willow and war memorial|
|Creek with newly leaved out beech trees|
I hope you enjoyed this trip back to my roots. I had fun exploring my old stomping grounds through the eyes of a tourist. Contrary to what I had expected, I didn't feel wistful or melancholic. That must mean that my real home now is back in California.