Our first stop was the ruins of Burg Hoheneck (castle "High Corner"), rising high above Hoheneck, now a suburb of Ludwigsburg although it is many centuries older than the city. [Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a bit of history, if you are interested.]
The ruins are privately owned and fenced off; you can walk right up to its walls but not go inside. I wonder - should I try and find out who the owners are, and befriend them so that I can have a proper look?
Great views from there in all directions:
|Wolfgangskirche ("Wolfgang's church") in Hoheneck|
|The vineyards on the sweeping slopes of the Neckar valley are characteristical for this area. This is the view north, towards Marbach.|
|Looking southwards (Stuttgart way) along the river, you can see a large freight barge just approaching the bridge.|
Another tree had its own decoration:
|What's this? A rocket base near Ludwigsburg?|
As it was only about the size of a large dove, it can't have been a buzzard. Could it have been a kestrel? Or a milan? My Dad will know if my Mum shows him this post, I am sure!
The slope is not as gentle as it looks in some of my pictures. In fact, it is very steep in places, as you can see from these glimpses down the narrow stone steps:
Imagine to work this vineyard, climbing up and done in the hot sun! No chance to get there with machines, it all has to be done (and still is) by hand.
The "rocket" comes to view again. I've known this sight from when I was a little girl. It is a power plant and took up work in 1941. The "rocket" is a chimney. It was built in the early 1970s and is 160 m (525 ft) high.
Remember: these pictures were taken at the end of December, not in April!
Across the river, a great view of the Deutsche Literaturarchiv (Archive of German Literature) and Schiller Nationalmuseum in Marbach:
This is such a fascinating place, it well deserves its own post. But I'm afraid you'll have to wait until next year for that :-)
For the way back, we chose the path at river level, offering us a different perspective of what we'd seen from above.
No better way (in my opinion) to spend a sunny afternoon this time of year!
Here's the bit of history I promised earlier:
There was a Roman villa on the site of Hoheneck, with parts of it still actively being used until the 2nd century. I posted about those remains in 2013.
In medieval times, Hoheneck became a proper settlement around the castle, which was probably started around the year 1200. The castle and village (then enclosed by strong walls) changed hands a few times through marriage and other political moves. Already by the end of the 14th century, the castle was not inhabited anymore and fell in disrepair.
Most of the time, Hoheneck seems to have been a quiet place, where agriculture and vineyards offered a living to the people. As small as the village was, it had a church and two wine presses.
During the Thirty Years' War, Hoheneck was plundered and burnt down almost completely.
When Ludwigsburg was being built and established as a city (even though it only had a handful of houses to begin with), Hoheneck officially came under its administration in 1719.
In 1892, a water power plant was built. Digging in the ground, the workers found a natural spring of brine, and by 1907, the first spa bath opened, along with concert halls, hotels and restaurants for the visitors.
Today, Hoheneck has about 5.000 inhabitants. It shows a well preserved old centre with timbered houses, and I think I should show you some more of it. For a glimpse of the old church, you can look at this post from 2012.