05 April, 2016

Easter Sunday in Schwäbisch Hall

As promised in my post from last week, here is part two of my Easter weekend travels! Easter Sunday, the second of two days of day trips, was spent in the adorable little city of Schwäbisch Hall. This post will be mostly pictures, because they can describe the beauty better than I ever could.

When we (Maxim, his parents and sister, and me) arrived in Schwäbisch Hall it was a bit cloudy, so the first set of pictures are fairly dark. We were afraid that we would have a dreary day for sightseeing, but the weather was in our favor and shortly after our arrival the sun came out.

At first we wandered around the downtown area, with the ulterior motive of finding a cafe so we could enjoy the most wonderful of German traditions, Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake). Like many German towns, Schwäbisch Hall has a walkable, pedestrian-only downtown area with beautifully cobbled streets, which I just adore.

At the top of the hill in the previous photo, the view opened up into a plaza surrounded by beautiful buildings in a variety of styles, including a large church at the top of the hill. This panoramic view gives the Marktplatz in Hildesheim a run for its money!

View from the top of the church steps.

After visiting the inside of the church, we got our sought-after Kaffee und Kuchen. Since it was Easter most of the stores and cafes were closed, but the cafe next to the church was thankfully open and had a large selection of yummy cakes. Then when we came outside the sky was blue and the sun was shining! In the sunlight the gorgeous buildings really shine, and I couldn't help taking even more pictures.

The building on the left houses the cafe where we had coffee and cake.

From there we continued our wandering and came across even more stunning architecture. Our walk took us back down the hill we'd come up and down to the river.

View from the riverbank.

We walked along the river taking in the sights and then followed a path back up the hill, where we saw some buildings perched very precariously on the hillside. The walk then took us back through the beautiful plaza and down the pedestrian street we first walked up.

At the other end of the pedestrian street was an amazing view. I can't get over how awesome and German all the buildings look, and the next picture really sums up the flavor of Schwäbisch Hall for me. The traditional wooden buildings, the old stone tower and the water combine to make this a truly stunning view.

The last stop of the day for Maxim and me was a quick pitstop at the bar in the pinkish building in the middle of the picture. We shared a beer, quickly took in the sights from the other side of the river, and then rejoined Maxim's family for the trip home.

From the first glimpse on the drive into town, Schwäbisch Hall captivated me. I had my camera out so often to try to capture every building and every street, because I was afraid of missing any of the charming things we saw. As a result, I took way more pictures than would fit in a blog post and had to pick and choose which ones made the cut. If you would like to see the rest of the pictures I took in Schwäbisch Hall as well as the ones from our excursions to Beilstein and Löwenstein the previous day, you can head over to my Dropbox album of photos from Easter weekend.

Something I can't help but think about whenever I see such beautiful, typically German architecture is that, if it hadn't been for World War II, pretty much all of Germany could look like that. Of course there still would have been newer buildings built since the 1940s that would reflect the style of their time, but if the war hadn't been so destructive (mainly because of American and British bombing), so much more of the traditional German architecture would have survived to this day. I've had this thought in many of the cities and towns I've seen in Germany, but it's never been quite as obvious as it was in Schwäbisch Hall exactly what Germany might still look like if history had worked out differently.

But alas, there's nothing I can do to change history. I am, at the very least, glad that there are still remaining gems like Schwäbisch Hall to provide a peek into what Germany used to look like. And I'm so glad that I got a chance to visit and see it for myself.

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