This was our 1st view of
it was rainy and
foggy, this was our
only view of
The town of Villingen as seen from the hill right above the house. Note the
church steeples and towers surrounding the original village. The population
is about 40,000.
This is just to the east. We’ll see more of this later.
Monday we went down to the village. Parking is very scarce inside and only
allowed at all on a few streets so we parked just outside.
The post you see with the blue & white sign is where you purchase a parking
permit. It’s coin operated. You get a ticket which is then placed on the dashboard of
the car. I didn’t see very many parking meters.
Here we’re about the enter the village. You can see one of the towers that provide an
entrance and some of the attached stone wall
This is some more of the wall. Note the modern structure just inside. That’s Uschi &
Here you can see some of the fortification with slots for firing weapons.
Inside, this is one of the streets that obviously does allow parking and limited traffic.
I saw the TOTO sign and thought I was back in Kansas. That’s some kind of lottery
This is one of the side streets or back alleys. These are homes intermixed with
Notice the cars parked up on the sidewalk because of the narrow streets. This is
common all over Germany.
Here are some of the stores with residences above them. The inside of the stores are
very modern, but the outside façade has to remain original.
Looking down an alley. You can see one of the towers at the end.
caught my eye
because of the
balconies on the
These large evergreen trees are brought down from the forest and placed into holes in
the street. They are held up by driving wooden wedges all around the base.
Here’s one of the towers. Notice that the clock face is green colored.
And here is a red one.
Here is the blue one. If you get lost all you have to do is remember the color of the clock
where you came in.
Here’s the girls waiting on me, as usual.
We had cappuccino in this beautiful building. They also serve pastries and ice cream.
Uschi’s dog just laid under the table. He went into every store with us…no problem.
This is the cathedral
tower that can be seen
from the house. Here is
where Uschi’s daughter,
Steffi, was married.
Here’s one side of the church. Notice the large courtyard surrounding it. This is where
the market is held.
Here’s the other side of the courtyard. This is also where the Renaissance Festival was
held during Steffi’s wedding.
And looking the other direction.
One of the statues in the courtyard.
Originally there was a monastery attached to each tower. This is the courtyard of one of
You can see the old monastery along the side of this tower.
This is the entrance to the courtyard of this particular monastery. Oddly, or maybe not,
they were all different orders of monks.
These are steps
leading up to the
tower, built in 1260.
Well worn after
centuries of use.
Uschi and Kathy preparing to leave through the tower walkway.
Tuesday we went to Schwenningen. The two towns are about 3 miles apart, in different
counties, under one local government. Villingen was predominately Catholic. During the
30-year war in the early 1600’s, a group of protestants attacked Villingen but were
repulsed so they formed Schwenningen. The good folks of Villingen then attacked them
and burned it down.
Later a toll booth was built and a fee was charged to pass from Schwenningen to
On our way home we stopped at a cemetery. Because of the lack of space, bodies
are now cremated and placed on this wall.
In the cemetery is a
chapel. This tower can
be seen from Uschi’s
house. It’s just a few
This structure was built
in the 1100’s.
Horst, Kathy & Lyle standing beside this ancient monument.
Wednesday morning was bright & clear. Kathy is taking a walk on the path just above
Lyle on the same path.
This is where we will
watch the fireworks on
New Year’s Eve.
On the way to Freiburg we passed the remains of an old fort. Not much left now.
One of the beautiful scenes along the road to Freiburg.
A typical farm house along the road.
These are actually house, barn & hay loft all in one building.
This is what’s known as an onion spire or steeple because of its unique shape. We saw
many of this style throughout Germany.
More scenery on the way to Freiburg.
This is one of many Guest Houses we saw. This one is called “The Cold House”.
Supposedly some guest actually froze to death while staying here.
This was taken at a pull-over along the road.
Notice how steep the slope down is.
Uschi and Kathy in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald)
Kathy bought me a new cap after seeing this photo.
A typical landscape. Notice that the huge old house has a modern solar panel on the
Another gorgeous scene along the road.
The Christmas Market in Freiburg. Vendors selling hand-crafted gifts and ornaments.
Yes, we had a sausage from a food vendor. The building is the Court House.
The tower for the cathedral. It took two shots to show it all.
Here’s a couple of
other photos, just to
show how massive it
It took about 400 years
to complete this building
and it is constantly under
Here’s another view around the courtyard of the beautifully adorned buildings.
On the way home, I had to pee so Uschi pulled over to the side of the road and I went
over the bank. I took a picture of the stream. (Ahem)
Thursday Moni picked us up and we had lunch with Rudolf then went to see where the
girls grew up.
This was a very fine house when it was built. Three bedrooms upstairs, close to school.
This is the clearing you saw in the distance in an earlier picture.
This Villingen as seen from part way up that hill where the girls used to play and ski.
Moni & Kathy heading up the path toward a section of the Black Forest.
After we passed through the woods we could see another village. You can barely make
out the Swiss Alps in the distance.
Walking west along a mustard field that is harvested and used as fertilizer.
When what to my wondering eyes appeared, a huge mound known as Magdalenenberg.
This is a Celtic burial mound which dates to 616 B.C. It was built originally to bury the
Prince but later became the settlement cemetery. Grave robbers got to it sometime, but
in the 1900’s archeologists reopened it and discovered several other chambers with
artifacts and indications that a total of 127 had been buried there.
This shows that it was constructed with hand-hewn oak dragged up from below, then
covered with stones and dirt. It took 15 years just to cover it. The Celts did not stay long.
Nobody knows why they left.
Here is a brief synopsis written in German. I don’t expect you to be able to read it.
A few more strides and we’re looking back down toward Villingen.
275 year old oak tree surrounded by a fence for protection.
After the walk back down the mountain, we visited a park where the girls used to go. The
swimming pool is still there along with a restaurant and convention headquarters.
Moni & Kathy in front of a fountain. There’s also a healing spa located not far away.
It’s Sunday, Christmas Eve. This is Omi, Germany’s affectionate term for Grandmother.
Advent wreath with burning candles hanging in the entryway to the livingroom.
Heat from the candles turn the propeller which rotates the little scenes inside.
Uschi & Kathy trimming the Christmas Tree Sunday morning.
Surveying their handy work. Almost done.
Kathy & Omi give their final approval of the Christmas Tree.
Christmas morning. This is a view of the house. As you can see it’s multi-leveled
because it’s built on a hill, and like most German homes, narrow lots.
This view is from the lower entrance into Horst’s office.
This is actually 2 homes. The upper two tiers are another residence. Horst is an architect
and built this and several other homes in this area.
This satellite photo from Google almost got it right. Right name, wrong house.
Getting ready to eat. Some wine has already been poured and Horst is opening a bottle
Patrick, Steffi’s husband, and their two children; Niki and her daughter. Her husband,
Peter, and their son were not in attendance.
Steffi, Patrick, Niki, Uschi, Omi (Matilda), Kathy
Kathy, Horst, Steffi, Patrick, Niki (barely). Omi and Uschi with their backs to us.
Sybille, works for an international company; Deiter, a border guard; Moni, designs
kitchens; Rudolf, a school administrator; Kathy, takes care of Lyle.
Tuesday we went to Moni’s for fondue.
Moni’s other daughter, Alyce, and Rudolf
She is a corporate attorney.
Kathy and Alyce’s partner, Joe. He’s from Portugal and is about to finish his degree as a
Wednesday. The sun was shining in the morning and the whole landscape was
It was beautiful but I’m glad we stayed home most of the day.
As you might have guessed, these photos were taken from Uschi’s house.
Later that day we drove to a nearby village to visit some friends and have lunch. This is
a church tower just a block from their house. They are both retired physicians.
After lunch we took a walk. About wore me out, but we did come across this little
waterfall in the woods.
Thursday we traveled to a museum to visit old farm houses. Some of these are replicas,
but others were actually reconstructed from the original buildings.
These are from different areas but all similar in design. Barn on the bottom, living
quarters in the middle, hay loft on top. Built into a hill so you can drive into the loft.
These would house multiple generations, perhaps 15-20 people. Heat from the animals
below helped warm the living quarters in the middle and the loft above was insulation
Here we are sitting beside the only source of heat in the whole building. It’s a wood
burning stove. They actually slept on those benches and atop the stove in the winter
to keep warm. Tiled covered stoves like this are still in use in many homes.
This is a barley processor. Don’t ask me how it works.
And of course, the sleigh for the ride over the river and through the woods.
View from the loft back up another hill.
Wagon used to haul lumber and a saw for cutting the smaller logs. The saw was belt
driven using a water wheel.
This is a typical vegetable garden.
Notice the neat little rows.
A larger version and more elaborate garden.
A cutaway version of a charcoal oven.
Here is the community bakery where the ladies would take their bread to be baked.
In this museum area was also a small skating rink. Here you can see the children
enjoying the day.
A pretty view from the bridge crossing the river into the museum park.
The river which runs alongside between the highway and the park.
That evening we went to a pizza place in Donaueschingen with Rudolf & Moni and some
of their family.
Freely translated: The water is for turning the wheel. Don’t drink it.
Saturday Kathy & I spent the afternoon walking around downtown. The courtyard is filled
with vendors, like a farmers market. Everything from tents to fancy trailers.
On the main streets, stores had their wares out in front, much like our sidewalk sales,
only this is a common occurrence.
This is some kind of museum, but we didn’t go in.
Another gaily painted store.
This is a theatre just outside the walls of downtown. Kathy’s father used to run this. It
had movies as well as stage shows.
Looking back into the
village through one of
the towers. We had
hoped to eat at that
restaurant, but it was
closed for a few days.
Another view of the village through the tower entrance.