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The medieval town of Schmalkalden which dates back to the year 874 is famous for its half timbered houses.
My first visit was on a nasty day in January 2004. I parked close to the city center on a public parking lot and humbled to downtown. I wish I would like winter sport - the weather and snow conditions were good for that but not so great for sightseeing.
On my way to downtown Schmalkalden
Many well known German musicians and writers lived and worked in this town. Martin Luther was also active in Schmalkalden. He preached here and the "Schmalkaldic League" was founded in the town hall of Schmalkalden.
The "Schmalkaldic Articles" were recognized later by the Protestant-Lutheran church as confession of faith.
Certainly a nice place for some refreshments or a snack when the sun is shining
The same place as above but in June
It proofed to be true that this place is an attraction in summer when Elizabeth was with me.
She went on her own little tour through Schmalkalden.
She loves to shop or just to look at things and I always get impatient. She made many pictures of what she saw and now she regrets that she did not buy cups with her favorite motive - cats. She only got a T-shirt with cats on it.
She was not afraid to talk to people who hardly understood any English. It was helpful that she lived for one year in German and was working for a nursing home with many German patients.
But she is still surprised that foreigners such as Chinese, Vietnamese, East Indians and black people speak German and not English - unless they are also visitors.
Elizabeth should have purchased those cups
But she got this T-shirt
I went on my own in the town hall where a small exhibition was dedicated to the Jewish citizens of Schmalkalden who suffered during the brutal Nazi regime.
I was surprised how many museums and official places in Thuringia are showing this dark chapter of German history. However, seeing what is going on today worldwide I have my doubts that everybody learned from this and human rights must be protected against all interests of political groups.
I spend some time at the displays in the city hall
After an hour we met again and had a light lunch.
In Germany you can enjoy a glass of beer or wine without being fenced or chained in and normally it is served in glasses and not in plastic cups which you must continuously watch to avoid that the wind blows them away.
The food was excellent and moderately priced
Downtown was very busy in June
We were always amazed how nicely the little kids looked and how well they behaved. No wonder, the first kindergarten was established in Thuringia and the former GDR also took good care of children. No system has only bad sides.
I believe that they take better care of the little ones in former East Germany
Pedestrian areas are well accepted an shopping is relaxing without all the traffic
Elizabeth discovered on her tour a side where skeletons from a former cemetery were found during some construction work.
Discovered during construction work
During my first trip to Schmalkalden was thinking to visit the "Wilhelmsburg", a Renaissance castle.
However, it was already late and I did not want to rush through the exhibitions. I also wanted to listen to the over 400 hundred year old organ and last not least I wanted to have sunshine to take some outdoor pictures of my own.
Unfortunately we had an appointment and missed this also in June 2005.
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