Last weekend, when we visited the Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald, we were forced to detour through Calw. I kept seeing signs for this town and had heard it was pretty. Bill wanted to go out for a few hours, so we took a short outing to Calw, which is about 18 kilometers from our home in Unterjettingen and was Hermann Hesse’s hometown. Hermann Hesse won the Nobel Peace Prize for literature in 1946. He was born in Calw on July 2, 1877.
We left the house at about 1:30 or so, prior to having lunch. By the time we got to Calw, it was about 2:15. I was hungry. The first order of business, once we parked at the huge Kaufland parkhaus, was to find lunch.
Hermann Hesse’s town…
Unfortunately, Calw was pretty dead yesterday and a lot of the restaurants there do the traditional pause, meaning their kitchens close at 2:30. We wandered around looking for a place that didn’t close at 2:30 and saw a couple of cafes and ice cream shops. We were turned away at one restaurant and a helpful German guy advised us to come earlier “next time”. Duh. I guess I should have been flattered that he didn’t immediately see us as Americans and assume we were “on holiday”.
I was getting crankier and crankier as my blood sugar dropped and Bill was apologizing to me for dragging me to such a quiet place when we ran across a gasthaus in the main square. A smiling man was standing there with three huge chalkboards. They were still serving lunch. Success!
As much of the gasthaus’s sign as I could get with my iPhone while sitting down.
My salad. It did the trick…
And the rest of our lunch… served on Hermann Hesse commemorative plates from 2002.
We sat down at an outdoor table overlooking what appears to be a massive construction and
restoration project. Many elderly people were standing in groups. I wasn’t sure what was going on. I almost thought maybe there was a protest, but no one looked pissed off enough for that. I was too focused on eating to investigate, but I think maybe they were hanging around after the weekend market.
The menu at the gasthaus included several dishes featuring asparagus and Hollandaise sauce. I ordered the ham and asparagus plate for 11 euros and Bill had the turkey breast and asparagus plate for 13,50 euros. Both dishes came with a trip to the self service salad bar and salted potatoes. We washed lunch down with hefeweizen. The food was good and hearty and it took about three seconds for me to stop being so hangry.
Cool buildings in the main square…
Bill enjoys a little more wheat beer. It was surprisingly chilly yesterday.
Although we had come to Calw to see what was there and maybe find something fun to do, it was really pretty quiet yesterday. So we decided to people watch. It was an interesting way to pass the time. I noticed that Calw seems to have a resident cat. I’m not sure if it was a male or female, but I saw it three or four times. It was a grey striped kitty with white “socks” and a crooked right ear that seemed to be perpetually cocked to the side. The cat was distinctive looking and appeared to be quite a character as it followed people and wandered around the main square. I never did manage to get a picture of the kitty.
I also noticed that Calw appears to have a lively music venue. Roger Hodgson, former lead singer of Supertramp (one of my favorite 70s and 80s bands) is due to perform there soon.
Concert posters visible from where we sat.
We continued to watch the world go by from our table. I saw the smiling proprietor of the restaurant warmly embrace an elderly lady as if they were dear friends or perhaps relatives. I saw lots of kids go up to the fountain and dip their water guns into the water. They’d fill the guns and shoot at the lion sculpture on top of the fountain. Shopkeepers would get water from the fountain and water the potted shrubs in front of their stores. It was a scene one wouldn’t necessarily see in the United States.
As we finished eating lunch, I noticed a small sign by the door at the gasthaus…
Nette Toilette? What the devil is that?
I heard two girls talking about needing the WC and a man said, “Nette Toilette”– “nice toilet”. So I looked it up on my iPhone. Apparently, it’s a program in certain German cities where restauranteurs allow their toilets to be used freely by the public. I think that’s a nice idea. The reason behind this program is that there aren’t enough public toilets and it would cost money to build, maintain, clean, and protect them from vandalism. Public toilets are also usually only in the center of the city, leaving necessary facilities out of reach for those who venture out further. In exchange for allowing people to use their toilets, restauranteurs get money from the city and they may also get the odd impromptu guest who decides to stick around for a meal. Calw is just one of many German cities with this program. It’s good to know that if I see the red and yellow sign and need to pee, I can do so guilt free!
Our lunch tab was about 38 euros, which we thought was a good deal. After we finished eating, we decided to wander around a bit. I took a few photos of Calw’s beautiful old downtown district.
At one point, we heard lots of drums and Turkish horns. I looked down an alleyway and noticed a large number of Muslims standing near a building as the noise continued. It was obviously a wedding. I think it was the first Turkish one I’ve ever seen in Germany. People stood around, looking on curiously.
Someone’s pretty yellow roses.
When we got back to Kaufland, I realized nature was once again calling. We went into the massive store and I found a clean and free WC. Calw’s Kaufland is very nice as opposed to the one Bill visited in Herrenberg. It’s very big, clean, and offers most anything you’d need. We decided to pick up a couple of items.
I couldn’t resist taking this photo… German quality written in English!
I never knew McDonald’s made ketchup. I thought they just used Heinz. Learn something new every day… No, we didn’t buy any.
Scary wine drink consisting of merlot and cola flavoring. You’re supposed to drink it iced. Nein, danke.
This was taken from the parking garage. You can see the popular brauhaus across the river.
Our trip to Calw wasn’t long on structure or activity, but it was interesting nonetheless. Calw is a really pretty town. Next time, we’ll have to get there earlier and check out some of the museums and other restaurants. At the very least, I got to learn a little about Hermann Hesse and the Nette Toilette program, right?
I was feeling pretty good about our little impromptu trip to Calw until we got home. It was obvious Zane and Arran had engaged in a little scuffle in our absence. Zane had a couple of bite marks on his face and it looked like he’d also thrown up. I think they got in a fight over their Kongs, which they had been successfully using for months.
I cleaned up the mess and felt kind of bad for leaving them, while at the same time I was grateful that no one got seriously hurt. I am forever fretting about the dogs. Maybe it’s time we started taking them with us like Germans do. That might necessitate a new blog all on its own.