Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bad Soden (2) 3.5.05: Curative Air and Catholic Poor Relations

We’ve just driven into the Altstadt of Kronberg, which turns out to be beautiful. We parked high on the hill and walked down to the archives. The view from high up is very nice.

Signs into the city call Kronberg a Luftkurort. What, precisely, does that mean? I know, of course, what it means literally: the air is considered curative. But what does it mean as an official designation for a Kurort? I notice in books about the region that each Kurort is specialized. Bad Soden is heart, Homburg is circulatory disorders. Is the air itself thought to be healthy in other Kurorts? Perhaps Kronberg has no springs and has to rely on air to give it that Kurort cachet. Does it specialize in lungs and neurasthenia, t.b. and depression?

Kronberg’s Protestant, we read in a history last night. How does it happen that Oberhöchstadt and Schönberg, now one Gemeinde with Kronberg, turn out to be Catholic? Some very specific lines of ownership by lords-princes-bishops (take your pick) must have run through these communities at the Reformation and after. I have the feeling Schönberg and Oberhöchstadt are regarded as poor stepchildren, and religion must play a role.

But they’re revenging themselves with Benedict XVI (who matters little to their Protestant countrymen, or so I imagine): already, we saw at the bookstore in Schönberg yesterday, a book of his thoughts (a yearbook, day by day) has been published! And is proudly displayed.

As we walk through the Altstadt this morning, I heard a man greet another: A-ja, A-ja. Some archaic equivalent of Aye, aye?

Sybille Bedford, Pleasures and Landscapes, p. 69: “What was this magic? The beginning each day the same: the cold, slow, sluggish start with unthawed limbs and disjointed casting mind . . . .” Disjointed casting mind: yes! Perfectly captures the disorientation (loss of east) travel induces, both through dislocation and numerous stresses not encountered in daily life.

And (p. 73): “The irrevocable duty of casting always, always the bread of humanism upon the waters.”

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