Thursday, May 27, 2010

Roman Open-Air Museum, Villa Rustica, Hechingen-Stein, Germany

In 1971, the mayor of Stein, Germany, Gerd Schollian discovered the remains of a stone wall on a walk in the forest.
Never did he dream finding this stone wall would lead to the discovery of  a Roman farming estate buried under the ground for 1,700 years.
In Maine, where I am from, you can find lots of stone walls but, it's normal to find old garbage heaps at the end of those.  I did once find an old blue bottle at one of these rubbish sites exploring with Mrs. Duff.  She was showing the Morrill 4-H club the exciting things we could find hidden under the ground.
I often think I might have been become an archeologist if we'd discovered something like a villa, but sadly, America is too young a country to find Roman ruins and I didn't become an archeologist.

This Roman villa is a large open-aired home built in the style known as "Portciusvilla with Siderisalits"
Basically, this means a villa facing South with an East and West wing attached to it.
What is different about this villa than other ruins we have visited, is the restoration of part of  it.

Reconstruction of a Porticusvilla with Siderisalits.

The actual remains and part reconstruction of the villa today.

Reconstruction of the Roman dining room.  Remember in the Bible, Jesus was reclining at the table with the disciples.  Back then, you would lie down to eat with your head facing the table and your feet to the wall.  You can clearly see the ample room to lie down.  I wanted Mac to demonstrate but,

he clearly found a more comfortable spot.

A Roman bed and sleeping area. They have discovered that this villa was not the standard of the time.
It was superior in that it had walls which, were covered in plaster and decoratively painted.  It also boasted glass windows.  They have found the remains of large vases called amphora here. An Amphora is a type of ceramic vase with two handles and a long neck narrower than the body of the vase. These finds show that the residents of this villa were probably quite rich as they could afford wine from France and olive oil from Spain.

Mac was fascinated by the Roman locks.

Mac showing you the Roman key.

I find Roman baths quite fascinating. Aside from the fact they were co-ed,  did you know that Roman baths weren't just for hygiene purposes?
It's documented that the baths were a center to exchange news and gossip.  It's also known that  many business deals closed in the baths.
This picture shows the underfloor heating for the baths.
This bath was housed in a different building from the actual villa. Just because they lived on a farming villa didn't mean you gave up your luxuries!

A Roman bath consists of  4 rooms
1. Bathroom/toilets
2. Tepidarium, where one could change, rest ,exercise or get a massage
3. Caldarium, used as a steam bath
4. Frigidarium which, was the cold water to finish.
They have also discovered the technology of that day included faucets made from bronze, where cold and hot water could be mixed.

Here Mac and Jonny demonstrate that going to the bathroom together in a Roman toilet was normal.  Women went in with the men and Mac is showing you the sponge on a stick that was used for up after one's self.
Yes, that is how they did it folks!

This reconstruction gives you an idea of the workmanship. The walls of the villa were built and then plastered and painted.  On the top is how the roof was constructed.

They were training new volunteers while we were there.

This is a fab place to take the kids... as you can see.

They have a playground, but they also have Roman games for the children to play.

Another game.

We throughly enjoyed this museum and highly recommend it.
On August 13th and 14th of this year (2010) they will be holding a Roman Festival with demonstrations, food, drink and proper Roman fighting techniques.

72379 Hechingen-Stein
Telephone: 07471/6400

This webpage has a good history of the villa in English.  Since all the signs are in German, I recommend reading the history on-line or printing it out before you go.
Mac decided to forego the normal thumbs up.  Jonny and Mac are pointing you in the right direction to come see this fun open-air museum.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nagold in the Black Forest/ Restaurant Adler

 When you finish the "High Ropes" course at Icebergkaserne, why not take a ride into the center of Nagold?

Nagold is a city on the Eastern edge of the Black Forest. The first settlement, they feel, was about 4000 BC which was East of the modern city.  Celts settled by the river and named it "Nagold" which means "flowing water."
Nowadays, you can rent little paddle boats downtown for a river ride.
Tickets are available at the kiosk in the park.

Nagold is a beautiful village worthy of a look round.
for information on their Saturday jazz concerts.

Lovely old buildings in the city center.

Take a leisurely stroll.

They have four or five child-friendly fountains for kids to play in.
"Hmmmm... I found two big children named Mac and Jonny playing at this fountain.

This really was a fun fountain with the little mouse sat on top of the birds.

Another fountain to play in.

Jonny and Mac checking out another fountain. This one had children wading through it when we first got to Nagold.
If you bring children and intend to eat with them later, it might be prudent to bring a few changes of clothing.

We came to eat at the Hotel Post but, it was closed for a private event.
We had a drink there on the terrace, and we will most certainly come back and eat here another time.

We decided to wander around and look for another place to eat.
Jonny found a "snowboard" to clown around on.
I must say, the town has done a great job of making the pedestrian zone a place that children and parents want to linger in.

We finally decided on the Hotel Adler (Hotel Eagle) for our dinner.
Badstrasse 1
72202 Nagold
Telephone: 07452 8690 0200

Here's Jonny and Mac settling into this family owned restaurant.  It really was charming.
Prices were moderate but not cheap.

Jonny had the meat sampler plate with steak, turkey and pork.  The topped it off with crisp green beans wrapped in bacon.  Yum!

I had pan-fried pork and white asparagus with melted cheese

 Mac had the know, I think he's having too much red meat these days.

We ordered one dessert with three spoons.
Chocolate Mousse.  It was marvelous.
Jonny had a good time. He makes friends wherever he goes.

Nagold was a lovely village and the restaurant staff very friendly and eager to please.
Mac gives it two thumbs up!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

High Ropes Course in Nagold,Germany

In German this is know as the HOCHSEILGARTEN.
This high ropes course is free-standing and one of the largest in Southern Germany.
After training with instructors you can go on 5 different courses from easy to extremely difficult.

This course is located Am Eisberg
72202 Nagold
Telephone: 0175 277 2298
The course is rather expensive 27 Euro
Children must be 10 years old to go. They cost 15 euro
You can buy a family pass which is discounted 15%
There is a playground for younger children and 
they also offer team-building events for groups.

The course is located on the old Eisbergkaserne. This base is closed now but, at one time was home to German Airborne paratroopers.
Drive straight to the end of the base. Park your car.  Now you have about a half-mile walk to get to the course.

One of the local farmers had just put some sheep and lambs in a pasture.  They were so sweet to watch as we made our way down to the Hochseilgarten.

One black sheep with her little black lamb in the entire pasture of white sheep.
I am feeling a strange kinship.

Mac and Jonny receiving their training.
They don't take safety lightly here.  An instructor is always present up on the course to provide advice to each climber, should you need it.

Now the instructor takes you to a LOW practice place to make sure you understand what to do.

Jonny has it mastered.

Mac and Jonny starting the course.

If you have a fear of heights they offer a special program and take extra care with you.
Luckily Mac has NO FEAR!

Jonny showing off. There's one in every crowd.

Mac loves the course.

Mac on the climbing wall.

Now just look at their faces.  These are two men that had a marvelous time at the Hochseilgarten.
"Bless their hearts!"
Mac and Jonny rate the Hochseilgarten/high ropes
3 thumbs up.