Tuesday, 10 October 2017

(rainy) day-trip: büdingen

The weather in Wetterau is not always cooperative and most days like these would see cancelled excursions, but on my way back to my work-week apartment, I took a detour to try to see the fortified and well-preserved medieval town of Büdingen. I recall having visited before—when it was still host to a US Army housing detachment—but that was ages ago and probably one of the wind-shield tours I was taking at the time and having tried to visit again once before during a trip to Burg Ronneburg but was overcome (incredulously) for lack of parking, so despite the dodgy skies, I marched up and down the still charming but be-puddled streets of town.

Described variously as the Rothenburg of Hessen and with other superlatives, the heavy stone defensive walls were formidable and impressive and all the streets of the historic core were awash with the idiosyncratic geometry of fine half-timbered (Fachwerk) structures—angular unto itself, rays emanating off in all directions—and there was a stately church and castle. The town in the centre of a marshy valley and the fortress and Altstadt are resting on millennia old matrix of oak planks and beech poles. Whereas a lot of German town have papier-mâché cows or lions to celebrate local craft and heritage, Büdingen uniquely has a collection of frogs, its unofficial mascot.
The rain, however, didn’t relent, and while I knew that every place is unique and embraces their stories of pogrom and plague, witch-trials and religious tribulations—and perhaps it was the combination of the rain and vague spatial memories, I was feeling rather disoriented and it was hard to take in the scenery, echoes of other places resonating strongly to the point I could recall the town’s name when relating it to H afterwards.
I suppose those discomforts are indicative of why sensible people (unless on holiday abroad when one has no other choice than to go out and enjoy the grey and drizzle) wouldn’t choose this battle for a rewarding tourist-experience. H and I will have to choose the opportunity to return and give Büdingen the attention and intention that it deserves.