Sunday 6 February 2011

sunday drive: hügelland

Many of our adventures begin with the prospect--very hit or miss, of a good flea-market (Flohmarkt).  Never admitting disappointment, it is always a good excuse to take a leisurely drive and explore a bit.  First, we walked around the grounds of a castle and chapel in a village in the Haßberge.  This, I admit, was not an honest discovery, since I had stumbled across an event held at in the courtyard of this place some months ago and later researched it a little bit:  
though its information site failed to mention that it was closed for the winter, the castle did want to be one's friend on bookface.  I thought the castle needed some real friends and visitors.  Next, we drove on to a more remote village in the foothills of the mountain range, known for its excellent examples of Fachwerk (half-timbered) houses.  It was quite enjoyable to admire the architecture, especially in this well-maintained concentration.
One of the sons of Königsberg, as the village was called, was the fifteenth century mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, Regiomontanus (born plain old Johan Müller, but styled in Latin after his hometown, Königsberg or King's Mountain). 
I remembered his bust in the halls of Walhala, honored for his achievements, which were instrumental in the development and revival of astronomy as a science.  Regiomontanus was later affiliated with the first observatory and helped with Copernicus' errata, and then worked for the Pope. 
He was, however, promptly and probably disposed of for espousing unorthodox views and the motion of the stars, although it was surely easy to cover up such intrigues with blaming his Bavarian pedigree for bringing the plague (die Pest), which he is said to have gotten sick from, to the Roman court.
Nonetheless, it was a nice lesson and a scenic experience for a lazy afternoon, and there is surely a lot more history and tall-tales and things to marvel at in our backyard.