Monday, 24 February 2014

A SUNday living up to its name

That is exactly what we had yesterday: A Sunday of sunny blue skies and the typical early-spring mixture of warmth once you were in the sun and chilliness as soon as you were in the shadow of a building or behind trees.
My original plan had been to go for the same walk described here, but then my sister convinced me that it was a much better idea to have a look at the first flowers in the palace grounds than to walk on the still rather bleak and featureless fields.

We arrived to much beauty, and thankfully, not too many people in the park, since it was lunch time.




The carp living in the fountain of the palace's inner courtyard are very old, and very big - some of them have about the length and width of one of my thighs! Sometimes in the summer, I put my arm in and give them a little stroke. They come up and look at you and you wonder what goes on behind those eyes.


This building (which never really was anything but a ruin, put there on purpose back in the days when it was fashionable for members of the aristrocacy to have a few "ancient ruins" in their landscaped parks) is where my Mum will have her 70th birthday celebration in August. Weather permitting, we'll have champagne out on the lawn in front (not visible here) and a posh dinner inside.

One of my recent posts showed the trailer of an exhibition about the connection between the Royal House of Württemberg and the Russian Tsars. In that post, I said that we did not get to see the exhibition because we would have had to queue about an hour for the tickets alone, and nobody in our group of friends was willing to do that. But my sister went to see the exhibition last week, and told me about it. We talked about some of the people from that time and were not quite sure who was the one who had a monument to his closes friend erected on the old cemetery, so we decided to walk over there and have a look.

I wrote about this monument here in 2010; it was Friedrich, the first king of Württemberg.


We also paid a visit to the tomb of the last king of Württemberg (Wilhelm - not Friedrich; thanks to my sister who pointed out my error) and were amazed at how neglected it looks. Couldn't the state of Württemberg afford to pay a gardener to take care of its last king's last resting place? Not a single flower in sight!


Generally, the Old Cemetery (as opposed to the New Cemetery next door, which is still in use) is a park today. There are the tombs of some locally famous people there, plus monuments to the dead from the two World Wars and the 1870/71 war between France and Germany.


The oldest tomb still identifiable (there must have been some older ones, but their stones and exact locations are lost) is this one from 1768, for a man who was born in 1688. The town itself is not much older, the foundation for the palace having been laid in 1704 (and it took a few decades because anything resembling a town formed around it).


We met this little fellow on the way out and back to the park. He was not in the least bothered by us, and we were really close.

All in all, we walked for about 3 hours. It felt so good being out in the sun!

28 comments:

  1. Hello Meike:

    What a fascinating walk it turned out to be and very different from strolling across virtually empty fields.

    Cemeteries intrigue us hugely and we are fascinated, as clearly you are, to look for tombs of interest. Here in Budapest we have the most splendid cemetery, Kerepesi, which contains the most splendid monuments, many dating from the C19.

    The place you have chosen for your mother's 70th Birthday celebrations looks to be both unusual and charming. We shall hope to hear more about it all nearer and after the event.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance,
      You will indeed see and hear more about the 70th Birthday celebrations! We know there is still plenty of time until August, but we deliberately started early with choosing a suitable location so that there won't be any last-minute rushing about.
      Cemeteries have always held a special fascination for me. I never found anything spooky about them. Kerepesi sounds like a place well worth visiting; maybe you have talked about it on your blog in the past? I must go and have a look.

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  2. This looks a wonderful place to spend a day.
    I wish our squirrels were as tame.

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    1. This one was very helpful! My sister and I were looking for the tomb of a locally well-known philosopher and couldn't find it. Jokingly, my sister said something like "Little squirrel, will you show us the way?" and guess what - he did! After he had finished his meal, he skipped along the path, the two of us in tow, and lead us straight to David Friedrich (yes, yet another Friedrich..) Strauss' tomb. Only then did it disappear behind some trees.

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    1. It definitely felt like it in the sun, Fi!

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  4. A very enjoyable post Arian. Great pictures - especially the one of the carp in the fountain pool. Sounds as if you and your sister did as much talking as you did walking! But isn't it so psychologically uplifting when you have walked for so long and seen so much in good weather? You have inspired me to throw my boots in the car and go for a two hour stroll right now.

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    1. Thank you, YP! I am glad my post inspired you to go for a walk - usually, it is the other way round. Yes, it felt very, very good to be out in the fresh air (as fresh as it gets in our densely populated and industralized part of Germany) and the sun, and to talk about many different subjects. Although we live only a 10-minute-walk apart, my sister and I don't see each other all that often.

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  5. Doesn't the sun make a difference? Glad you had such a lovely walk.

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    1. It makes a huge difference, Frances! Just getting up and walking into my sunlit kitchen first thing in the morning makes me feel so much more full of energy than when it is all dull and grey out there.

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  6. What a lovely walk! Old cemeteries are so fascinating.

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  7. It looks beautiful. You are much closer to spring than we are here! I am trying to remember what the park looked like to me in the early '70s. Your mother is just a bit older than I am. I'll have my 70th birthday in January 2015! I am already sending her some early good wishes!

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    1. The allover look of the park has not changed since the '70s, Kristi. They have done some minor modifications, but you'd still recognize it. The outside walls of the palace used to be painted in a golden-orangey yellow with white window frames, but at some stage in the late 1980s or early 90s, it was decided to go back to what it originally looked like. Old documents stated that the window frames were brown (wood) and the plaster was painted in a pale lemony yellow. So that is what it looks like now.
      Thank you for the early good wishes - never too early for that!

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  8. There is something absolutely fascinating about old cemeteries - and even newer ones sometimes. I love them. I like the idea of turning one into a park. Oddly enough I walked round the old Napier Cemetery a few weeks ago with the intention of doing a blog post on some of the more interesting graves there. Doubtless I'll do it eventually.

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    1. Please do, Graham! I would very much like to see it.

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  9. It sounds very much as if your sister had the right idea here. What a lot of interesting things to see. I like old cemeteries too - they have an atmosphere all of their own. I get sorry when people try to "tidy them up" too much!. I'm glad you had some sun. We did too, thank goodness. It was wonderful :)

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    1. Oh yes, my sister did indeed have the right idea there! And like you, I don't want to see such a place too neat and tidy, much as I love my own place to be just that.

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  10. What a beautiful walk and surroundings. Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures. Are red squirrels common in Germany? We have so few left here all we see are grey now.

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    1. Until not that long ago, we only had the red squirrels; they are the native species. But I do hear worrying reports of grey squirrels starting to take over in some areas. So far, none of them where I live.
      Glad you liked our walk!

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  11. I love old cemeteries and I really don’t want them to be all polished and spick and span. They are much more romantic when left to decay a bit. Not too much, of course, I AM German, after all.

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    1. Friko, I know exactly what you mean! I want them to be overgrown and neglected to a certain degree, too, but I don't want to see litter around.

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  12. Sorry I am just now telling you how much I love this post!
    What a gorgeous day, and I know exactly what you mean about the difference from being in the sun as opposed to the shade, you feel quite chilled in the shade but step into the light and the warmth is fantastic!
    That squirrel looks so different from the ones here, yours has black on its ears and such a black tail!

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    1. Our squirrels are a different species, Kay, and unfortunately, the grey "American" ones endanger the indigenous kind wherever they appear, being bigger and stronger. So, much as I like (nearly) all animals, I hope there won't be any grey squirrels in my area anytime soon.
      It was indeed a gorgeous day, and I am glad we made the most of it!

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    2. Oh yes, I do know that it is a different species. I know more about squirrels than I want to know! If you feed the birds here, they are a real nuisance. They are rats with hands!
      I meant to say that they look very much like the grey squirrel here, except with black tail and tufty black ears, I am always struck by the similarites rather than the differences, but I never say exactly what I mean! HA! :-)
      Hoping more SUNdays for you!

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    3. The grey squirrel is, in total appearance, larger and "rounder", even in their little faces. You are right, squirrels can be a nuisance - ask any couple of parenting birds trying to defend their nest from them! Years ago, I witnessed a couple of crows chasing after a squirrel who had just stolen an egg from their nest. The squirrel was running for its life, and the crows were trying to defend the life of their (as yet unhatched) child... it was dramatic, but I'm afraid the squirrel got away with the egg.

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  13. Gorgeous pictures, and the sky is blue, such a deep blue, even here we have not had such sunny days recently. They are now predicting storms for this weekend. Have a nice weekend, thank you for stopping by.

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    1. By the looks of it, we're in for a mixed weather weekend with anything from rain to sunshine. I woke up to the beautiful song of the blackbird. I hope the storms won't be too bad in your area!

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