A huge stone wall, a tower with five fingers, and a sunny day in the big city...
Bad Münster am Stein
Less than 10 miles away from Rockenhausen an the Nahe River lies the little town of Bad Münster am Stein, part of the city of Bad Kreuznach. I noticed a couple of impressive red stone formations from the train and Hans and Mary said there was even more. So the next afternoon we made our way over there after lunch. As it turns out, across the river from the formations I saw earlier is that largest stone cliff north of the Alps. It was really impressive, and we drove along the base of it and then walked along the edge of the cliff – the partly cloudy skies made for extremely striking lighting effects. It was a great way to wind up the visit in the Pfalz, and Hans and Mary took me to Heusenstamm near Frankfurt on Saturday, October 1.
From Hermann and Lydia's in Heusenstamm, we took a short drive down to the city of Darmstadt, home of the pharmaceutical company, Merck, and a technical university. We went to see the Mathildenhöhe, a world cultural site, that includes the “5 finger” wedding tower and a host of other buildings constructed shortly after 1900 in the Art Deco style. The Wedding Tower commemorates the 1905 wedding of Princess Eleonore to Prince Ernst Ludwig. The tower was completed three years after the wedding, and is still the place where the “Standesamt” is located, where the civil wedding ceremonies are conducted. We went up the tower, and the views were quite clear, so you could easily see the skyline of Frankfurt, the Taunus range, the Donnersberg and the Pfälzer Wald in the Pfalz, as well as towards Heidelberg in the south.
On our way out of town we stopped and walked around the Hundertwasserhaus on the north side of Darmstadt. The building’s style reminded me of a similar house he designed in Vienna. We drove past the school where Hermann used to teach (Weibelfeldschule) on our journey back to Heusenstamm.
Frankfurt am Main
It takes 20 minutes to get from Heusenstamm to the central part of Frankfurt by train. I walked up and down the Zeil, the main shopping street, spent 90 minutes in my favorite bookstore, Hugendubel, had coffee, grabbed a Bratwurst, and soaked up some sun. Some casualties of the pandemic are the department stores, Kaufhof and Karstadt. They are now under the same umbrella and called “Galeria”. I noticed that the downstairs grocery stores in the department stores aren’t nearly as extravagant as they were before, and the displays and clothing racks throughout are not as packed as they used to be. There are still lots of people walking the pedestrian mall, and the area around the Römer looked stunning bathed in the afternoon sun. It was by far the warmest day so far, and I got most of my shopping completed.
Bad Münster am Stein, top to bottom, left to right:
Row 1: looking up the Nahe valley; with Hans and Mary
Row 2: stone cliff; stone cliff; looking at Bad Münster from cliff
Row 3: stone cliff
Darmstadt, top to bottom, left to right
Row 1: with Hermann at Hunderwasserhaus; Hundertwasserhaus
Row 2: Wedding Tower at Mathildenhöhe; Russian Chapel at Mathildenhöhe; Mathildenhöhe
Row 3: Views from the Wedding Tower - Taunus Hills in the background
Frankfurt, top to bottom, left to right
Row 1: Roasted nut and candy stand; Römer and Justice fountain; St. Paul's Cathedral
Row 2: My Zeil shopping center; Frankfurt Opera House
Row 3: We Love Frankfurt Photo Op