Thursday, July 12, 2007

Heidelbergerin im Odenwald

On Sunday, the awesome Piera and Gregor and their kids took us along on a little trip through some of the Odenwald! We have been wanting to explore it some more for a while, and they have a car which makes it much faster to get around because the area is rural. Gregor had already explored a lot of the area by bike, so he picked out some interesting places for us all to visit.

After leaving their place in Weinheim, we first stopped in Lindenfels, a small town up on a hill with its own small castle ruin. All around the castle was a garden path with detailed labels on all the flowers. Inside was a courtyard with a little stage. (In fact we saw some signs around town advertising a concert taking place in there, complete with great after-school-special band names like Musty Basement!) They also had a couple of interested old buildings (other than the castle) and two old town gates. We had a little picnic in the courtyard and then continued on.

We next drove to and parked in a tiny town called Winterkasten. From there it was a very short hike up the second highest hill in the Odenwald to the Kaiserturm, a tower with a great 360-degree view of the Odenwald and beyond. We arrived in the midst of a celebration of the 100th birthday of the Kaiserturm, complete with food, drink, old guys playing tuba and seven-year-olds dancing with pompons. We cut through the crowd to climb the Turm and the view was really amazing, even despite the semi-cloudy weather! We could make out the towers on top of the Heidelberg Kaiserstuhl in one direction, and the Frankfurt skyline and beyond to the Taunus in the other direction. Very cool!

After walking back to Winterkasten we continued on by car to a nearby park called the Felsenmeer, or Rock Sea. The area is full of giant naturally-occurring "seas" of big rocks. The Romans once used it as a quarry (the area's also called Roman Rocks) and apparently one can find rocks that they carved and left behind. Piera's daughter is the only one of us who found one, though! She said it had a Roman numeral IV carved into it. The place was really like a giant playground, though naturally conducive to injury...we heard a few kids falling and crying. They weren't really injured, although there was a sign on way in reminding everyone of the emergency phone number!

Our final stop was a quick look at the old town of Bensheim. Damon and I were there in May when we did a hike from Heppenheim to Bensheim, but we'd been tired and not really seen any of it. The old town was full of very nicely cared-for and painted half-timber buildings, plus a brand-new kids' playground. It was a quick stop since everyone was getting tired, so we headed back to Weinheim to eat. Thanks again, Piera and Gregor, for being so awesome and taking us along for the ride!

Does this not look totally idyllic? Check out the photos:

Odenwald Jul 07


  1. Unbelievable - I live just 1 or 2 km from the Kaiserturm. And - believe it or not - we were at the Felsenmeer on Sunday! I was going to post pictures, I just haven't gotten around to it though.

    I doubt we were there at the same time, though; we were at the Felsenmeer from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or so.

    You didn't see any Roman-carved-rocks? I'll definitely post pictures - they were all over the place, maybe you just didn't know what to look for.

  2. P.S. did you see the huge black slugs with the white racing stripe at the Felsenmeer? I took a picture especially for you :-). I swear they were over 6 inches long, and they were all over the place.

  3. That's another reason I like Europe. The layers of history have built up reasons to celebrate one anniversary or historic even or another practically every place you go. We've stumbled upon street festivals, colourful ceremonies, bands playing, you name it. Don't even have to plan in advance most of the time, it's just happening around you.

  4. Martina: Great photos you put up! Yeah I didn't see any, but admit I didn't get around much on the rocks. I didn't see the slugs either....but dang, they're HUGE!

    Sara: right on!

    Ian: Isn't it great? Germans are just so used to it though that they basically ignore it :/


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