See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bamberg and outdoor frescoes

Bamberg, Germany. Exterior frescoes. 
Bamberg is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See; and The US Army has a garrison here, with a fine homepage to orient newcomers at

The cathedral and square are in the Old Town. These sections are often up a substantial hill. When lost in an old city, aim for the high ground. Just keep driving up. Cathedrals, main squares, often there to facilitate defense.

The City is proud of its beer-brewing tradition - beginning at monasteries in the 10th Century. And for its outdoor frescoes, on the sides of entire buildings, look at this sample on the riverside . For more on frescoes, this technique of painting on wet (or dry) plaster, that lasts for centuries if done right (also done indoors), see

Bamberg is also among the cities of Germany cited by the Jewish traveler-scholar, Benjamin of Tudela, from Tudela, Spain, travels 1165-1173.  See On the Road to Paradise, article focusing on the Baghdad experience of Benjamin of Tudela, and the tolerance, wisdom and mercy of the cultural leaders there at the time, Archeology Odyssey magazine.m May-June 2000, see  The travels are online at The Travels of Benjamin of Tudela,  He wrote a hundred years before Marco Polo left for China.  He traveled 2000 miles, visited more than 300 cities.  His book is entitled, Sefer ha Massa'ot, or The Book of Travels.

Medieval Jewish communities of scholars, families, all on good terms with each other and their neighbors, are noted by Benjamin of Tudela on the Moselle River, including "Coblence, Andernach, Kaub, Kartania, Bingen, Worms, and Mistran." Then, " [along the] Rhine, from Cologne, where the empire commences, unto Cassanburg, the frontier of Germany, which is fifteen days' journey, and is called Ashkenas by the Jews."  Travels at p. 425.  Ashkenazi.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Regensburg: The Pope in 2006; and the oldest sausage place in Germany

Regensburg, Germany. Oldest sausage stand in the world!
Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See Here is the Goliath House - huge outdoor fresco - see

The Pope was here in 2006 and Muslims took note. Read the Pope's speech at,,1873277,00.

Regensburg boasts a sausage establishment said to have started out when the 11th century bridge, just behind, was being constructed - to help feed the workers. Excellent sausage still served, beginning at 10AM when we were there. Began to fill up as we left. Added them to an already splendid breakfast. See

For sausage, see

Monday, November 20, 2006

Altotting - Black Madonna; Plague Fountain; Berchtesgaden

Altotting? Germany. Plague memorial.
Many fountains and statues commemorate the Plague in Europe - Plague began in Constantinople in about 1334 and was spread by Crusaders returning to Europe.

Some estimates provide that, in 20 years alone, half the population of Europe was decimated.

This fountain shows the skeleton of death in various modes, going around and around. I believe it was in Altotting, but am not sure.

The painted alpine building may mean closer to or at Oberammergau, where the dramas memorialize the Black Death era and the city's survival. See

Altotting, Germany, Black Madonna
This Black Madonna is at Altotting, south, near the alpine region - found by chance. There were many pilgrims here. Am trying to find research on why so many black madonnas are in France -- dark-skinned family makes sense, but it not part of our regular tradition. Legends say that Mary Magdelene went to France - are there villages where she is said to have given accounts or other stories put the color at the forefront?

The guidebooks do not always tell when there is a black madonna. Many seem to be from the 12-15th centuries, smaller ones (as in Guadalupe, Spain) far earlier- even in the first centuries after.

We also found black madonnas in France and Spain. always looking for these, and we found more. Internet sites for Black Madonnas offer listings of those known to date, and possible explanations.
Altotting, Germany, pilgrimage center for Black Madonna
The Black Madonna is in this church-type setting. I recall it more as a "housing" for it.

Berchtesgaden:  Hitler's eyrie.  What you save by going off-season you lose by missing some sights.  In April and early May, we started up to see Berchtesgaden, and found the road closed because the snow had not melted.  All snowed in still up there. 

Berchtesgaden: You may want to plan trips that include higher Alps for late May at least. We were there in early May - this eyrie was supposed to be open, but weather stepped in. Snow still blocked the higher reaches of the Eagle's Nest at Berchtesgaden, see This is where Hitler had his headquarters. Had been there in earlier year, but sorry to miss this time.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Munich - Marienplatz; and Hofbrau, of course

Munich, Marienplatz, Germany
Marienplatz, the main square. Great clocktower, or glockenspiel. For a visual tour of Munich, go to Bookmark the site for photos of most everything anywhere, it seems.

Dan Widing at the Hofbrauhaus, Munich, Germany (yes, both are of age)

Drive right into town, find the Hofbrau House, and then locate the nearest hotel. Best way. In any new town, find a local attraction, and house yourself nearby. Park it and forget it.

Munich is big tourist attraction, well rebuilt, fine square.

When you need a break from driving, walking and sightseeing and finding places, come here and just sit back, keep the wursts coming and watch the world for a few hours. See

Castles: Linderhof; Hohenschwangau; Neuschwanstein

Once you get used to saying these names, they come easily. All stem from 1845-1886: Ludwig II, "Mad Ludwig," the builder of castles; he of the mysterious death in Lake Starnberg. See

Linderhof Castle, Germany
Linderhof. A secluded hunting lodge built by Ludwig II. See See also svnum="10&hl=en&lr=&rls=GGGL%2CGGGL%3A2006-28%2CGGGL%3Aen&q=Mad+Ludwig&btnG=Search.
Hohenschwangau Castle, Germany

Here is Hohenschwangau. See,where Ludwig II spent summers. His largest castle is Herrenchiemsee, see Too big and glitzy for us. Maybe a visit next time. His dream castle apparently was Falkenstein, and he could not finish it. Died first. See

Ludwig's most fairy tale castle (Sleeping Beauty-type, although other castles in other countries claim that Disney-fueled fame as well, see France Road Ways), is Neuschwanstein, see The former owners were the Schwangaus, and the swan (schwan?) was a favorite of theirs.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oberammergau, Garmisch, Alps

The road near Oberammergau:
Take the small roads. See your own Alps.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Wieskirche (Rococo church) Bavaria, trumpet voluntary

If you want a looping everlasting little baroque trumpet voluntary as you read this, go to the site at in a separate window, and it will begin. And go on and on and on. Why not?

Weiskirche, Germany
This is in the area where the other fairy-tale castles, most by Ludwig II, are also found, in the alp areas of southern Germany. It is off the usual path. This is a pilgrimage site, stemming from events in 1738, see - tears reported, the "Statue of the Scourged Savior." Click for the English home page, then on "history" in the left menu.

This church dates from mid-18th Century and the interior is said to be among the world's most beautiful - Rococo (very fancy, gilt and many angels). See this gallery of photos at Splendid organ. Concerts. Ludwig's Castles nearby. Need a site for a destination wedding?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Augsburg - Back to Celtic and Roman; big on Renaissance

Augsburg Cathedral, Augsburg, Germany
Augsburg is in the south, Bavaria, and gets so much Renaissance-type attention,, that the older Celtic and Roman and Medieval times get lost.
We like the older.

Here is the Cathedral. In the Cathedral, The Dom of the Holy Virgin, I believe it was called.  Below ground level is a crypt floor, and areas below that with columns with old Celtic design, the "Irish" (as we think of them) swirls, from the earliest church there.
Celtic designs, Columns, Augsburg crypt level, Germany

Roman artifacts, Augsburg Cathedral area, Augsburg, Germany

And carving bits through the years.
There was the old Via Claudia or Claudius through here, leading from Germania to Rome. My notes say that the stonework shows those times, in the outside courtyard where the Cathedral now stands. Not sure.

Here is the list of bishops since 697 A.D. or so.
 Bishops Succession list since 697 AD, Augsburg Cathedral, Augsburg, Germany

Friday, November 10, 2006

Rothenberg, Dinkelsbuhl, the Tourist "Roads"

Rothenberg, Germany. The Gate

The Gate at Rothenberg.

Rothenberg, Germany. Town view.
Some of the best old cities were not bombed. Prime examples are Rothenberg and Dinkelsbuhl. Be amazed, as we have been, at the size of medieval buildings. See also the Schwabisch Hall post here.

A good overall site for Germany and the towns and regions is

Rothenburg, Germany
These are also taken at Rothenberg Rothenberg. Huge tourist attraction.

The town of Dinkelsbuhl, at, is nearby, and smaller.

For those who like external organizers for trips, the German Tourist Bureau offers several "routes" for touring Germany:

1. Romantic Road that covers lovely medievel sites like these,
2. Fairy Tale Road that covers Grimm and the rest,
3. Wine Road with the most stops,, 1st 20 miles, Wine Road, and
4. Romanesque Road at; and
5. Castle Road at

We did not do those. Instead, we checked their itineraries and noted which places were in our own path. Otherwise, too much time is wasted sign-watching, and you miss what is in between.

We liked Fritzlar - not so fixed-up; buildings look more their age. Fritzlar is north of Frankfurt, near Marburg, the houses are so big and old that they tilt toward each other at the top, nearly touching. The guidebooks point out the different kinds of facades in the cities. Also see Alsford, nearby. Huge half timber.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wurzburg -

Wurzburg. We visited the model display of the city before and after it was bombed in World War II. They are set up in adjoining rooms, so the impact is greater on seeing the devastation. Here is an article addressing why the bombing, and when: Any country justifies its nationalism and outrage, and here it takes the form of an omission, of why there were attacks on Germany at all. See also the history at That still does not remove the need of the victors to analyze why so great a devastation.

The palace residence (The Residenz) here is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It escaped the bombing. See

The city is in the middle of a highway mixmaster, lending itself to a quick run-through so we can get back to a countryside. We did - on a little ferry - just got off the highway and drove.

See lovely photo gallery at This is, to me, the world's best website for Germany photos and succinct information. Check out all the other cities there as well. Better yet, go to his home page and write him about his fine work. I am no relative, don't even know him, but I salute. Scroll down to all the other categories - Roman world, all over the world.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Heidelburg, Germany

Heidelburg - familiar name, lovely city. See The US army also does a nice website on Heidelburg. There is an army base there. Still?

Flicks. "The Student Prince in Old Heidelburg" was a movie in 1927, see; and "The Student Prince" came to us on moving celluloid again in 1954 with Mario Lanza ("Drink!" three times). See

This was the one city where we found no hotel room - so we did our walking and seeing, had a cafe snack and people-watch, and went on to Speyer. No problem. Distances are not great.

Go here for a free Heidelburg jigsaw puzzle. It

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Heidelburg, Speyer - Jakob Spilger, Pilgrim

Speyer, Cathedral, Germany

Near Heidelburg is Speyer, where the Cathedral at Speyer is a UNESCO World Heritage site. See Any new Bishop, we were told, was expected to fill that large fount with wine, and the burghers (we thought it was all the town) emptied it in themselves. See also

The tradition of pilgrimage gets passing attention now, but there used to be medieval pilgrims walking thousands of miles through here or from here. One route - in its entirety - was from Germany (or even Scandinavia) to Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. Here is a statue of Jakob Spilger, that kind of pilgrim. See, for more on the statue of Jakob Spilger.

Jakob Spilger, Pilgrim, Speyer, Germany

Speyer itself is 17th century in look, with its wide streets. We were told that planners in those days would level most of a town in order to recreate it. Like now.

In 1084, the Bishop of Speyer awarded by charter land and privileges in a specific location to the Jews in the area, to bring them in and foster the growth and prestige of the new town. See the Medieval Sourcebook at for information on Grant, Bishop of Speyer 1084.

Wine font, Speyer Cathedral, Germany

We were told that a huge font n front of the church was filled with wine each fall, for community celebrating.

Here is a different one with a little man on top. Need to check photo. See More history, overview: