Sunday, 28 June 2015

daytrip: wetterau

 After being treated to a fun and festive Rhein river cruise courtesy of my employer, the next day H and I traveled a little farther north to a county named after a tributary thereof. It’s a little striking how much of German topography is named for streams and rivers instead of the other way around, like the Fulda or Heufurt closer to home that’s not where the hay, the straw can ford the stream (I would like to see that) but rather where there is an easy crossing on the Heu—and the name doesn’t refer to the weather, unlike the endless skies of this prairie land between the mountain ranges declaimed although feistier weather never materialised.
First we passed the ruins of a fortress on a hill called Münzenburg and stopped to visit. Unlike the name suggested to me, it was not a mint and the castle was built around 1160 by an administrator called Kuno I under contract of Emperor Barbarossa as a display of imperial power. The towers certainly dominated the otherwise flat landscape and was a treat to climb through the long-abandoned, neglected as other instruments of might became available, corridors and explore.
 Next we came to the yet vibrant compound of the Cloister of Arnsburg, just outside of the town of Lich where the popular brand of Licher beer is brewed. The compound embraced by the course of the Wetter, whose mother cloister is in Eberbach, fell into ruin with the dissolution of the monasteries in 1806, but parts have since been restored and re-purposed, including a poignant courtyard that is a sombre resting place for soldiers and victims of the regime of terror of the Third Reich.

Afterwards, we traveled onto the city of Wetzlar (home of Leica photography) and had a fine time walking through the winding cobbled streets of half-timbered houses that dated from a long time ago and reminded me of Frankfurt’s core Altstadt with a Hauptwache and squat cathedral.
I can’t wait until we have the chance to next time make a little more familiar what’s in the range of this backyard (plus from different perspectives) and look forward to exploring much more.