Stuttgart to Ulm
The summer was hot, very hot for parts of Europe. It was 2003 when we visited some friends who live near Stuttgart, Germany. What we now call smartphones were emerging and most digital cameras left a lot to be desired, so any photographs were taken with a 35mm camera.
Our friends live in a suburb of Stuttgart named Degerloch. The trip only lasted a week and a lot of ground was covered in 100+ degree heat. I include it here because I wonder how much it has changed, a lot can happen in 14 years. This is what it was like then.
We often see houses as we travel, but rarely know what lies behind façade. Here I am (hardly any grey hair then) with Theo and Gerhard. Theo (on the left) used to be the Chaplain for hotels and restaurants in this region of Germany. Gerhard is an historian and author in the Swabian dialect of German. The photo above was taken behind his house. The structure itself has been his family home for over 700 years.
Stuttgart's clean as a whistle (most of the country is). For the entire week we were in Germany, we only saw 3 pieces of litter (compare that to thousands of pieces in the first few minutes back in London, we really noticed the differencejust a little bit).
Theo and his wife hosted us while there and Degerloch was very quiet. A lot of the photo's are buried somewhere (I don't know where), so for some stuff mentioned there is no image. Quite a lot was seen in the Stuttgart area and the journey took us to his wife's hometown of Langenau. It was there I had a couple of nice surprises. There was a large store where you could buy one nail or a brand new Combine harvester. Old type hardware stores don't exist anymore, not like that one. Plus the graveyard. I mentioned it in the Not among the living post about three years ago. It was kind of nostalgic, seeing all the familiar names on the gravestones.
A day trip to Tubingen was on the cards, so off we all went. The university there was involved in the Protestant Reformation and is one of the main universities in Germany. Wandering around the town was relaxing.
One day Theo asked if I liked trout. Oh yeah. Having been the Chaplain to all the restaurants in the area, he knew exactly where to take us. Off we went, into the Black Forest and gorged ourselves on a fantastic trout lunch. Then spent hours walking in the forest.
Beyond Tubingen is Ulm. The main thing there is Ulm Minster. It has the highest church steeple in the world. If you're brave and can manage the hundreds of steps, you can still go up part of it. Inside is something else. Not only the incredible woodwork but also this huge organ. While there a Bach fugue was being played, but only at low volume nowadays. The organ is so big that loud bass vibrations could bring the whole building down (it is many hundreds of years old and crumbling after all).
We sat across the square and had a snack, watching people ascend the steeple steps. I'm not really into church buildings, but the carvings were quite impressive, I'd never seen anything like that before and the workmanship was excellent. What else does Ulm have? Try a really nice brown beer and a lot of tourists.
All things considered, it wasn't a bad trip. Today I would do things differently, but back then it was a nice break from filthy London.
Jul 16, 2017
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