Today we took a short drive to the picturesque black forest town of Calw (pronounced “kalf”), the birthplace and childhood home of the famous German novelist and noble laureate Hermann Hesse. We toured the Hesse Museum, saw his home, and posed by his statue on the 15th century bridge in town. We then had an amazing Italian lunch, followed by a digestive amble through the lovely town. We capped the visit with the classic Black Forest layered cake, the Schwärzwalder Kirschtorte before returning to Stuttgart.
Every place we have visited so far has had a unique characteristic that fascinates. I especially enjoyed visiting Calw in the Black Forest. The old buildings and narrow cobblestone streets are exactly what comes to mind when thinking about historic Germany. Walking through the town was like being in a fairytale village. (The Grimm brothers set many of their stories in the Black Forest.) We also learned about a more recent author and poet named Herman Hesse. He was born in Calw and is well known for his books focusing on individuality, spirituality, nature, and more. After leaving the Herman Hesse Museum, we ate and then, were allowed to wander about the town. The weather was wonderful, and I couldn’t have asked for a more peaceful and happy excursion.
I was very impressed by Calw it was beautiful and a crazy good climate. Walking through the streaks with the Bavarian style of buildings made me feel like I was in a different part of the world. It was completely different than Berlin and Leipzig.
Yesterday we went to visit a palace in a town called Bonn. It was really interesting to see the castle because the architecture and artwork was amazing, and the garden looked so well manicured that it looked untouched. The interior was even more incredible. The ceilings were painted with several different pictures of Greek and Roman gods, and gold embellishments that were really pretty and unique. Each room had a different purpose, and it was really neat learning about each one. However, all I could think about while seeing those different lavish embellishments and rooms was how many people were starving at that time, and how needlessly selfish the people living in that castle were. While they were embellishing and furnishing numerous rooms, people were starving. Some of the money used to create that mansion was money from citizens, which could have been used to feed the citizens. So, yes it was beautiful, however it is hard to think about how much went into a building like that and the unnecessary sacrifices that were made in order to have that palace be made. However, the artistry was very intricate and amazing to look at, so it was neat to see those things.
Today we went on a trip to Calw where we went to the Herman Hesse Museum and learned about his life and how he was an influential person in history. Then we walked around the town of Calw and found a trail leading into the Black Forest that had markers along the side of the trail. These markers each had a poem on them that Herman Hesse wrote. We also found an amazing view of the steeple of the church with the town in the background along, it was amazing.
Now that we’re halfway through the trip and have been to a variety of places it feels like we are finally starting to grasp how diverse, different and intriguing German culture really is. Each place is entirely unique. It’s amazing how you can wake up in a place like Stuttgart, drive an hour, end up in a place like Calw and experience something completely new. Every city has qualities totally unique to it’s one place and experiencing a variety of them in the way we have has really been an truly amazing experience.
While in Calw today, we were exposed to a side of Germany that we had yet to have seen before, with less of an urban scene and a much more traditional country side. While driving out, there were plains of wind swept grass that just looked jaw dropping. It made me want to go frolicking, haha. After arriving in Calw, the first thing that stood out to us was easily the architecture. HARD CORE EUROPEAN, with pale stone and dark wooden beams exposed, shackled roofing, trees galore, and no building in town higher than the steeple. We were given time to explore after wandering around the Herman Hesse museum (as well as being treated to a lovely meal) and I caught myself multiple times just looking at the buildings. Probably not the thing that Dr. Keesee and Mr. Parsons wanted us to take out of this trip, but I can’t help but be star struck my my surroundings.
Once we got to Böhn we headed to an amazing palace. It was made by this king who’s hobby was building palaces and he had made roughly 25 before he died but did not finish most of them. The palace had this insane staircase with fake marble, but the marble they used was to look like orange and blue and is now about as thin as an eggshell due to aging. The fake marble cost more all together so in a way it made it more valuable.
Then on to what we did today, which we went to Calw which has a much more “Classic Germany” type of town. By this, I mean all the houses looked more like Swiss houses rather than the German architecture we had seen previously. We were able to go to see the museum of Herman Hesse, a very famous novelist. All in all, it was a very eye-opening day and it was awesome to see a different part of German culture different from what we were use to.
Calw is a small town in a valley with really cool wood buildings and a lot of fountains. When you’re in Calw you see a stereotypical German and Swiss town as you can imagine it from movies. My favorite part about my time there was the food, and my new hair cut. The hike up one of the valley walls was so beautiful. We could see above the church tower and the whole town from the Black Forest.