City of Aalen

I almost didn’t go on walkabout today.  The 30 pictures below are what you would have missed if I hadn’t!  Myself…I would have missed close to 130 pictures today!  That’s how much nature, architecture, history, and silliness awaited me today in the city of Aalen.  I almost didn’t go because the snow was very deep, and judging from the beginning of the journey below, I didn’t think there was much out there to see!

But off I go…first our show venue, Stadthalle Aalen, with a lovely flute-playing lady out front…

Moving on to the back of the venue, I came upon a lovely German family sledding with the kiddies down a slope that runs up against the venue.  Rodney had already made friends with the father, and was taking his turn on their sled by the time I reached the top of the hill.  Below is the sled we borrowed…

yeah kid…I’m fixin’ to jack yo’ ride!
Footage of ME riding this little guy’s sled can be found at http://www.facebook.com/McSkillz2010?ref=profile.  If you don’t have Facebook, sign up!!!  Especially those of you who couldn’t access my Apple (Mac) webpage videos…now I’m just uploading them to Facebook.  So anyhoo, apparently Rodney has now dubbed me “SledJacker”, though I promise I gave it back just as soon as I dragged myself and the sled back up the hill!!!

As I continued on my Aalen journey, I came upon some tracks.  McGill/Peterman family, do these look familiar?  Could I be in the presence of deer?  Please vote “yes” or “no” now:)

Next came an interesting bell tower, actually called the Platzesbeim Memorial.

After their eviction following the end of World War II (1945-1946), the former inhabitants of the Vyškov (Czech Republic) linguistic island found new homes in Germany, Austria, and in other countries.  The largest group of displaced persons (972) settled in Aalen in 1946.  In 1949, an association, “Language Island of Wischau,” was formed in Aalen in order to help the scattered families adjust to their new environment.  The first period after the expulsion was – both for locals and for the “Sprachinsler” – very difficult.  Even Germany had suffered severely from the consequences of war, therefore, it is quite understandable that many locals were not particularly pleased with sharing the sparse provisions the wars had left their communities.  As time passed, however, the people have grown closer together..the economic expansion soon made the imigrants feel accepted!  To show appreciation for the Sprachinsler, the Aalen city council sponsored the Platzesbeim Memorial on September 13, 1980.

A visit to this quiet Platzesbeim Memorial invites the Sprachinsler community, especially their descendants and friends, to meditate and commemorate the old country.

I followed pre-made footprint paths in the snow of dogs and their walkers, kids, deer, birds, even sleds, around the entire park, passing through amazing scenes like the one below…

The tree branches almost enclose the ceiling of this wintery hallway.  It was so peaceful here that I wanted to stay for a while, but all the benches had 5 inches of snow on them!

And it was always a gamble when I strayed from the footprint snow paths, since the snow was very deep everywhere!  Below, you can see my perspective as I look down at my shoes…and don’t see my feet!

Anyone seen the sandbox?  I could have sworn it was here yesterday…

OK, this pic is mostly for Charlie S., my fellow MYST fan…doesn’t this look like one of the first scenes we come upon in the game, except this would be the Special Christmas addition?!

This observatory was built in 1969 as a school observatory of the Schubart-Gymnasium. The Astronomical Association was founded in 2001 by amateur astronomers and school representatives, and the youth chapter was founded in 2004. In 2001 it was opened to visitors. Since then, each Friday will be organized in clear weather, public tours. Sunday noon, the sun takes place lead. In addition, the Astronomical Association has regular lectures.

For all you gadget geeks, here’s a gold mine of info on the “Volkssternwarte”:
The Dome (located 4.5 m in diameter), a Zeiss – Refractor with 130 mm aperture and 1950 mm focal length from the year 1941, which is mainly used in the guides. The refracting telescope was restored in 2003 by Carl Zeiss Oberkochen. The device is mechanically tracked, and the tracking speed regulator also means friction (Year 1941) is regulated.  On a smaller Zeiss refractor ( “tele-mentoring” with 63 mm aperture and 840 mm focal length) there is an H-alpha filter for solar observation. With him prominences can be observed on the solar surface.  For mobile use, the observatory has a equipped with GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, which by satellite – navigation system with 280 mm (11 “) opening. In addition, the observatory has a 20 × 80 binoculars with tripod and a digital SLR camera.

And here is a random school…no sign out front, nuthin’…so…yay school!

There lies yonder church tower…I must go find it’s bottom half!…

Around 1803, there were only 3 Catholics recorded in Aalen, but by around 1905, the number of Catholics was at 4000.  St. Mary’s Church had long since become too small. Pastor Hetzler headed up the construction of a new, larger church, the Salvatorkirche Aalen.

The architects designed a successful “modern” construction, in line with elements of renaissance and classicism. At the request of the bishop, the new church of the Redeemer should be dedicated to Salvator (“Savior”).

Here are MANY shots of the inside:

OK, these are wall mounted computer screen-size pieces that story board the conviction and crucifixion of Christ:

This one is one of my “favorites” because it pictures Jesus before the cross comes into the story.  He is being sentenced by the people and Pontius Pilate…

I guess this is Simon helping Jesus carry the beam…

The Shroud of Turin lady…

I physical displacement in this piece really captures me interest…

OK, this one I need help with.  I believe it was postiioned between the actual crucifixion and…

the taking down of Jesus’ body, so I would assume he’s the guy removing the nails.  But…I see no Jesus, so…anyone?

This one makes me chuckle (no offense intended) ONLY because the HLE presentation comes to mind, and I imagine if the cast didn’t have enough Roman soldiers to take the actor down from the cross properly…this scene may be what would happen!!!  Come on guys…you know who you are…you know that would look pretty funny, but hurt pretty bad!

And finally, THIS doesn’t make any sense to me.  I didn’t include every shot I took of all these pieces, but I included this one only so that someone could help me figure out what it means.  I think it was at the end, after the tomb.  Is it the resurrection?!  Help!

I figured the church was the last find of the day, so I headed forward towards “home”, completing a circle about the town…but surprise-surprise, I stumbled upon another church, with a cemetary even!  And thank God for English on the surrounding signs, because I found out I was standing on very historical ground:

This was the largest Roman calvary fort north of the Alps, built around 160 AD.  The Ala II Flavia militia stationed here comprised of 1,00 soldiers and was the largest, most important troop on the whole Limes.  The garrison was founded around 160 AD and remained in existence until around 260 AD, when it was abandoned by the Romans.  The northern front of the fort ran along the present-day St. Johann Strasse Church (pictured below) to the present-day Stadthalle (today’s show venue).

The cemetery of St. John is one of the most important historical cemeteries in Germany. St. John opened the cemetary on June 24, 1883, which was expanded in 1908 at the request of the king’s police director, due to “hygenic requirements of modern times”.  The cemetery was still maintained after closing.  During the Second World War, the cemetery of St. Johann lost some of its glory, as a result of bomb damage and metal collections of the National Socialists.  In the postwar years, several fields of the cemetery have been completely cleared.  In 1984 it was reopened as an ensemble of today’s landmarked cemetery for the burial of urns.   A new mortuary was opened in November 1988.   Even today the “Old Cemetery St. Johann” boasts the splendor of its great bourgeoisie families.  The impressive family tombs (late 19 and early 20 Century) are decorated with ornate sculptural jewelry, some with life-size stone figures, or neo-Gothic tower-like structures.

A few graves of WWII German officers have been preserved, from the Battle of Spicheren on August 6, 1870.  The gravestones were originally at the war memorial in Echelmeyerpark, but were relocated in 1983 to the St. Johann cemetery.

From the back of the cemetary, I saw the “back yard” of the Limes Museum, which, like the church and the cemetary, is situated on historical soil.  Limes Museum is directly on the main street of the roman fort.  In 1962, before the Limes Museum was built, certain fort walls were excavated and preserved.  Below, you can see the Roman structures were at a much deeper level than the ones today.


As part of the Upper Germanic-Raetian Limes, the Roman calvary Fort Aalen’s excavated remains are inscribed as a UNESCO World Hereitage site since summer 2005.

I don’t know what this wheel may have been used for, unless maybe water distribution?  Maybe a pulley system?  I Googled it but nothing came up.  Regardless, there it is…interesting enough for me to have taken a pic…

Below is a illustration of what the fort would have looked like in it’s completeness, based on all the excavations.  The land pictured below includes St. Johann Cemetery, the museum and it’s grounds, all the way to the show venue AT LEAST.  The fortress was surrounded by a 6m wall with corner and intermediate towers, as well as a number of entrenchments.  Inside were 12 large double barracks for the soldiers, horses, headquarters, commander, magazine buildings, and outhouses.

Whew!  That’s it folks…though this research is time-consuming, I thank God I have the time to do it, to share with others, and to retain new knowledge of the world around me as well.

Have a beautiful night/morning, and as I begin two days off close to Munich, Germany, I can almost guarantee the next newsletter or two will be FABULOUS!!!

Your sister in Christ,

~SledJacker…er, Jennifer

P.S.  Newsletter 8-Augsburg is late because I have to gather some pics since I only took one picture…it was a very distracting, frustrating day, all around…no walkabout, sick singer, aching tummy, and unnecessary strife!  So I’ll serve that up soon enough, but believe me, you ain’t missin’ much!

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