We decided that, rather than simply zoom down the motorway to Zürich, we’d take in an interesting town or two along the way. But, deciding on a route was proving to be a challenge, so we decided to simply go for it. See what happens. Go with the flow.
Anyone who knows us will know that’s pretty unusual. We must be in holiday mode!
The first unscheduled stop came as a result of spotting the word “Limes”. Being the non-historian that I am, it meant nothing to me, but to those in the know, it was a “must see”.
So, I had no idea that there had been a “Hadrians Wall” kind of structure built by the Romans across Europe called the Limes. Here, in Aalen, southern Germany, there was a huge cavalry fort connected to the Limes and this was the site for a large museum.
This “wall” wasn’t really anything like Hadrians Wall and was more of a wooden stockade with watchtowers along the length of it.
Models helped those like me to envisage the structure and though there was a great deal of historical detail, for me, it was the smaller things which attracted my attention.
Like the beautifully preserved builders stamp on the brick made by someone from the 8th legion.
Or the manner in which the stonemason squeezed a longer word into his work than he’d allowed space for. Don’t you think it’s good to know that such things happened to the best of craftsmen?!
And what is it about shoes which make them so poignant? Perhaps it’s that they are such personal items and their relative size tells quite a story about the people who wore them?
Anyway, pleased to have seen this place, it was time to move on. Who knows what might be found just a few miles down the road?
Aha! This looks interesting…
The Steiff Museum is here, just off the motorway and we can’t pass by without taking a look, can we?
The story begins in Margarete Steiff’s workroom and is a little creepy. Several of those things begin to move and fly about, even though there was no-one there.
But really, the place was very clever, for no sooner had the history been told, than the doors opened and we found ourselves in a soft toy workshop of today, and our guide for the presentation was the elegant chap in the picture above.
Then, when he’d said all he had to say, the whole room rose up to the top of the building – we’d been standing on a lift platform and this was a clever way of maintaining visitor flow through the exhibition.
Actually, the rest of the top floor was geared towards children, naturally, with huge animals for them to climb upon and snuggle against.
We found the floor below a little more interesting, since it showed the Steiff collections from the early days until now. There were quite a few cuties on show!
Finally, into the workshop, to see different stages of the process. This woman was stuffing heads, taking far longer than one might think to ensure every little corner was full.
I liked the wall hangings – actually pattern pieces of all kinds hanging there all around the workshop.
There were some samples to handle, too. The overall theme throughout was “quality” and there’s no doubt that anything leaving the Steiff factory is going to be first class.
The exit was, of course, through the gift shop. We passed this little chap right by, though he might have been a smaller, younger cousin of Anton, back home!
So, onto our next stop, accompanied by George. Whether his full name is George Alexander Louis or not remains to be seen, but for now, he’s George. Plain George. And very sweet he is too!
We decided that there were to be no further stops, that we needed to make straight for Zürich now, because Edward and Amy had texted to say they were on their way.
Lake Constance was looking beautiful in the afternoon sunshine, but we pressed on, over the border and arrived at our apartment in Zürich around 3.30pm. Edward and Amy arrived shortly afterwards, around 4.30.
And now we are five!