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.

First snow of the season

First snow of the season

Now it's looking like winter should.

Now it’s looking like what winter should.

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.

Our modern quarters

Our modern quarters

Our Ferienwohnung

Our Ferienwohnung

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.

King Carl's Guesthouse, King Charlemagne, of course.

King Carl’s Guesthouse, King Charlemagne, of course.

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.

Covered terrace

Covered terrace

The pizza was really good. The toilet seat in the immaculate mens room was also something to remember.

Perhaps the only food in town on the second day of Christmas

Perhaps the only food in town on the second day of Christmas

Who designed this?

Who designed this?

Here’s a peek at the town. We’ll be back.

Downtown Blaubeuren

Downtown Blaubeuren

Snowy detail

Snowy detail

Interesting door

Interesting door

Lighted Christmas tree

Lighted Christmas tree

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.

Overnight snowfall

Overnight snowfall

Back to town

Back to town

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.

This fell overnight

This fell overnight

Tea warmed our innards

Tea warmed our innards

Pfannkuchen hit the spot for a light lunch.

Pfannkuchen hit the spot for a light lunch.

We wandered around a bit to enjoy the sights.

A little chilly to be so lightly dressed

A little chilly to be so lightly dressed

We love the decorative signage.

We love the decorative signage.

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.

One of several flutes from nearby caves

One of several flutes from nearby caves

Female figurine, with valued body parts exaggerated

Female figurine, with valued body parts exaggerated

Male phallus representation

Male phallus representation

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.

A full day of snow

A full day of snow

Ensconced in our cozy quarters, we enjoyed a homemade meal of local vegetables and sausages.

We rarely eat out because the local foods are so tasty.

We rarely eat out because the local foods are so tasty.

Next day we took a walk around our own little village.

Our hostess clears our driveway while we go have fun on foot.

Our host clears our driveway while we go have fun on foot.

Pretty white out there

Pretty white out there

Ever present crucifixes

Ever present crucifixes

Village church

Village church

The door was unlocked. It was Christmas morning.

The door was unlocked. It was Christmas morning.

The amazing interior

The amazing interior

Modern organ

Modern organ

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.

The manger scene - no Jesus

The manger scene – no Jesus

Here's Jesus, over here, front and center.

Here’s Jesus, over here, front and center.

We leave the church quietly, admiring the carvings on the old oak door.

Ancient church door carvings

Ancient church door carvings

We’ve had some serious snowfall the past couple of days.

Heaps of snow

Heaps of snow

Firewood is blanketed

Firewood is blanketed

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.

Painted wall

Painted wall

The school

The school

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.

Iffy driving conditions

Iffy driving conditions

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