Thursday, October 12, 2017

Touching History in Schwäbisch Hall Rathaus

When we were in Schwäbisch Hall we visited the Rathaus
 (a town hall not a house of rats.) 
I was drawn to this beautiful staircase off to the side of the main hall. 


I would have LOVED to have gotten closer and even gone up the steps 
to check out the view looking down. 
But when you are traveling with 11 other family members for the day
 you have to snap and run. 
(Which really means I have to return alone someday.) 


We received a personalized tour from my husband's cousin Johannes. 
(Technically a first-cousin-once-removed for those who like those details.) 

And who better to have led the tour than the artisan who worked on 
the gold leaf adorning the statues in the hall? 
Yes. Johannes is a retired artisan and teacher of the arts. 

The Schwäbisch Hall Crest 

Johannes was pretty amazing while touring us around hilly Schwäbisch Hall. 
He had just had knee replacement surgery and more often than not 
he was carrying his crutches or someone much younger was holding them for him. 
He is also knowledgable in History 
and has a great sense of humor. 

The detail inside the Rathaus was beautiful. 
I loved that while it serves as a modern government building 
you still sense the awe of history inside. 

Speaking of history, before leaving for Germany, 
I read a true story called The Burgermeister's Daughter by Steve Ozement. 
It tells the tale of a legal struggle between a father and daughter in the 16th century 
that happened right here in Schwäbisch Hall. 

Reading the book gave me a deeper appreciation while walking through 
these buildings knowing something of the people 
who frequented them so long ago. 

Front view of the Rathaus from St. Michael's Church

I loved Schwäbisch Hall - 
so much more than I anticipated! 
Yes, a return trip is definitely on the Bucket List. 

Shooting target from 1802 or 1803 showing Württemberg soldiers parading in front of the town hall of Schwäbisch Hall. Württemberg peacefully occupied and annexed that city in 1802. Like nearly all the other free Imperial cities, Hall lost its independence in the course of the German mediatization of 1802-1803. Wikepedia

My first post on Schwäbisch Hall is here 
and more images can be viewed here

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Discovering John Roebling's Bridge

Apparently it is a big deal to be a Roebling Bridge.  

I had never heard of John A. Roebling until a recent 
stop to take some pictures. 

A woman who lived nearby pointed out 
that the bridge I was photographing was a "Roebling Bridge." 
And sure enough, that's what the plaque says. 

John Roebling immigrated from Prussia to where he settled in Western Pennsylvania. 
He designed and built wire rope suspension bridges. 
His most notable achievement is the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. 


Ya never know what you'll learn from taking pictures. 

More pictures of the bridge and surround area are here

Monday, October 9, 2017

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

And Then There Was Schwäbisch Hall

The Kocher River in Schwäbisch Hall

On our recent trek to Germany 
I was completely unprepared to fall in love with Schwäbisch Hall. 
And I almost don't want to tell you about it - 
and keep it my secret. 

Schwäbisch Hall is breathtaking. 

Schwäbisch Hall, or Hall as it is commonly called, 
sits along the Kocher River in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  
Just south of Hall, in the small village of Ottendorf, is where my husband's family is from. 
Meeting family is why we visited Hall. 
But Hall is definitely worth your visit even with no family to meet. 

Original watch towers still exist.

Hall is like a medieval village frozen in time 
and most travel guide books barely mention it - if at all. 
So it is definitely off-the-beaten tourist path. 

St Michael's Church.
The animals are fake and props for the outdoor theater. 

What put Hall on the historical maps 
was the salt springs (now spas), 
the mint providing currency throughout Europe,  
and St Michael Church's role in the reformation. 

The Rathaus with the seating for the theater in the foreground. 

Hall does have some tourism due to
 an outdoor summer theater that takes places on the 53 steps 
leading up to St. Michael's Church 
and the salt springs feeding a spa.  
Hall also attracts students to the Goethe Institute branch located there. 

This property is owned by my husband's family and was purchased c1940.
The property from where I am standing has been in the family for centuries and has a similar look
but is undergoing rennovations. 
Old meets new.  Renovations must be historically accurate. 

One branch of my husband's family settled in Hall. 
There they were originally leather workers. 
We were able to tour the old home and see where the leather was tanned. 

St. Michel's Church at night

Today, the family still owns that home as well as the property they purchased across the street 
where they operate a high end interior design business. 


Hall has everything I love. 
If big time night life is more your style 
then Hall might not be for you. 

Nothing says history like sword marks in the church wall where soldiers blessed their swords for safety before going to battle. 

But if you love history, architecture and off-the-beaten-path quaint villages 
Hall will be right up your alley. 

From the tower of St. Michael's Church

I cannot even say how much I loved this place and hope to return someday. 

On the balcony of our hotel overlooking Hall and the Kocher River. Sigh. 

Map of Germany showing Schwäbisch Hall