Sunday, July 12, 2009


[click to enlarge] We have been taking so many pictures this summer that I often constipate my poor laptop. So I am certainly going to post as many of them as possible. Click on the collages if you want. Tubingen was a darling and photogenic town. It's like a cross between Cambridge and Mendocino (the flowers everywhere -- even on the church! who puts windowboxes on a church?). It is an old university town in Baden-Wurtemburg in the area of Swabia which is by the black forest. It is built around the Neckar river, which is really a small stream where they go punting; the boats are called stockkahns or stick boats. In the center of town is a house where Goethe stayed while he was here for a week visiting his publisher. They put up a plaque to commemorate it. The house next door put up a sign that says "Hier kotzte Goethe" or 'Goethe puked here'.
We just walked along, letting the tide of people carry us into the markt or plaza at the center of town, in front of the Rathaus. By then it was 9:30 or 10:00, and we stopped at a restaurant and had dinner. I got a maultasche, which is a local specialty in Swabia. It is a cross between a giant ravioli and a savory strudel. Mine had cheese and spinach and onions and a mushroom sauce, and now I want to learn how to make them -- it was marvelous. Poor Joss woke up near the end of dinner, incredulous that this day had not yet ended, and that he was still in his stroller. We got him home as soon as we could, finding happily that our luggage had arrived during our absence. So we set up his portacrib and got him to bed at 11:00pm.
[click to enlarge] The next morning Rob visited the university and classrooms, library and met instructors from the intensive German course. His hostess was Daniela, a colleague from his Berkeley/Tubingen/Vienna/Harvard working group. He is enthusiastic about the program because students can get so much credit for so little money living here for a month. He was impressed with everything except his maultasche for lunch -- he said mine had been better the night before! I stayed with Joss in the hotel and let him sleep off his nightmare of a day before. After three and a half hours, he was a new man.

[click to enlarge] Thursday afternoon Daniela took us to the cloister at Bebenhausen, just outside of town. It has been around since the 11th century. They decided at one point that the church was too large and they chopped half of it off, using the stones for the Hohentubingen palace. Both of these properties belonged to the King of Baden-Wurtemburg, who lived until 1921. He was a popular ruler who used to walk his dog in the park and people would greet him as "Herr Konig" or "Mr. King". After WWII a relation used the property to hide a friend of hers who happened to be the head of the Luftwaffe, and he hid here until his death, sometime in the fifties. It's a beautiful place, now used for summer concerts and weddings and parties.
After we left Daniela, we parked on the other side of town and made another exploration across Tubingen, ending sheepishly in front of the same restaurant where we'd eaten the night before and having another maultasche. Why mess with a good thing? In fact, why not get another ciabatta and cheese and some cherries? (We did that too!)
[click to enlarge] After dinner and again the next morning, we visited Schloss Hohentubingen at the crest of the hill. This has some great renaissance aspects on the outside, and an impressive collection of antiquities in the museum inside. It's also used as a conference center and houses some departments of the univeristy. Also up here at the top of the hill are several of the fraternities. They are incredibly old institutions, and here they keep some of the really old traditions. Like wearing their house ribbons. And sword fighting. I told Rob that if he wants to keep his children speaking German, a swordfighting fraternity at a German university is quite a carrot.
[click to enlarge] Our last day there, Rob visited another friend, Klaus, who lives in Tubingen. He and his partner, Elke lived in our apartment when we went to Utah. They had a little boy, Florenz, born the same day as Maddie. Then they had a girl two days off of Will's birthday, and another girl, Nora, the same age as Sebi. They talked shop and had a nice visit. They live in this great apartment over an organic store and have a 1/20 share of a car. I would love a 1/20 share of a car, but I cannot imagine sharing our car with anyone in the condition we keep our interiors.
We finished with a stop for eis and tried the "carbonara" which is like spaghetti eis only all chocolate and nuts. We all liked it quite a lot, and that whole pile of chocolatey goodness was gone in a flash. We meandered back through town and said goodbye to the town. But we will be back . . .

1 comment:

Frau Magister said...

Matt and I think that top picture of Rob should be his faculty photo. Or maybe on the dust jacket of his next book.