Sunday, 12 May 2013

Tripping Down Memory Lane

From 1986 to 1988, I was being trained as an Assistant Librarian. During those two years, every four weeks or so I attended Librarian School in a small town in south Germany's famous Black Forest. The theoretical training intervals usually lasted four weeks, and then everyone went back to practical work at their respective libraries for the next four weeks, and so on. Students came from all over Baden-Württemberg (the part of Germany I live in), and for convenience's sake, we were given mini-apartments in the nurses' home next to the hospital of that town. There were always two students assigned to each apartment, which consisted of a long, narrow room with two beds, a desk and an in-built wardrobe, a tiny bathroom with toilet and an equally tiny kitchenette. We had our breakfast and lunch at the hospital's canteen, along with all the nurses and doctors, and took our packed evening meals from there when we left the canteen after lunch. Therefore, most of us used their kitchenettes only to make coffee or tea in the afternoon. School was only in the mornings, which left us with plenty of free time - and we loved it!

Most of us had started our apprenticeships straight after school and were still getting used to working all day, a big change when up until then we had been going to school only for the first half of the day. Therefore, everyone quite enjoyed the four-week intervals at Librarian School - not only were most of us away from home for the first time, playing at "being grown-up" without having to take full responsibility for ourselves (cooking, shopping for groceries, washing and cleaning was - to a certain extent - all being done for us), but we were part of a group of young people from 16 to 25, making new friends and having a lot of fun.

With some of the "girls" from back then (of course, by now we are all officially middle-aged women) I am still in touch, and we meet once or twice a year. Yesterday, I met with two of my closest friends from those days, and together, we drove to the small town where it all began.

On my suggestion, we took the nice, easy walk along the river (less than 2 km) to the next small town, Hirsau, which boasts the picturesque ruins of a monastery. Of course, I had my camera with me and took some pictures:

Approaching Hirsau. The river is called Nagold.


The plan had been to stop at this café where we used to have coffee and cake sometimes, but sadly, we found it closed for good - later, we found out that it was put on the market for sale 5 or 6 years ago and so far, nobody has made a move to buy it.


Some of the old buildings surrounding the monastery.

Building of the monastery began in the year 1082. A lot of the building material is the red sandstone typically found in the area.




The only building with the roof still intact is the small gothic church. A wedding was taking place when we arrived, but the ceremony was already over, and we could go into the church. You can still see the flowers attached to the pews for the wedding. While baroque churches feel quite "over the top" for me, I love the gothic style for its simplicity. Look at the beautifully restored painting on the ceilings!


The church from the outside, and some more pictures. By that time, the sun had finally managed to pierce through the clouds.

Before walking back to Calw, we stopped at a hotel where coffee and cake was served. Being at the Black Forest, of course I had a piece of Blackforest Gâteau - and a HUGE piece at that! If you order cake at any of the cafés in my home town, you usually get a piece about half the size of this one.

Back in Calw, we wandered around the old town centre with its beautifully restored timbered houses and narrow cobbled streets. The place has, naturally, changed a lot since the 1980s, but there was still plenty there for us to recognize. Nobody would recognize us, though - we did look rather different back then, as you can see from this older post of mine.

It was a lovely afternoon with my friends and a nice trip down memory lane - and we were incredibly lucky with the weather!

21 comments:

  1. Looks and sounds like a lovely spring outing and get-together with old friends.

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    1. That's exactly what it was, Monica!

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  2. How good that you still meet up. I am in e-mail and letter contact with half a dozen or so of the girls from my library school days (the late 1960s') and eight of them them meet up each year but I've usually been up in Scotland. One of my girl friends (as opposed to girlfriends) was my best person at our wedding 25 years ago.

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    1. There are two others we were very close with, one lives in Sicily (she features in my "Souvenirs from Sicily"-potst) and the other one maybe one hour's drive from here. But they are both not interested in keeping in touch, which is a shame but has to be accepted.
      I am sure you'd have a great time if you went to one of your friends' meetings.

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  3. Love catching up with old friends, looks like you had a nice time. Beautiful photos!

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    1. Thank you, Mary! Yes, it was very good seeing them again and revisiting the old place.

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  4. It's wonderful to have such a day remembering the past and enjoying the present. There is one friend from my school days that I see fairly often, and others I'm in contact with but not able to see that often. In September we have our 50th reunion and I am so looking forward to that catching up. We'll be at our old high school, from which my daughters also graduated. But I drive past that fairly often when I visit one of my sisters in law. I am also recalling days in the Black Forest when we lived in Germany. But I don't recall the names of towns. My brother in law who lived in Munich and is now in Ravensburg always chose the locations. Lovely memories.

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    1. Oh yes, your 50th reunion is going to be a great occasion for catching up and seeing people you have not seen in many years!
      I hope your memories of the Black Forest also include the lovely cakes :-)

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    2. Yes. indeed! I should have said, "sweet memories"!

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  5. A wonderful way to spend a day down Memory Lane. I don’t know this area at all. It seems to be very pretty with lots of old houses intact. Thanks for this reminder of how beautiful Germany is.

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    1. Since there never was any heavy industry in that area, it was spared the worst during WWII. At this time of the year, it is particularly beautiful with the various shades of green in the "Black" Forest.

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  6. Lovely memories, and you've made more of them by taking this time to meet up with friends and go visiting!

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    1. We all enjoyed it, and it certainly wasn't the last time we came back - we already have plans for our next meeting!

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  7. It looks like a charming, sleepy place, although I was rather sad about the cafe. Five or six years! it looks so well cared for....
    I clicked on your old post which I had in fact seen before but I enjoyed re-reading. (I still like that short hairstyle)
    It must have been brilliant going to librarian school in that way. A good way to train young people too, giving the right mix of theoretical and practical. I don't believe they do it that way here, but they should.

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    1. It is mainly out of necessity that Librarian school was set up that way, becaue it is the only school teaching those subjects for all of Baden-Württemberg and they don't expect students to travel back and forth from the entire state for one day only. For most apprenticeships, practical training is interrupted by one day per week of theoretical training.
      Yes, we were a bit sad about the café, too. It was a lovely place with the terrace above the river.

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  8. Hey Meike!
    I love this post! All the photos are so pretty, it makes me feel like I was with you. I love the detail of the ceiling that you took at the little church.
    I also clicked on your old post and I am still surprised at how much I liked your hair cut short and blonde!
    Now, I am waiting for a post for when you go to your parent's allotment! (I think that was one of the first of yours that I ever read!)
    Did you have a nice Mother's Day, by the way?

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    1. Hey Kay,
      it's been to chilly and rainy for us to visit the allotment on the days when we would have time for it, but I am sure there will be occasion for that soon.
      We didn't do anything particular about Mother's Day. My Mum says she wants us to love her all year round, not just the one day. But I still spent good part of the day with her, we went to the opening of a new museum in our town together, complete with snacks and champagne, a band playing and lots of people wandering around in and outside the building, and then a short walk through the park.

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  9. Meike your photos just keep getting better and better and what lovely subjects you have on your walks. I'm so impressed with the beauty all around you. My mother visited the Black Forest area in the '60s and said she felt like she was in an enchanted area.

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    1. Thank you, Jill! The Black Forest area is certainly very picturesque, but I don't think I would want to live there - it's really VERY gloomy on a dark, grey day. I remember from my time at Librarian school that sometimes the heavy clouds would get "stuck" in the deep valleys and not lift for days.

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  10. I enjoyed this post very much.both from the personal and geographical points of view. I, too, had read your previous post before.

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    1. Thank you! I do not post as frequently these days as I used to; all the more it matters to me that my readers do enjoy what I post.

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