Written by Wildcat Dianne on 05 Aug, 2011
My first full day in the Schwarzwald was spent touring Freiburg. After a few hours of the big city, I was in the mood for a change and took the train from Freiburg via Bad Krozingen to Staufen, a small town of only 7,700…Read More
My first full day in the Schwarzwald was spent touring Freiburg. After a few hours of the big city, I was in the mood for a change and took the train from Freiburg via Bad Krozingen to Staufen, a small town of only 7,700 that is known for its castle ruins, quaint old town and a respite for people who prefer to see something that most tour busses won't take you to see.
After getting off the train at Staufen, I walked towards town but not before catching a view of the castle ruins on Staufen's Schlossberg. I was tempted to climb up the hill to go and see the ruins, but I wanted to save my energy for the trip into Staufen and the return trip back to Freiburg. So I enjoyed the view from below. At the foot of the Schlossberg, there is a statue of a fat naked man gorging himself that I found pretty darn funny and got a picture of it before continuing on to town. "What happens to one who overdoes it on German sausages!", I said to myself!
A few minutes later, I arrived in Staufen's Wine Co-op Square. Staufen is known in the Schwarzwald region for its wine growing and vineyards, and the Schlossberg is covered with grapes of all kinds for several varieties of wine. Silver mining and wine made the town of Staufen a rich town. The Wine Co-Op Square has several wine shops for one to get a bottle of their favorite wine, and you can't miss it because it has a huge wine press in the middle of the square. Upon seeing the wine press for the first time, I thought it was a pillar that was used as a form of public punishment for small crimes in medieval times. I guess making wine with this huge press is better than doing it with one's stinky feet! Wine Co-Op Square was also home to a sandstone courthouse that was destroyed at the end of World War II and is now remembered only in a photo located across from the wine press.
Like Freiburg, Staufen also has bachlen, the little water canals that were used by firemen in old times to keep fires at bay, and I was having fun leaping over them tempting fate. If you fall in abachle, legend has it that you are to marry a local. Luckily, I did not fall in any bachlen on this vacation and my bachelorettehood stayed intact!
Staufen is famous for another legend. The legend of Dr. Faustus or Faust. The legend goes that Dr. Faust was a bored man disappointed with his life. Looking for a little spice in his life, he makes a deal with Mephistopheles (a.k.a. The Devil) by exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge, worldly pleasures and the magical powers he needed to acquire them. Faust then went on to seduce women and got into other mischief before dying. Christopher Marlowe wrote about Faust in 1604 while Johann Wolfgang Goethe gave Faust worldwide fame with his 1808 play by the same name. I guess you can say the expression, "The Devil made me do it!" came from Staufen! HA HA!
After leaving the Wine Co-Op Square, I entered the Hauptstrasse, Staufen's main drag where most of the town's businesses and markets are located. It is also home to the Rathaus (City Hall), a quaint building that is divided into two parts. One side of the Rathaus was completed in Gothic style while the other side is Renaissance architecture. On several buildings on the Hauptstrasse, you can see paintings depicting scenes of Goethe's Faust and of life in the Schwarzwald. A lot of these buildings have undergone some serious renovations in the past five years, and in 2008, controversy hit Staufen when digging for geothermal springs that would have been a money-saving heat source caused the ground under several buildings to rise and fall. This problem caused many buildings to crack and this damage is evident on the exterior of the Rathaus and other buildings along the Hauptstrasse.
After all of this walking, I was hungry and needed a drink before heading back to Freiburg. I stopped at Cafe Decker (see my review in my next entry) for something nutritious (yeah, right) before making my way back to the train station via the Hinterstadtle or back streets of Staufen. I love walking the back roads of many of the places I visit because you can see many hidden architectural gems that are not seen via the tour bus.
I had a devil of a time in Staufen that day (pardon the pun), and if you are ever in Germany's Schwarzwald region, you should make a trip to Staufen. It is easily accessible by bus, car or train and the last train leaves Staufen for Freiburg at about 7 p.m. There are several hotels in Staufen if you decide to stay overnight, but if you are staying in Freiburg, it's a great day trip for people like me who want to enjoy small-town Germany at its best.