Snow at Last near Ulm
Posted on January 8, 2015
We’ve been waiting for more than a month for decent snow to cover the ground and make the German Alps look like real mountains. Our plan was to stay near Ulm so we could see the ever-so-high Munster church tower and pay our respects to Albert Einstein, who was born there. We also wanted to be near Blaubeuren.
Once we passed Stuttgart on the Autobahn we began to gain elevation. We were crossing the northern region of the Black Forest. By the time we turned off the main highway we encountered some real snow. It was the first of the winter and several inches fell the previous night.
We thought we were staying in the small town of Schelklingen, which is the town of our lodging address. But our car navigator rightly took us to the tiny village of Justingen, 1000 ft higher in elevation. That meant a lot more snow had fallen there. We loved it.
Here’s our place, modern for a change. The owners live upstairs.
It was already the afternoon of the second day of Christmas, a national holiday. We needed lunch and possibly everything would be closed, even in Blaubeuren. Wow, what a town, a visual delight, but indeed, closed up tight. Well, except for one pizza parlor. We sprang for it.
The River Ach flowed swiftly right in front of the restaurant. We had a nice table on the covered, and heated, terrace overlooking the river.
The pizza was really good. The toilet seat in the immaculate mens room was also something to remember.
Here’s a peek at the town. We’ll be back.
We hurried home because new snow was coming in and we had a long hill to negotiate, on a partially one lane road. Next morning looked a bit different.
Why would anyone want to visit Blaubeuren? Because there’s a beautiful museum there, and in that museum are two notable objects that were discovered nearby. We had to wait a bit because the museum only opened at 2:00. We picked out a cafe. Not the day to sit outside.
We wandered around a bit to enjoy the sights.
Blaubeuren has been on my bucket list for years. Here’s why. It turns out that the Danube River (Donau) has its sources fairly nearby, starting in the Black Forest. When it reaches Ulm it is joined by another small river, the Blau, which itself is joined at Blaubeuren by the small Ach River. Now imagine migrating people (Homo Sapiens) reaching the Black Sea from Africa, or wherever. There they apparently found the mouth of the Danube River and eventually migrated all the way to its source, in southern Germany. Presumably, these were the first modern people to settle in Europe. (The Neanderthals had arrived much earlier but were more primitive people.) By the time they reached caves lining the Blau and Ach rivers they had developed considerable artistic and musical skills. In the aforementioned museum are found the oldest example of a musical instrument in the entire world, as well as the earliest example of a manmade human sculpted figure. We wanted to see them.
On the edge of town, right at the edge of the mountain, wells up a spring of impressive size. This is the source of the Blau river. We would like to have taken a close look but darkness had fallen, and the route was closed for the winter in any regard. We’ll have to return to see it, and also to check out the numerous limestone caves that have yielded so many ancient artifacts.
The museum, by the way, was most impressive in its own right and right up there with the best of German endeavors.
Ensconced in our cozy quarters, we enjoyed a homemade meal of local vegetables and sausages.
Next day we took a walk around our own little village.
Every church we have been in up to this Christmas morning has had a manger scene, but with no baby Jesus. Eva pointed out that he hasn’t been born yet, therefore he’s not in the manger. Now here on Christmas morning things have changed. We walked up to the alter.
We leave the church quietly, admiring the carvings on the old oak door.
We’ve had some serious snowfall the past couple of days.
We walked by a large building with a fine painting on the outside. It’s the local school, named for a townsman who did well – Johannes Stoeffler, astronomer and man of many talents. It’s well to remember this man, though his prediction of the coming deluge was a bit premature.
Next morning we had to drive 2.5 hours to the Munich airport by 10:00, uncertain of road conditions. We were out the door by 6:30. Conditions were good and we had no trouble boarding our flight to Albania and a whole lot of new adventures.