Welcome to my (temporary) home town of Nußloch, a town that is fairly typical among small towns in Germany: 1-3 traffic lights, 1-2 main streets, a few shops, loads of row houses, a main pedestrian area, and a handful of churches ringing in the hours.
Nußloch is unusual in that there are two halves to the town -- the blue-collar industrial portion down in the southwest valley and the newer, affluent residential district in the northeast hills. Most towns are one way or the other. Many of my neighbors are current or retired workers of the Leimen Zementwerk or other factories in the lower side.
More in character with German towns, the main street is narrow and snakes through buildings that were built before the American Civil War (ok, so I exaggerate), leaving minimal room for sidewalks. Mom-and-pop restaurants and gästhäuse (bed-and-breakfasts) line the street, as do metzgerei (butcher shops), conditorei (confectionary shops), and backerei/stehcafés (bakeries/standing cafés).
Germany does not share the American vigiliance in separating church and state. You can recognize the church above -- it is Nußloch's main Catholic church. The town also has two Protestant churches (one Lutheran, one Evangelistic), and each have their service/Mass times posted on signs at the entrances to the town. This is common practice throughout the country. Wedding ceremonies are dual -- the couple is married by the church of their choice, and then married by the state at the town hall. Most German holiday are of religious significance (for example, the White Monday celebrations are held the day after the Christian day of Pentecost).
The staple of any German town is the main marktplatz, and Nußloch is no exception. Here, it is called the Lindenplatz (pictured above), a simple square platz located right outside the rathaus (the main municipal building). Like most such towns, Nußloch hosts a town market each week (some other towns have it daily), where fresh vegetables and fruits, meats, breads, and cheeses are sold. Also, on several occasions during the year, the center of the town is closed off for a festival. The last picture here shows one of those festivals, and you can how crowded the street gets. These are a lot of fun, and many of the booths here are local clubs that use the festivals as their primary fund-raiser.
Another point of note, you will notice the pole to the right of the above picture. It is known as a Maypole. Traditionally, these were used to honor a town's major families during the spring. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see them honoring the town's major industries (to the point where some towns use the maypole to sell advertising space). The Maypole is always topped with a small pine tree.
Nußloch is everything a guy could ask for in a (temporary) home -- peaceful, quiet, friendly, with plenty enough activities to keep me occupied when I'm not traveling. What more can one ask for?
* -- Ok, dude/dudette, it's pronounce noose-lock, not NUB-lock!
Page last updated 01 September 2006 -- (C) 2001 Tom Galvin