Monday, June 27, 2011

It's June Near the River Saar

Spring has given way to early summer in the fields and forests of the Alte Heimat.  The early flowers have gone into hiding until next year and their slower cousins - the poppies, the mullein - have sprung up to show off their bolder blooms.  Nature lovers, who choose to walk where nature changes something every day, would certainly agree with Jean-Jacque Rousseau, who said, 

"The wandering life is what I like 
to journey on foot, unhurried, in fine weather and in fine country 
and to have something pleasant to look forward to at my goal, 
that is of all ways of life the one that suits me best."

Photos by Josiane

The field of yellow rape has already turned color on its way to harvest

A small field maple has struggled up through the grasses with the intent of becoming a splendid tree

The first poppies wave whenever there is a breeze

Mullein's first buds have opened

Look carefully and find the strawberries

Blue chicory joins the forest palette

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Ancestor's Path.

As I sat at an outdoor table in Saarburg's upper city, watching the quiet stream at my side, I also heard its noisy rush downward just a few meters away as it tumbled over the precipice and became a waterfall.  I imagined a time when the Leukbach had not shared the roar of its impressive descent with a babble of tourist voices.  I imagined my great-great grandmother Lena, a young and healthy woman, arriving from Irsch.  She crossed the river, ferried in a small boat (for no bridge was yet built) and once she reached the other side, she made her way to this place where I was sitting.   The warm sun shone down on her dark hair which was mostly covered by her bonnet.  She carried a handmade woven basket.  Often she turned her head to look from one side of the street to the other as she climbed the hill from the lower to the upper city, drinking in the sights of the largest city in the Kreis.  I think she might have seen something like this:

Crossing the Saar to Saarburg's lower city

From the shore of the Saar into an archway to the street called Staden

Beginning the climb up the hill to the upper city

The roar of the Leukbach waterfall 

Just a little way farther to climb to reach the upper city

Photos by Offshoot Kathy

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Saarburg 2 - The Leukbach

The Saar River was the focus of the old city; a gift of God for the sailing families, the tanneries, and the barges with their goods coming to and sailing from Saarburg over the centuries.  But the "new city," built on the hill above the Saar, had its own gift of God - a flowing stream which was engineered to produce a waterfall and the power that came from it.  The Leukbach turned the magnificent waterwheel that milled the grain and sawed the logs needed for everyday life in the city and countryside.

The Leukbach waterfall tumbles from the upper city

The waterwheel still works today although the mill is now a museum
The water flowing and dropping from one height to another brings a special sound to the upper city

How old are these buildings?  They have been modernized but their bones seem to come from long ago

The "New" upper city has become a part of the 21st century, with lovely places to have an ice cream, a pizza, or a full meal - then wander back and forth across the little bridges for some shopping

Friday, June 10, 2011

Views of the Saarburg of Yesterday, pt. 1

Saarburg, a small thriving city today, is the equivalent of a county seat in America.  Its strategic location on the Saar River made it a bustling place, the heart of the Kreis or county, during the past thousand some years.  Many of its old buildings survived WWII; the atmosphere of long ago remains, even as Saarburg has made its way into the 21st century.

The ruins of the Alte Burg (Old Castle) from the 9th century.  It stands high above the Saar River

The scenic ruins close up

A view to the high Warsburg hill which towers over Saarburg and the Alte Burg

A hotel today, this was a part of a large tanning mill in Beurig on the east bank of the Saar and now a part of Saarburg 

An old doorway lintel, one of many that testify to the age of Saarburg
 Pictures by Kathy