Idyllic Idstein… a place to get your architectural fix!

I mentioned in my last post that there’s a lot going on in Wiesbaden this weekend.  Even so, we decided today to visit Idstein, an adorable little town just about ten miles north of where we live.  With 25,000 residents and a history that dates from 1102, this is a very charming little town with a past and a future.

I got the idea to visit Idstein from seeing an ad for it on Facebook.  Someone posted photos of the colorful buildings and the inside of the protestant church that stands near the center.  I’ve been missing half timbered buildings since our move north and Idstein has them, along with the Hexenturm (witch’s tower).  This weekend, they’re having a jazz festival that costs 15 euros a head to attend.  Prior to the festival’s beginning, there were numerous musical groups playing for free on small stages around the city.

Bill and I wandered around a bit, had some Greek food for lunch, and visited the beautiful church.  Here are a few photos.

A view showing the steeple of the protestant church, as well as some of the beautiful half timbered buildings.


Such charming architecture!  I especially loved the colors and intricate designs on the buildings.


The blue house next to the Rathaus is the Schiefes Haus– the crooked house.  It’s not a museum or anything; you have to admire it from the outside.  But it really is unique and cute.  


The Rathaus, complete with drummers on stage.

We saw a lot of residential areas that looked like this.  People were living in or running businesses out of these classic homes on cobbled streets.  I could learn to love Idstein.  It could be our “new Nagold”.  All it needs is a river, although the two does have two brooks that run on either side of it– the Wolfsbach on the east, and the Wörsbach on the west.


Witches’ Towers are not unusual.  They were often part of dungeons, particularly for women accused of practicing witchcraft.  Sometimes they were simply used as regular prisons.

The Hexenturm (Witches’ Tower)… we didn’t climb it because you have to pick up the key from the tourist office.  This tower is part of Idstein Castle and consists of 160 steps.  I needed fortification for that kind of punishment.


The back of the castle, just past the tower.  A band was playing “Zoot Suit Riot” by Cherry Poppin’ Daddies.  I was reminded of Thursday night karaoke at The Library in Williamsburg, Virginia.  I used to be a regular.


A photo of the castle, which is very striking.  It seemed especially fitting there was a toy store just under it.


In the tunnel passing under the castle.  


Need a midwife?  Idstein has you covered.


Picture postcard perfect!  There isn’t a lot to Idstein, but it has some nice shops, a weekend market, and a lot of events.  I could see us coming back again and again… at least until our next move.

After about forty-five minutes of walking around, I was pretty hungry.  We stopped at Greek and German eatery called Deustches Haus.  Today, they only offered outdoor seating.  That was fine, since the weather was so good.

It was a nice place to people watch.

I had the Grillteller, which was souvlaki, gyros, and bifteki with tzatziki and steak fries.  This was good, although I’ve had better Greek food.  I loved the frites, which were better than the standard skinny ones one finds here a lot.  It looked like they were offering a scaled down menu, with just a few choices.  If I had wanted German food, I could have had a schnitzel or a salmon filet.


Bill had souvlaki, which was curiously priced higher than my dish was.  I couldn’t finish mine, so Bill helped.  Total bill was 34 euros and there was no ouzo… but we enjoyed lunch very much.  It’s been too long since my last Greek food fix.

Nice view from near the restaurant.

After lunch, we went into the Unionskirche, which dates from the 17th century, but was very recently refurbished. 

The inside of this church is astonishing, with its many paintings of Christ.

It kind of puts the Frankfurt Cathedral to shame, even though it’s much smaller.

The beautiful ceiling above the altar.  

I think if I went to church here, I’d spend the whole time looking at all of the art.  It really is beautiful and the pictures don’t do it justice.  The paintings are an unusual feature in a protestant church.  

A Klofrau was sitting near the WC truck.  Idstein also has a public toilet that is prominently and permanently stationed.  Very civilized indeed!

Right after an ice cream break.

Another big event coming up in Idstein this summer.


I definitely see us coming back to Idstein.  There are other things to do there that we missed today because we were distracted by the live music and other things going on.  It’s hard to believe this pretty little town is so close to us.  It reminded me a little of Esslingen, near Stuttgart, only it’s a lot smaller and there’s no river.

I would have liked to have stayed for some of the jazz concert, but we had to get back home for the dogs.  Next time, we’ll have to plan better so we can enjoy more of the live music.  Idstein is definitely going on my next “ten cute towns” of Germany list.  Stay tuned for the next rainy or cold day, which probably won’t be too far in the future.


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