Translation by S. A. Fard, Spring 2011
Sunday, April 19, 1914
Discovery Travels in Germany
Year after year nature-loving people hike alone through Germany, their fatherland. Not just in the summer, but the winter has also become a travel season for wealthy people. But still the flow of hikers follows the world renowned routes, specified by the travel books but hallowed by tradition. How very few travelers even think of visiting remote areas along the way, in which they can find beauty of nature, historical memories, affirmation of their knowledge, and other good things. That is why it is pertinent to discover hidden corners and unvisited areas, and to reveal places which have not yet been overrun by tourists. You can also discover areas in our dear fatherland worthy of an honorable sweat. One should stride with walking stick and backpack and have open eyes and warm hearts to take in the attractions of the landscape and history.
One such quiet corner can be found in the German south, more specifically in Odenwald, Odenwald is a famous old mountain area. This German mountain forest, whose name is not derived from Odin, but from the old German name Odo (our Otto), is one of the most wonderful mountain landscapes there is. This is a favorite place for the German fairy tales; here is the scene of the legend of Nibelungs; here a pithy group of people lives in the towns and villages. The much-trodden path of the Bergstrasse is not where we want to lead the readers wandering along with us in their minds. When we take the train from Bensheim to Worms we get off at the first station. This is the ancient market town of Lorsch, the place that Karl the Great built in the early middle ages, with a powerful and influential abbey. In the Chapel of Maria of this abbey the first king of Germany, Ludwig the German, was buried. Today, only the architecturally significant passageway hall stands next to the monastery. Even this place is connected to the Nibelung fairy tale, because Kriemhild went with Siegfried’s corpse to Lorsch. The marketplaces of the ancient cities of Odenwald are very interesting. Michelstadt is a cozy medieval town, where there is a fountain with St. Michael in front of the old gothic town hall made of wood. Michelstadt is also one of Germany’s oldest towns. It was home of one of the treasure chambers of Karl the Great and Louis the Pious gave the 815 biographer of Karl the Great (Charlemagne), the famous Einhard. Very close to Michelstadt lies the castle Fürstenau, the stately built castle from 1270. Fürstenau is the residential seat of the counts of Erbach-Fürstenau. The castle offers a very picturesque scene with its grapevine-sheathed archway through which one can see the castle. For friends of ancient memories, the town of Miltenberg, which is mentioned many times in the Peasants’ War, is of a great interest. This town, which lies on the Main river, has one of Germany’s oldest guest houses. Famous people such as Götz of Berlichingen, Luther, Gustav Adolf, and others stayed at this guest house known as the “Giant”. The original half-timbered houses on the market remind one of the Hildersheimer buildings.
There are jovial people in this intimate little town. And whoever likes some good wine mixers can find them here in abundance. Then, after a pleasant returns to the next large city – it is Darmstadt – and even though he wasn’t in the desert, he finds a camel in the Hessian capital. That’s the strange tree trunk that is shown in one of our photos.
To be continued…
Top: On the Mosel
Middle-left: Marketplace in Michelstadt in the Odenwald
Middle-center: Marketplace in Miltenberg
Middle-right: The “Camel” on “Scheppen-Allee” in Darmstadt
Bottom-left: Fürstenau Palace in Odenwald
Bottom-right: The Gatehouse in Lorsch