Saturday, December 30, 2017

Rasthaus Seligweiler

A little oddity on the way back home from Bavaria. Rasthaus Seligweiler near Ulm is built on the border between Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg. A fun photo op before buying coffee.

Winter morning

We're visiting friends in Bavaria. I went for a walk around the village this morning and enjoyed the fresh fallen snow. Alas, it's not going to last long. Warmer weather and rain is in the forecast.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Ready for Breakfast


Together for the first time.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Limes: Watch towers in Murrhardt

The actual location of the Limes and the forts is barely visible today. In our area it consisted primarily of an earthen wall with palisades and a moat that didn't survive the course of time. To help with that markers were erected more recently where roads cross the line where the Limes used to be.

Aside from the forts, the other defining feature are the watch towers ("Wachturm" or "Wachposten"), that are located right behind the palisades wall. This foundation of such tower is right next to the road from Welzheim to Murrhardt at Spatzenhof. It was discovered in 1814, and fully excavated and preserved in 1977. 

In Murrhardt we hiked to the partially reconstructed tower at Heidenbuehl.

The view from further up Linderst is very nice, and I'm sure the Romans appreciated it as well. However, in their time the forest was full of wild game, and hostile Germans, so you had to be careful.

The last tower foundation we visited was near Lindersthuette, off to the side between trees.

Doesn't look like much. Once again, the explanations on the panel provide context.

We headed back to the car on a less step and less muddy route through the forest.

Limes: Ostkastell Welzheim

Today's program included a visit to Ostkastell Welzheim (eastern fort), an archaeological find from Roman times. As it turns out I lived a good chunk of my life not far from the famous Limes, the second-longest man-made structure on Earth, ... and never visited. Today we fixed that.

The Ostkastell is a smaller site than the Westkastell. However, whatever is left of the Westkastell is now buried under the town of Welzheim. Even the finds at Ostkastell is not really that exciting at first. Here's the bath house:

However, various panels with pictures and explanations, as well as partially reconstructed structures like the main gate below bring history to life.

On the outside of the fort wall, there's a reconstructed section of the moat as well.

Drinking water for the fort was initially provided by way of four wells. Later on they fell into disuse and junk and garbage was thrown into the well shaft. Very cool for us living 1700 years later, since garbage is very useful to learn about daily life in ancient civilizations. Here's a reconstruction of one of the wells.

There's a nice relief that shows the locations of east and west forts in relation to each other as well as the Limes in the area.

An interesting, but rather cold, way to spend some time in the morning. During the summer months the city is staffing the site with volunteers. The local museum with its extensive collection of Roman artifacts would also be open. We continued on to see if we can find other remains of the Limes.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Fiery Skies over Ludwigsburg on Christmas Day

The sky was on fire at sunset. When it was dark the kitchen window was lit with original artwork from Thuringia.

Sunday, December 24, 2017


A nice evening with church, presents, food, and -- above all -- family.

Christmas Eve

Yesterday, we did the tour the family and the kids decorated the respective christmas trees.
Presents are wrapped. Food is prepared. We are ready for the big evening.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

DV 605 Hauptzettel examples

Hauptzettel for regular freight loads
Hauptzettel are found in a frame on the outside of freight cars behind a wire mesh (see this post for examples). So far I've used examples for these forms found on the Internet. I didn't know what exact time frame they were from, but adjusted for my needs to guide making car cards and way bills that resemble the prototype forms.
Now that I have the appendix for DV 605 from 1970, the next time I revise way bills I can try to replicate the look of these forms as much as feasible to fit the time frame of my layout.

Of course, I just finished making car cards and way bills for most cars on my layout. I'm not going to throw away that work, but rather try out the system for a while and then make adjustments as needed.

Hauptzettel for preferred freight loads

Hauptzettel for express freight. There are lots of variations of this form...

Preferred freight where the whole car goes to the same destination freight terminal

Preferred freight as before, but the car takes a specified route / trains.
There's a similar form for cars where part of the freight is loaded/unloaded en-route.
As you can tell, the look gets increasingly complicated as transport patterns get more complicated. I'll try to keep this simple for now and iterate slowly. 

Next order of business is to finish clean up on the Welztalbahn and get operation sessions going again.

Gluehwein in Ludwigsburg

Fourth Christmas market visit within a week. This time in Ludwigsburg. We've been here before, so I didn't take any photos of the market. ... And only noticed that when I got home. So I leave you with Gluehwein (hot mulled wine) instead.


Well, the snow was gone quickly. As I walked to the bakery this morning to get fresh rolls, Monday's snow fall was replaced by a light drizzle.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Weihnachtsmarkt Colmar

"Another day, another Christmas market", you might say. And you might be right. Nevertheless, here we are after a 3 hours drive to Colmar across the border in Alsace. I have never been here before, but was thoroughly impressed.

Most of the houses in old town Colmar are lovingly restored. A large part of old town is a pedestrian zone. In addition, several streets are blocked off during the Christmas season, creating a large walkable area in the middle of the city. On the  squares and streets throughout old town various stands were offering food, drink, and present-worthy wares.

By accident we wandered into the covered market. What a treat! Culinary overload.

In case you are wondering, ... yes, it was cold, only a couple degrees above freezing temperatures. We had a lot of fun, though.

Right next to the covered market starts an area known as Petite Venise, "Little Venice". Named quite appropriately, it reminded me of the canals in Amsterdam, too, but with its own unique character.

Here I finally managed to take photos that capture the atmosphere of the town. Charming, nicely restored houses, side-by-side, not quite straight, with lots of character. Most of the houses in Petite Venise are smaller than the rest of old town, and I'm sure this was the poorer part of town in the Middle Ages.

Today, it's probably the most photogenic part of town.

They even have boat rides on the canal.

As we walked the streets, dusk set in, and "La Magie de Noel" really started to show. The lights in the houses and streets turned this charming town into a life-size Christmas village.

It was a really long day and a long drive, but very much worth the trouble.