Beau March 31st, 2007
The answer to the previous post’s question? The bird is a European Blue Tit, Parus caeruleus seen in the town of Bad Windsheim, Germany. The link takes you to a “Birds of Britain” site only because it provided a good description of the bird… but this week I’ve been enjoying the hospitality of southern Germany in a quick tour of the region.
I flew into Frankfurt last week, and have spent the time staying with relatives in Bad Windsheim. With a trusty GPS navigator we have driven many kilometers through the countryside, visiting beautiful small towns, forests and incredible mountains near the Bavarian Alps. In a few days I will return to Fox Haven… and I find much in common between the land and forests of Missouri and Germany.
In fact, the region in which we live in Missouri was settled not only by early American pioneers, but also English, French and German immigrants. The German immigrants came to our area in the early 1800’s, and now I can understand why. Here are a few pictures… I don’t have the time to share them all, but it has been a wonderful trip. And the food and drink! Let’s just say I have gained a few pounds… and enjoyed every moment.
I visited a wonderful old township called Rothenberg ob der Tauber… “on the Tauber river” and very famous for tourists and historical appreciation of the architecture and early life in the region. The city walls can be seen from a distance.
Outside the city walls on the other side of Rothenberg… if you look closely you can see a face above the walls and inside the gate.
The community of Bad Windsheim was very nice, and the diversity of food was excellent. I had several excellent meals of traditional German fare with meats of ham, pork and sausage, as well as dumplings, potatoes and sour kraut. I also enjoyed a fast food version of the gyro called a Doner Kebap at a roadside stand… the lines were long for this specialty. Not necessarily German, but certainly part of the culture today, and delicious!
The architecture of the homes, villages and historic buildings was remarkable. The Easter season is here and the decorations were really nice. This fountain is decorated with eggs and greenery for Easter.
Another example of the wonderful architecture. What was nice to see was that there were many smaller towns and villages, each with stores, restaurants and guest houses as well as a local church.
The pride of ownership for both homes and land was very evident… the forests and farms were well tended everywhere you looked. This is certainly the country… I didn’t visit larger cities, but preferred the more pastoral scenes. Today we visited the Castle of Colmberg and had dinner- it was excellent. The castle dates from the 14th century with a rich history. I didn’t get a good picture of the castle itself, but looking from the castle walls was a nice view of the community of Colmberg.
We began a two-day trip by driving to Triberg in the Black Forest. Among other things Triberg is the “Cuckoo Clock capital” of the region. I’ll put a cuckoo clock on my future wish list… but I wasn’t prepared to purchase one yet. We met a “master wood carver” who recommended the type of clock to buy, and have his contact information to special order one when the time comes. Triberg is a beautiful village and tourist destination nestled in the forest and hills. Dinner that night was my favorite of the trip, finished of course with genuine Black Forest cake! We went to the Triberg Waterfalls, and saw the water cascading down among the moss covered rocks.
The forests around the area were enchanting, and no wonder that many of Grimm’s Fairy Tales originated in the Black Forest region.
After a wonderful meal, we continued driving… this time at night heading east and winding our way along the southern border region. I didn’t really know where we were… we used the GPS system and drove under the moonlight. But it was relaxing and I know the scenery must be amazing in the daylight. We briefly drove through Austria, with the moonlit Alps reaching to the sky, and finally arriving at Garmische to spend the night. I awoke early the next morning to a breathtaking view of a few surrounding mountains in the Bavarian Alps. Since it was dark the night before, I was literally surprised by the view…
The shops and market area was very nice… I bought some bread to bring home! I really liked the murals and paintings on the buildings at Garmische. So much to see and we only spent a short visit.
There was much more of course, but in 5-6 days I saw as much as I could. If time and situation allows, we will certainly return for another visit, perhaps longer. If you are ever planning a trip to Europe, I certainly recommend visiting the wonderful sights and relaxed atmosphere of southern Germany. The roads are in great shape, and easy to drive and navigate. I didn’t take the trains, as driving was simpler and not expensive. Next week, it’s back to Fox Haven!