Sunday, 14 July 2013

sunday drive: bad homburg von der höhe

Not discouraged by a sprawling but terrible flea-market (I did however resolve to note these particular organisers that have disappointed before and avoid them in the future) I drove a few kilometers further on the path to explore the town of Bad Homburg, a bedroom community and the wealthiest in Germany due to its proximity to the financial centre but away from the hectic pace, just beyond the city limits of Frankfurt am Main.
 There was a lot of things to see besides, but I focused my windshield tour first at the Schloss and surrounding park that was chosen late in its long and storied career as a summer residence for Emperor Wilhelm II. This designation at the beginning of the twentieth century afforded the town a lot of acclaim, which grew its spa (Kur) and casino—whose directors went on to manage the casino of Monte Carlo in Monaco.
I enjoyed walking through the park, peopled with classic and modern art sculptures. I especially like the stretched motor-scooter, an East Germany NSU model, that looked like it got too close to a blackhole or neutron star, and the Red Boy by comtemporary artist Kenny Hunter.
Among the imperial influences, the Protestant Church of Christ the Redeemer (Erlöserkirche, the problem-solver) was built in 1901, that is resoundingly Art Nouveau in style and a very distinctive fusion of Celtic symbols and mosaics that are reminiscent of the Near East. I enjoyed exploring this building as well, which reminded me of the lobby of the Empire State Building too—finished in 1908, the positive public reception initiated the Wiesbadner Programme, which saw other churches build in this style.
The Altstadt was comprised of grand avenues and narrow alleyways of half-timbered homes.
 A little lost, I regret not having ventured into the spa part of the town, with an equally large public park in the style of English Garden and its own ensemble of stories and historic buildings. 
I admit, I was a little turned- off to exploring further by the Kurhaus and Rathaus that resembled shopping centres more than civic institutions, but what lays beyond that one street ist something for H and I to see together for ourselves, next time.