Monday, February 11, 2008

Witches Hill / Hexenhuegel

Once upon a time in  the 80s - well, a lot of posts on this increasingly nostalgia-driven blog could have started like that ;-) - I was hanging out by the farm in the valley near my parents house with my friends Gabriel and Frank. It was winter, and we had a bit of an afternoon, there was no particular plan, and I soon lost them for some reason and wandered around the woods on my own for a while, they found me later and showed me where they've been which is this old and witchy looking hill behind the old farm buildings, it's a really "nothing special" kinda hill, and it doesn't lead anywhere unless you count the railway line and now some new road, but looking at it from slightly below it does look quite dramatic, you see a line of five or so gnarly old apple trees on top of the hill dominating it and looking down on you, if you feel like indulging yourself in such mystical musings. They christened it Witches Hill, Hexenhuegel, on that afternoon, and it stayed with us, that name.  So when I arrived in Ulm last month the first thing I saw from the train that was really part of my home town was this hill, and I said to myself "Hey, there's the Hexenhuegel" and thought that I would maybe go there again during my stay, since I hadn't done so for quite a few years. There are many old haunts I could visit and I didn't have so much time, but for some reason I did manage to go there this time with my old school friend Christine who now has a little house in the same modern 60s built and very 60s looking suburb I grew up in which is situated quite nicely right on the edge of town and above the weird little valley leading to the old farm next to the - yeah - witches hill. It makes you think how people give names to places and often they stick and stay attached to the places, I mean, that's how it works, right? For us this will always be "Hexenhuegel", witches hill. I studied a fairly detailed map of Ulm in the station during my stay, this map features names for all the woods and places - if they have a name - and for some reason this hill doesn't seem to have a name yet on the official maps. It's quite a beautiful hill, with its old apple trees, it's mostly a wild meadow like you can see them still in the area around Ulm, Schwaebische Alb, and you have a good view into the valley and the old farm buildings where there are often horses, and over the railway line, the newly built road to Jungingen and the plain fields. There is some sort of little path leading up and along it we discovered (again) but it doesn't really lead anywhere but the new road so that's probably why people never go there. Anyway, it's here, roughly between the 19, the K9915 and "Oerlingen" on this map . 

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