Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Allerheiligen, the Mummelsee, and Other Sort-of-Local Goodies

This past weekend Stef and Josh came in from London to hang out and get a little break from the big city life! They rented a car in Frankfurt with the intention of exploring some of the areas around Heidelberg, which is exactly what we did. Josh also got to have some fun zipping around on the Autobahn while there was no traffic at night - but found it to be more nerve-wracking than anything else once we were on the crowded daytime stretches around Karlsruhe.

We spent the first day driving part of the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, up from Baden-Baden to the Mummelsee and the ruins of Allerheiligen. The Mummelsee is central to some of the area mythology and said to be inhabited by water sprites and a king who dragged (drags?) ladies underwater. Scenes from the myth can be seen on a hall in Baden-Baden. It was surprisingly small, more like a pond than a full-fledged lake, and incredibly still and clear! We walked around the perimeter in only a few minutes. It was chilly but the scenery was beautiful, and it was very quiet at this time of year. The Mummelsee comes complete with a super-kitschy gift shop full of witches, cuckoo clocks, dolls with big red balls on their hats, and other Schwarzwald paraphernalia. As you can see in the pictures, I couldn't resist a little piece of Catholic kitsch myself, and Stef and Josh picked up a little set of toys that make a German scene, to match some others they have found!

Schwarzwald, Odenwald, & More Oct 08

We continued on to the ruins of Allerheiligen, a 12th-century monastery in a little valley near a creek, which leads to a huge cascading waterfall! There's also an inn there, some sort of war memorial on a hill, and a few fountains which look like they were built during a very early tourist heyday of the area. (Perhaps back when Mark Twain came through?) The ruins themselves are kind of small, but coming up to them through the woods and seeing the waterfall are more than worth the trip alone.

The following day, we wandered up in the direction of the Odenwald and happened upon a little trailhead on top of a hill somewhere east of Weinheim. We had a nice walk through the meadow with beautiful panoramas of trees, farmland, and villages all around. One of the great things about Germany is the availability walking and biking trails everywhere you go!

On Sunday, Stef and Josh took in the castle, where a clever reporter identified them as Americans and interviewed them about the upcoming election, which is ever-so-appropriate since they have a blog about it. He had them pose next to a big cutout of their preferred candidate and maybe they will be quoted in the Frankfurter Allegemeine next weekend! (Or at least, maybe an interesting translation of their quotes will appear.) Stef is a big fan of the Deutsches Apotheken Museum at the castle, so I join her in urging you not to skip it if you are visiting. It's free with castle admission! After the castle, we took a walk on the Philosophenweg, and then it was time for them to be heading back to London.

After all this travel and friend-time over the last two weeks, I'm feeling ever so grateful for the truly awesome (to be American about it) people in my life. I know I am really lucky. Thanks to all of you for being who you are. :)


  1. What, you didn't take them to Titisee?

    Always good for a titter among english-speakers.

  2. Tee hee! Actually we would have but it's farther south!


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