Sunday, December 11, 2011

Esslingen am Neckar II

The banks of the Neckar river near Stuttgart are devoted heavily to wine production, a custom supposedly dating to Roman times when the legions stationed in Germania were reluctant to go without their daily ration of booze, necessitating some local production.

They missed some
To tie in to the previous post, wine is a major industry especially in Esslingen, both historically and in the modern day. A company claiming to be Germany's oldest manufacturer of Sekt (sparkling wine) is even based there.
Cherub sitting on wine casket with glass of wine in one hand and hitting himself on the head with a hammer held in the other: 19th century representation of a hangover? 
The vines are cultivated on steep slopes, which have been terraced to mitigate erosion

Weinberg. The reddish tinge is from dead leaves, and also the weathering of the underlying Triassic redbeds that make up the soil
The terraces have been modified to make a series of footpaths, which run for enormous distances parallel to the river. There are beautiful views, and it's also good exercise because you have to climb up there first. There are little signs saying what type of grapes are being grown, and which label owns the holdings so it's even somewhat educational.

Nothing to do with what I was talking about but the sky actually looks blue in this one
 I can only imagine how nice it would be in the spring time, but I would just like to point out that it's not really winter here yet. And that there are at least two kinds of shrub that think December is a good time to flower . . . . because there are so many pollinators? That's okay, I don't mind if winter doesn't ever arrive.

Take that, Berlin

Esslingen am Neckar I

I realized that for months now I haven't done anything but enjoy my routine at home on weekends, so I decided to do a day trip. I chose the city of Esslingen, in the Stuttgart metropolitan region.
 There were two reasons Esslingen was the choice even though I went there last year: firstly, it has a famous Medieval market/Christmas market, and secondly the city museum was having a special exhibition on Celtic gold. Coincidentally, there was also an ichthyosaur there . . . . at least I find my obsession enjoyable.

The Christmas market was mostly just horribly crowded, which I should have guessed from past experience
Ye Aulde Weihnachtsmarkt, and Esslingen city hall
the city museum was pretty ordinary, with the exception of this gorgeous piece - guess what it is?

Possibly the most unique item in the Esslingen city museum
At first I thought it was a medieval style of toilet, but then, after having read the caption, it became clear that in the medieval period, it was a popular way to give birth (I didn't notice the stirrups at first).  And now it's immortalized for all time.

The big draw of Esslingen is is both really really pretty and close to Stuttgart.

Half-timbered madness
It is also a wine city having a nice series of southwest facing slopes along the Neckar river; more on this in the next post.

I love the pedway connecting the steeples