Day 305: Lorsch AbbeyDecember 16, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ☁️ 4 °C
Another day trip out of Heidelberg today. They've all been long trips, and we're both feeling quite tired and run-down I think, definitely ready for a day off tomorrow. Today's trip was to the Abbey and Altenmunster of Lorsch, a town an hour outside of Heidelberg. So our usual early start, then two trains as we arrived around 10:30am.
This is a very small site. In contrast to yesterday's large monastery complex, this was a large complex of which almost nothing remains. The only real building left is known as the Konigshalle, or the King's Hall, but its actual purpose is unknown. The building dates from the 8th century, and is one of the only still-standing examples of Carolingian architecture.
What's interesting is that despite the monastery being at the centre of several religious conflicts, disputes between lords and priests, the Reformation, and then the Franco-Prussian wars of the 18th century, it has survived basically intact. Even when Spanish troops burned down the rest of the monastery, this building wasn't touched. And after the fires and destruction, when the villagers were looting stones from the burned buildings to rebuilt their homes, nobody tore down the King's Hall. Very odd.
We did a guided tour at 11am; as with the other day at Messel we were the only participants so the nice lady spoke English for us instead. She had a few gaps in her vocabulary, but I helped a little and we got the gist of it. The best part was going inside the hall - quite plain, though with very faded paintings inside from the Carolingian era. The guide was a history blogger too, and after the tour we exchanged details.
Had a quick look in the museum at an exhibit on kitchens and bathrooms over the centuries, then checked out the kirchefragment (church fragment) on top of the hill. The monastery had an enormous church, but only a small part of it remains and the restorations on it only finished this year so that was lucky.
Also did a two kilometre walk through the fields to the Altenmunster, or the old church. Not much to see here, just the rough stone base of an original church dating from the 8th century. Though the curators had also helpfully provided an outline of the original monastery using turf mounds - quite innovative I thought.
We walked back through the vegetable gardens to the station. I haven't mentioned these before I don't think, but they're extremely common in Germany. Because most people live in apartments, gardens and yards are uncommon. Instead, people rent small plots of land on the outskirts of cities and use them to grow vegetables, do gardening, entertain the kids etc. It's a bit odd, but a very common sight - essentially a rented backyard outside the city I guess. Makes for a nice little walk.
Back to the station where we had to wait 45 minutes for the train and with no options for coffees or snacks. So we just sat there under a shelter in the cold. At least it wasn't raining or snowing! It's rained on and off for the past few days, as usual, but hasn't snowed for quite a while which is good.
Home for the evening where we made fajitas for dinner, something a little fancier since we've got a decent kitchen. I did some video work as well, since I'd been very slack and hadn't touched any since Hamburg. That's what happens I guess when you have six weeks of content lined up, the pressure to produce goes away and you just ignore it! Well I do, anyway. I know someone who definitely doesn't do that!Read more