lundi, mai 14, 2007

Hohenloher Freilandmuseum and Schwäbisch Hall

I woke up on Saturday morning with a desire to drive a certain distance away from Stuttgart. So I took out my map of Germany and after a moment of reflection, found the places to go to : Schwäbisch Hall and the Hohenloher Freilandmuseum (Open Air Museum) at Wackershofen.

I usually have impulses like that when Hubby is away and I esteem that he should be around to spend time with me and the kids instead. On another occasion a few years ago, I bought air tickets to Crete for myself and our then 2 children when I discovered that he would be away on business during the children's school break. Though once I was there, I wasn't really in the mood to holiday, what I really wanted was for him to be with us.

So I prepared the children hastily, packed a few snacks and drinks and ushered everybody into the car. The good thing about having a GPS is that one doesn't usually get lost.

The Hohenloher Freilandmuseum is 1h25 mins from Stuttgart. Traffic conditions were good on that day and we were even able to lunch as I hoped, in a Chinese restaurant along the way. Cheap buffet with the usual fried stuff that the Germans threw themselves on, but I didn't feel like eating sausages so it would have to do.

Käsemarkt in the Freilandmuseum

It was a lovely day, sunny yet not too warm. I found the museum easily. The parking was full, but I was able to park my car easily and it was for free too. There was a Cheese Market on the museum grounds that day and so we even obtained discounts on the entrance fees! 1 adult and 3 kids for 5 Euros.
Sow and her Piglets (award-winning pork)

We started out with the pig sty. When you eat those animals in bits and pieces, you fail to realise how big (and smelly) they actually are. Though the piglets were like the roast suckling pigs I've always seen (and eaten, ahem). The kids loved it, of course. And seemed quite oblivious to the smell. I had to snatch Baby Boy once when he went too near to one of the sties, he could easily have lost a hand to one of those beasts' big, sharp teeth. Two to a pen, lots of food and they still had to fight each other as they ate. What a pig.

There were houses and barns scattered here and there on the grounds and each one was different. What I didn't know before though was that they were real houses taken from somewhere else (some relocated intact electrical wiring and all, others were rebuilt according to how there were before the relocation) and transplanted into the museum. They could tell you who built the house, who lived in it, what each possessed at a certain time etc. And it was interesting going through the different rooms, looking at the furniture (mostly not from the same era though), checking out the toilet etc. Really well done.

The photos I took were mainly from the first house we visited and it was a relatively well-endowed one. Some of the others were much smaller and barely furnished and used to house more than 11 children in like 50m2. In one farmhouse, the stalls were just below and one could smell the cow (just one, imagine when they had a few) in the rooms upstairs...

There were otherwise not many other animals to the children's disappointment. Apparently other animals could be exhibited on certain other occasions e.g. 20/05 is going to Horse Day, another day in June Sheep Day and so on. Only the pigs, the one cow and a few rabbits (you can feed them) are permanent exhibits.

Main Square, Schwäbisch Hall

St Michael's

Chocolate Tin Town

After the Open Air Museum, I decided to visit the nearby town of Schwäbisch Hall which is reputed to look like the villages you see on German chocolate tins. We were not deceived, it was indeed a very pretty little town.

In fact, I've grown to really appreciate Southern Germany over the last few months. It's green, clean, nicely-planned and often so pretty. The roads are logical and well-signed, there is often parking everywhere for a decent fee...

And as I was flying at an average of 170-180km/h on the Autobahn, I told myself that it was wonderful to be able to do that. Even as we entered into stretches of the highway where we could only drive at 80km/h or 120km/h. The contrast was what allowed one to better appreciate the no-limit parts of the highways. And especially knowing that this freedom is enjoyed within the confines of safety, mutual responsibility and good conduct on the road. Quite like the freedoms we should enjoy in our lives - freedoms to balanced with freedoms from.

We arrived at Stuttgart Airport (to pick up Hubby) before time. I felt quite rewarded when Hubby said - after I told him where we've been to etc - that WE could have gone there together :-).

10 commentaires:

Priscilla Tews a dit…

Hi Serene!
Wow, that place sounds nice...maybe might make a trip down too. Hey, does yr hubby read yr blog? Maybe can get him to read it? Like specific entries. When I first started blogging, I got my husband to read my blog when I really want him to see something from my point of view eg... or like hint hint about some stuff. Now he´s into the habit of reading my blog anyways, so that´s nice. Just a thought.

Beau Lotus a dit…

Hey Pris, how did the exams go?

Hubby didn't use to read my blog, but apparently he did recently since he told me that he would like me to make the garlic soup and I went like, "Since when did I make him garlic soup?"

Magdeline & Juergen a dit…

Hi Serene....Schwäbisch Hall is really beautiful and I find it's nice that you brought your kids somewhere even though your hubby was not around...great mother :-)

And I agree with you 100%....south Germany is very beautiful and has lots to offer and that is why I love living here :-)

Beau Lotus a dit…

Hi Mag, yeap Southern Germany is really lovely, pity I wouldn't have enough time to see much more before I leave. But we'll live through your visits and experiences through your blog, I'm sure :-).

Priscilla Tews a dit…

Hi serene!
Thanks for letting me know abt the mtg in stuttgart. Cool! But I may go to this fren´s wedding in germany on that day, so not sure yet. My exams ah, in general not as bad as i expected, but the oral part, I fumbled a bit, cos dunno leh, nervous? Not used to speaking german in the morning haha. So relieved its over now, so that´s more impt! hee, its a great sign that yr hubby´s reading yr blog! In Italy wld be better right, now its just the long-distance italy-stuttgart distance that´s difficult.

Dutchess a dit…

That looks like a place we would like to visit on a weekend. I bet the aroma was breathtaking as well, not just the view. LOL.

Priscilla Tews a dit…

hey serene! Which day are u free to meet up next week? Wed to fri works for me. But wld need to know soon, cos I´ll be meeting some other frens during my only free week too. Let me know k.

Beau Lotus a dit…

Pris, looks like all afternoons will be taken (kids have doctor, dentist, dermato appointments plus Fri we fly off to Italy after school) this week. But if you do not have school, maybe we can have a quick lunch on Wed, there's a noodle place in town that's quite cool. What say you?

Beau Lotus a dit…

Dutchess, yeah it really stinks, but only where there are animals (which thank God for me not that many).

Priscilla Tews a dit…

Hey Serene! Sure, we can do lunch on Wednesday. What time would be good for you? And when about would you have to go? I can arrange to meet my friend after too, since she stays in Esslingen.... so Stuttgart would be along the way.