Updated on March 7, 2024 by Angelika

For today's 12 of 12, I would like to take you to the small town of Calw, which is just 35 km from my home in Sindelfingen, also on the German Half-Timbered Road. Calw is the birthplace of the favorite writer of my youth, Hermann Hesse. As far as I can remember, no German writer was more popular with young people in the 1970s and 1980s than Hermann Hesse, at least not in Swabia. From Under the wheel about Narcissus and Goldmund to Demian and Steppenwolf I read everything our public library had to offer.

But first I make a stop in Hirsau, which is on the route. A poster at the entrance to the monastery tells me that the monastery complex is a candidate for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the romantic complex, you can visit the remains of a Benedictine monastery founded in 830, which was one of the most important monasteries in Germany at the end of the 11th century. Like the neighboring Maulbronn Monastery, Hirsau Monastery was converted into a monastery school after the Reformation in 1536. 

The magnificent Renaissance ruin with the gate tower was the hunting lodge of the Dukes of Württemberg. Like the monastery, it was reduced to rubble by the French in 1692 during the War of the Palatinate Succession.

Since 2008, between the end of July and the beginning of August, the cloister of the monastery ruins of St. Peter and Paul has hosted the Calwer Klostersommer in Hirsau which attracts well-known rock groups and singer-songwriters as well as thousands of visitors to the northern Black Forest every year. The 2024 line-up includes Manfred Mann's Earth Band and Konstantin Wecker on the program.

Hirsau Monastery - Hunting lodge with gate tower - angiestravelroutes.com

I continue to Calw, where this time I park in the ZOB parking garage. There are no barriers and my license plate number is read automatically when I enter. When paying, I only have to type in my license plate number at the pay station. I find that super practical. All I have to do is cross the Marktbrücke bridge and I'm right in the middle of the old town.

Turning left twice, I reach the Nikolausbrücke bridge with the pretty Gothic Nikolauskapelle chapel and a life-size bronze statue of Hermann Hesse, who looks as if he is greeting walkers stepping onto the bridge. It is said that the bridge was his favorite place in Calw. The statue was created in 2001 by the artist Kurt Tassotti,on the occasion of the Literature Nobel Prize winner's 125th birthday. The artist named the sculpture "Between Lingering and Departure".

Calw - Hermann Hesse statue on the Nikolausbrücke - angiestravelroutes.com
The Hesse statue by Kurt Tassotti on the Nikolausbrücke in Calw.

The Nikolauskapelle was dedicated to St. Nicholas, who was supposed to protect the people of Calw from the high and stormy waters of the Nagold. In the niches to the right and left of the portal are the figures of a cloth merchant and a raftsman as symbols of the two trades - clothmaking and rafting - that made Calw a wealthy town in the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, not much has remained of this prosperity.

Calw - St. Nicholas Bridge with St. Nicholas Chapel and Hermann Hesse statue - angiestravelroutes.com
The Nikolausbrücke, built around 1400, with the Nikolauskapelle is the oldest stone bridge over the Nagold.

I walk back along Marktstraße into Salzgasse and get an overview of the market square. A beer tent has been set up in front of Hermann Hesse's birthplace - because of the Calw Night Parade, which takes place today - on Rose Monday - from 7:01 pm. The first jesters are already arriving.

Calw market square - three half-timbered houses, in the center Hermann Hesse's birthplace - in front of the houses a beer tent and a food truck with the sign "Pasta Pasta" - angiestravelroutes.com
Calw's market square is lined with beautiful half-timbered houses. The middle one of these three is Hermann Hesse's birthplace. The market square is also the central square for town festivals - today (on Rose Monday) for the Calw Night Parade.

I continue up Salzgasse to the Stadtgarten, the city's green oasis. This is also the starting point of many hiking trails. Clearing and renovation work is currently taking place in the Stadtgarten, but the paths are still accessible. The steles of the Hermann Hesse Trail were unfortunately dismantled for the duration of the renovation.

Calw - Stadtgarten - View upwards to the stelae of the literary garden - angiestravelroutes.com
The city garden was laid out in 1871 and served as a playground for Hermann Hesse. The steles set up in a semicircle are part of the literary garden.

But I can read some of Hesse's poems on the steles in the literary garden, which was created by pupils from the Hermann Hesse Grammar School.

Calwer Stadtgarten - a stele in the literary garden with two spring poems - angiestravelroutes.com
The literature garden is part of the city garden and was created in 2011 by pupils of the Hermann Hesse Grammar School. The metal steles feature poems about the seasons by Hermann Hesse and other poets.

From the Literaturgarten, I take the path to the right towards Schillerstraße. There are benches along the way from which you can enjoy the beautiful view in the warmer months. A hardy young man has made himself comfortable on a wooden lounger.

In Schillerstraße, I was able to see from the height of the Caféhäusles a great view of the old town and the northern Black Forest. The long can be photographed particularly well from here. The Lange is the only surviving tower of the medieval town fortifications. It also served as a prison at the time.

Calw - View of the Black Forest, Old Town and "den Langen" from Schillerstraße - angiestravelroutes.com

The Caféhäusle is a real insider tip! I was lucky enough to get to know it shortly after it opened during a city tour during the Calw Christmas Market 2022. It's normally closed during the winter months, but it was open for the city tour and provided the participants with delicious Belgian waffles, mulled wine and punch. I will definitely come here again in the warmer months! Please note: it is only open from Friday to Sunday, even in summer.

Calw - Caféhäusle on Schillerstraße - angiestravelroutes.com
From the Caféhäusle on Schillerstraße, you have - as the sign promises - the best views of the city and surrounding area. However, it is only open in the summer months.

I walk back along Altburger Straße towards the market square. All the stores and cafés are closed. It's probably Shrove Monday.

Calw - Altburger Straße, lined with half-timbered houses and with a view of the town church - angiestravelroutes.com
Altburger Straße is lined with beautiful half-timbered houses. It leads to the town church and the market square.

Shortly before the market square, I turn left. Here stands the Hermann Hesse Museumwhich I have wanted to visit for years, but it has been under renovation for years. If I remember correctly, on my last visit it was announced that it would reopen in 2024. Now it's completely scaffolded and supposedly can be visited again next year. I will check it out!

Calw - the scaffolded Hermann Hesse Museum - angiestravelroutes.com
The Hermann Hesse Museum has been undergoing renovation for years and is completely covered in scaffolding. It is due to reopen in 2025.

I walk through Bierstraße and Lederstraße, both of which are lined with beautifully renovated half-timbered houses, to the banks of the Nagold. There is a pretty pavilion next to Villa Wagner. From here, I take a photo of the beautiful half-timbered ensemble in Bischofstraße on the other side of the Nagold.

Calw - Pavilion at the Villa Wagner - angiestravelroutes.com
From the banks of the Nagold behind the pavilion at Villa Wagner, you have a beautiful view of the half-timbered houses on Bischofstraße.

Now it is slowly getting dark and more and more fools are crowding into the city. Only an hour to go until the parade. I'm not in the mood for crowds. I've seen and heard enough for one day, as I've been listening to mood music from various loudspeakers all afternoon. I make my way home.

Calw - Fools in the Salzgasse - angiestravelroutes.com
The jesters parade through Salzgasse towards Marktplatz, the center of the action on Rose Monday.

12 of 12 info

If you enjoyed this glimpse into my day and have a blog yourself, join in the fun!

The photo project 12 of 12 was initiated by Caro from Draußen nur Kännchen. On the 12th of the month, you take lots of photos throughout the day, and in the evening, you pick 12 of them to write a short description about. Under Caro's 12 of 12 posting you will find a list in which you can enter your own 12 of 12 blog post.

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