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A Weekend in the Country

May 8 and 9

Finished May 16


Friends and Families ,

Our New Year's resolution to travel every month has been seriously compromised. It is now the fifth month of 2010 and we have been to just two destinations, Cologne and Munich. Of course I go to Frankfurt every week, but that doesn't count. Even if we count Marianne's trip to California we are falling behind.

This weekend, we added a trip to places no one knows about, at least none of our friends know about them. We decided to head west, but not very far. In fact, we started with a visit to the carpenter who built the office shelves because his village, Dachsbach, was hosting an art exhibit. (website) It turned out to be pretty dull. Although HIS work is still impressive, the other art and crafts in the three venues were not exceptional. Actually, the art and crafts were bad, just poorly displayed and not exceptionally good. That's why there are no pictures.

After that stop, we headed over to our favorite potter, near the famous tourist town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. We were in the market for a bowl to replace one Marianne broke this morning and we succeeded. We also considered another large planting pot for our almost-finished back yard, but the prices were just a bit over our budget. Nice pieces, but we don't need $400 pots.

We had considered staying Saturday evening in Rothenburg,. We actually like the place, even with all the foreign tourists. However, we felt adventurous and headed over to the town of Weikersheim, still on the Tauber River, and on the "Romantic Road", but smaller.

The drive down the river valley was very pleasant and we managed to check out a not-everyday museum. We saw a small sign advertising a Fire Brigade Museum in the village of Waldmannshofen, near Creglingen. We assumed it would be a few hundred yards off the highway, but instead we drove over hill and dale looking for something special. The farmland was pleasant enough, but the museum was several miles off the beaten path. When we finally reached the museum, we discovered it was quite extensive, in a nice old castle, and pretty boring - at least to Marianne. (I liked it, but I'm easy when it comes to ancient machines and odd-ball museums.) Look at our pictures and make your own decision. (You can even visit the museum website, if you want to practice German.)

From here we went to Weikersheim, where we had reservations at the Hotel Laurentius. It is located right on the town square and, after some confusion over where we could park, we found it to be pleasant and convenient. The restaurant was very good too, even though we opted for the less-formal "bistro", versus the fancy restaurant in the cellar.

Weikersheim was hosting a garden show this weekend in the gardens of the Weikersheim Palace ("Schloss"). Since we were far from home, we managed to avoid new plant purchases, but it was tempting. Mostly, the Palace itself was a wonderful attraction. Our pictures are here .

After a pleasant hotel breakfast, where Marianne got some pointers on homemade jams and jellies, we headed down the valley of the Tauber River. The Spring weather was holding out and it was nice to be going through the green-hills. Since it was Sunday, we stopped at Holy Cross church in Gerlachsheim, a district of Lauda-Königstein. This was not really a destination as much as a discovery. The decorations inside, particularly the 1738 high altar, were as elaborate as we have seen in these German-Catholic churches. Pictures.

From Gerlachsheim it was a short drive to Tauberbischosheim. Another quaint and picturesque village in the Tauber Valley. We saw the required church and square, but the best part was the Tauberfränkisches Landschaftsmuseum. ("Landschaft" is about equal to "local" or "folk"). Marianne was initially skeptical, because these village folk museums often have just some old furniture, farm implements, and pottery shards from the long-buried Roman settlements.

In Tauberbischofsheim, it was different. The material in the 19 displays rooms did indeed come from the local area, but it was a wonderful collection of everyday things from the last few centuries. There were both ancient royal hunting rifles and peasant painted cupboards. Everything was accessible and we could look up close. The docent said that most items had been donated over the years but it was a collection worthy of a high-budget museum. Definitely a must-see.

(I have looked for an English-language web site to give more background, but only found pages in German. Definitely a sign that we were off the beaten path - worth the detour.)

We left the Landschaftsmuseum around noon and continued up the valley toward Frankfurt, my work destination for the next day. Just a few miles (or "kilometers", if we need to stay in character) we came across yet another church, this time an 12th Century cloister in the village of Bronnbach. I suppose we should have been done with churches by now, but the cloister buildings looked attractive enough and, besides, we saw a sign that said "Kafe und Kuchen", "coffee and cake", and starting lunch with dessert seemed like a good idea.

The bad news was that the outdoor coffee cafe only served in good weather and today didn't qualify. However, since we had stopped, we paid our two euros each to look around the cloister buildings. The docent unlocked the door, let us in, and told us to ring the bell when we wanted out. I wonder if the original monks had a bell they could ring? In any event, we had the buildings almost to ourselves and we managed yet more pictures. (My favorite is the reflecting water basin on page 8, inspired by the art on display in one of the cloister rooms.)

Wikipedia (German but good graphics.)

From here it was almost direct to my home-away-from-home, the Best Western Hotel in Offenbach. We did stop in Michelsberg, one more quaint, German village, but we'd been there before and I think we had gone over our quaintness quotient. German drives can do that to you.

But, if you come to visit, ask to see any of them and we'll take you there. I guess we still like this stuff!


John and Marianne.


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