top of page
Search
  • Writer's pictureNigel

In the sticks 田舎で

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

2023 年 8 月 18 日

Let's see.....


It was an innocent enough hike. Vladimir, Phe and myself alighted at Rückersbacher Schlucht railway halt and met up with Bénédicte, who had come by car. Our route soon took us up the picturesque gorge of the same name. Alongside us ran the little brook,

森の中のハイキング

and above us rose magnificent beeches.

We were greeted by flora and fauna along the way......

......

And on reaching the village at the top of the valley there was a great view over the river Main flood plain across to the Oldenwald. One garden in the village was sporting early pumpkins.......

Then came the descent down from the Spessart woods onto the flat meadows below. There were information signs and an iron figure called "Der Rote Engländer". We thought this was fun and took a photo.....

赤いイギリス兵

There was a lot of information about a battle that took place here over 250 years ago - on 27th June 1743 to be precise. And one thing was niggling in my brain. The nearby village was called Dettingen.......see on my walking map......

Didn't Handel write a Dettingen Te Deum 🎶 ?

On the map it may not seem clear, but the letter A (the railway halt) is wedged between the river Main on the left and the Spessart hills on the right. And it was here in 1743 that 23,000 (yes, the sheer number is staggering) French troops assembled to stop the advance of the English/Hannoverian/Austrian army, who were marching from Aschaffenburg to their supply base in Hanau. Charles II of England was leading them.

So what was going on here?

It was a European power struggle ( the Austrian Succession ) set off by the death of the Charles VI, the ruler of the Austrian monarchy of Habsburgs who had ruled the Holy Roman Empire since the 15thc. Read all about it...............here.....https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dettingen . And here is a contemporary map of the battle.....Note the names - Klein Ostheim (we changed trains here), Aschaffenburg, the Sylva Spessartica (The Spessart woods), Seligenstadt, and of course Dettingen itself.

18世紀の戦い。 ヘンデルはそれを思い出すためにテ・デウムを書きました

And where does Handel 🎵 come into all this? Well, when his King - George II, returned to London the spin had worked and everybody was celebrating this Hannovarian/English/Austrian army "victory". So Mr. Court musician wrote a special Te Deum - including the anthem "The King shall rejoice" to celebrate https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDU8jE1Xum4 In fact, this "pragmatic army" had had a lucky escape.

As we walked across the fields we read the information boards further - The French had only lost because of some officers not following orders, and about 400 wounded had to be brought to a makeshift field hospital in Seligenstadt. It is a gruesome history, and seems quite out of place in this quiet piece of countryside - a mere 40 mins from Frankfurt.

It's this thing about being in the physical place where things happened that is for me so poignant.


 


Everyone seems to be talking about Robert Oppenheimer at the moment. It's because of the new film of course (what Nigel, you haven't seen it yet?).

As we all know he lead the research team in the Manhatten Project to develop the atomic bomb.

On Monday I was standing outside Göttingen University, waiting to pick up the keys to a friend's flat. This is the university where Oppenheimer did his doctorate in 1927, and in the 1940s had a world-renowned team of physicists. Most of them happened to be Jewish. Wrong place, wrong time - wrong subject (the National Socialists did not approve of Albert Einstein for one...). The rest is history. And here I am in Göttingen. They say you should not dwell on the past. True. But it it is there all the same.

ゲッティンゲンの街。 オッペンハイマーsan は 1927 年にここで博士号を取得しました

I explored the Botanischer Garten.....

....................

...with its strange tunnels under the city walls.....

However, not all the tunnels in this town are so picturesque.........

The evening sun lit up the west facade of the Johanneskirche.....

Quite a sight....

What was I doing in Göttingen you may well ask?

Well, I was actually heading for a small town called Rheinsberg, north of Berlin, to see a production of Purcell`s The Fairy Queen. But more of that later.


私がゲッティンゲンで何をしていたのか、あなたは尋ねるかもしれません。 そうですね、実は私はパーセルの『妖精の女王』の公演を見るために、ベルリンの北にあるラインスベルクという小さな町に向かっていたのです。 しかし、それについては後で詳しく説明します。


As it is quite a long drive to Rheinsberg I had decided to also stop over in Magdeburg on the way. But I wasn't going to just sit on an Autobahn. Oh no. There are cultural riches to be explored in Nieder Sachsen (Lower Saxony). And one of them is the imperial cathedral of Königslutter - for decades a backwater, being near the old internal German border, hence in some senses on the road to "nowhere". This monumental Romanesque (for Romanesque read "after the manner of the Romans" - ie roughly between the 9thc - 12thc, before the Gothic style appeared) edifice is adorned with fantastic sculpture. And what's more, the Prussians decided to give it a bit of colour in the 19thc.........here some pictures.....starting outside....

ケーニヒスリュッター大聖堂....約1000年前...


.....and entering under the watchful eyes of a lion....

......into the mysterious interior.....

it may look 19thc....but it is nearly 1000 years old......

built as a Benedictine abbey in 1135 under Kaiser Lothar III........

...I walked out into the cloisters......

Incredible...! Those pillars looked to me like this thin versions of the ones in Durham cathedral, UK. Similar designs.....

It's generally assumed that a team of Italian stonemasons were brought in from Lombardy, as the parallels to Verona, Piacenza and Ferrara are unmistakeable....

Making my way back through the church I glanced up at the ceiling....

.....and then was ushered out in search of the nearest café......出かけましょう....


....and I will leave this post now, as I am writing it in a some remote hamlet north of Berlin where the internet is.....well....unreliable at best.....!


私はインターネットが非常に信頼できない小さな村でこれを書いています。 だから今すぐやめなければなりません。


❗ Thank you for reading "...In the sticks.."

"......田舎で......."を読んでくれてありがとう



❗ Feel free to share the blog with friends.

よろしければ、リンクを友達と共有してください



❗And it would be nice to hear from you...!

そしてコメントしてください...





THE END

🐝

終わり





76 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page