I'm Barbara in Germany (Mainz), and I'm interested in weather already for decades.
By: barbamz, 6:24 PM GMT on October 25, 2013
I'm back from some days of autumnal vacation, and as I've promised before I'm going to post some pics and informations about the places where I've been.
I've stayed in Büdingen, a little town northeast of Frankfurt which is known for its very well conserved medieval center with a lot of framework houses and massive town walls. Origins of the medieval settlement in the 8th century were at nearby church Saint Remigius.
Distance from Frankfurt to Büdingen by road: about 50km/30miles. From my home location in Mainz to the southwest of Frankfurt I had to drive about 100km/62miles.
1. Some pictures from the old center of Büdingen:
The massive outer town walls with the "Jerusalem Gate", built in the years around 1500.
Part of the older inner town wall with "Devil's tower".
Framework house on top of the inner town wall.
When you saunter through the narrow alleys you'll find a lot of interesting items:
Stone with a grotesque face.
Head of a boar on the wall.
Sleeping Beauty Car in a backyard, lol.
Premature Halloween happening in the main street of Büdingen at Sunday evening. Medieval "House of Stones" (16th century) in the background.
A resident is inspecting his alley garden, raised in pots.
So called "Oberhof", now used as a center of arts and culture.
2. The old castle of Büdingen
Even older than the historic city of Büdingen is its amazing moated castle. The first roundish part, built in the 12th century, was completely surrounded by water.
This is what the castle was looking back then (pic is from a public information panel).
This is how it's looking today from the adjacent hillside. Unfortunately I couldn't rent a heli to get an even better view, lol. Wiki has a ground plot of the castle.
View to the castle from the historic town.
Entrance to the inner court.
View into the inner court, the oldest part.
What's left from the former water moat in the park of the castle.
The tower of the castle (13th century), constructed in the so called "butter tub style". Picture was taken from the window of the flat I'd rented adjacent to the castle and its park.
3. Hiking around Büdingen
As nearly every countryside in Germany the hilly area of Büdingen (Wetterau / Vogelsberg) with its woods, fields, lawns and ponds is great for hiking. There are a lot of older and newer marked trails for hikers or bikers to chose.
For example, if you would follow the upper sign to the right you'll reach the Baltic sea, if you follow it to the left you'll reach the Alpes - after some weeks of course :)
If you follow this sign to the right you'd nearly reach my doorsteps in Mainz after some days. If you follow it to the left, you'll end at the doorsteps of the grave of Saint Boniface in the cathedral of Fulda. Saint Boniface was murdered by the heathens in the Netherlands at 754. His body was carried back by ship on Rhine River to Mainz, his residence as archbishop, and then on land from Mainz to his new foundation amid the wildernis, the monastery of Fulda, where he wanted to be buried. In 2004 (1250th anniversary of his death) the old path from Mainz to Fulda was reconstructed and marked as a trail for pilgrims and hikers ("Bonifatius-Route"). It's length is 172km/106miles.
Some impressions while hiking the countryside:
Roof of an old barn.
Pond for fishing.
Sheep. Okay, I spare you the cows, mushrooms and more sensations, lol ...
4. Some geology
The region is interesting because of its geology as well. Büdingen is situated in a valley of the southwestern outer slopes of the extinct volcano Vogelsberg (means Bird's mountain). That's why you find a lot of basalts from former magma channels and lava outflow, often used as quarries.
Basalt rocks above Büdingen. The location is called "Wilder Stein" (Wild Rock). In former times it has been a ritual place; since medieval times it was feared as a meeting place for witches and used as place of judgement; later it served as a quarry.
Dauntless nephew on top of the Wild Rock, ts ts ...
But there aren't only basalts but bunters (sandstones) as well, left by an ocean long ago. These are also used for building purposes.
Historic sandstone quarrel near my vacation flat.
When the prehistoric ocean was gone, a lot of clay and loess soils had been drifted into the plains west of the volcanic massif. This soil is very fertile, and that's why you find indications of human settlement in this area since the stoneage.
Today's agriculture between Büdingen and Glauberg. There were five tractors at once operating on this hill the evening I passed by. Dooh! No calm evening, lol.
5. Finally, the Celts
Speaking of the attractive fertile soils of the Wetterau-Region we finally will meet some of its most interesting former residents, the Celts.
Celtic settlements in the region (pic is from a public information panel).
Of course, besides the above mentioned hiking trails there is a "Trail of Celts" as well, and this one leads you f.e. to a hill with a lot of celtic burial mounds on top. There isn't much to be seen though:
One of many celtic burial mounds in the woods above the village of Dudenrod.
A different thing is the large hillside "Glauberg" nearby. The vast plateau on top of the ridge was inhabited until medieval times (spare the Romans who had different locations), and the archeologians found traces especially from an early celtic settlement (called an "oppidum") and afterwards from a medieval village and castle:
Part of the huge celtic ringfort on top of Glauberg.
Ruins of the gate to the castle in medieval times.
All the before mentioned settlements were long known. But it was only in the 1990ies that in an adjacent field some roundish structures were detected which could only be seen from the air and during certain growth periods (pic is from a public information panel).
Excarvations were started, and in 1998 the sensation was perfect: They detected two undisturbed celtic graveyards from 500 B.C.
Archeological site of Glauberg (map: Wiki).
In one of the graves the remains of so called "Earl of Glauberg" were found with his weaponry and gold jewellery:
The original weapons (sorry for cutting the sword) and jewels in the museum which was newly built to show all these findings at the very place where they had been excarvated.
And, apart from two scattered statues, an amazingly well conserved statue of this very earl, decorated with the same sort of weapons and jewels, was found (only the feet are missing). This was the high point of the excarvation and of international importance.
This is His Highness, the Earl of Glauberg:
And no, he wasn't a precursor of Mickey Mouse, lol. He doesn't have large ears but is wearing a crown of leaves.
The statue of the Earl of Glauberg in the newly built museum, surrounded by his modern admirers. He's got his own guard who told me that soon they will have to shelter the Earl by bulletproof glas, but I still was lucky to see him without this protection.
This may have been the scenery when the Earl once was buried, 2500 years ago (pic is from a public information panel).
In the mean time the grave mound was reconstructed as well, together with the street of procession which leads to the mound, and some wooden pales.
Mystical evening light near the celtic grave mound.
And, at last, two evening pics from Büdingen:
View of the rising moon from one of the windows in my flat.
The spire of St. Mary's in Büdingen.
Now I'm finished with showing a (small!) collection of my vacation pics, apart from some videos I'll insert later, and, for sure, some correction work which should be necessary in respect to my poor skills of English.
Hope you've enjoyed the tour nevertheless :)
Edit: Here some bumpy videos:
View out of "my" window while the carillon of the castle is playing.
Hmm, the kite of the man on top of the grave yard is hardly to be seen on the video. But anyway, lol ...
During a calm and sunny autumn day a little breeze caused a heavy downpour of leaves and acorns in the woods near Büdingen.
Sunday afternoon happening in Büdingen (note: children screaming at the end of the video were only very excited by the view of the fire).
Updated: 1:32 PM GMT on October 30, 2013