Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bad Boll 29.7.1998: Dark Mountains, Neat Villages

At Bad Boll now for the second day. We spent both days in Bubsheim, Steve’s Kuld Ur-village (at least, the village to which he’s traced his earliest roots—to the early 1600s—in the Schwäbische Alb just east of Rotweil.

An interesting area, different again from many we’ve been in. Very Swabian, I suppose, without knowing much about it. Bädecker says Swabians tend to farm part-time on small land holdings, while having other jobs. That seems to be borne out by all we’ve seen—no large farms, just orchards on the hillsides, and higher up (as at Bubsheim), what seem to be unfenced pastures. And in every village, small factories making clothes, metal parts of machines, etc.

So the people seem to bear out the notion that Swabians are hard-working, thrifty, etc. The villages exceedingly neat, physically pretty, but a bit drab in the human sense, with no shopping area. Bubsheim has no shops at all, in fact, and no restaurant, though it’s a large (and obviously more prosperous) village than many we’ve been in.

The lack of a shopping area—or any focus (the church is on the perimeter of the village)—gives the place a forlorn feel. One scarcely sees people anywhere, and at noon all’s eerily quiet, with shutters over windows.

The countryside, by contrast, is beautiful—dark mountains in the distance, those large pastures, a cool breeze sweeping over all. But in winter, mustn’t it often be bleak—or have been, before travel could occur?

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