Almost we had passed. Although traffic has to slow down to 70 kilometers per hour at the exit to the kronach district of neuses, photographer matthias hoch and i almost miss the exit. As it turned out later that day, that would have been a damn shame. Because behind almost every door of this small town on the river rodach, which at first glance seems very inconspicuous, live incredibly interesting people. And: they all kindly invite us in to share their exciting stories with us.
We gladly accept the offer, not only because the threatening rain clouds hovering over the area should actually pour down on us in the course of the day. But from the beginning. As usual in this summer series, we follow the exact coordinates of my dart and end up in the middle of the forest. More precisely, at kachelmannsberg, which rises northwest of neuses above the busy federal highway 173. Since we don’t want to wait for a walker or jogger to join us, we walk along the gravel path towards the valley. We meet a rough property, brigitte fiedlers ferienhof.
The people here all seem much younger
The almost 80-year-old rents out rustic rooms, mostly to assembly workers, but occasionally also to tourists. Head of pension and maid in personal union: her daughter often helps out, but on the whole the rusty senior keeps the business running on her own. "In the past we had cows, later we bred horses", tells them. Successful, some animals made it to good stables around the world in the course of time. Since the death of her husband, the lady, who looks at least 15 years younger, has concentrated on the hostel. Not just for the money. "What should i do alone in the rough house?"
Even if we would have liked to stay longer with the remarkable woman, the road takes us further. Before we finally turn into the town, we make a stop at "mike’s bike store" a. With bicycles, the 61-year-old michael schmidt, who seems much younger again, has not much to do anymore. He specializes in importing motorcycles and spare parts from the italian motorsport brand TM racing and manages their german-austrian racing team.
But the truly impressive thing is revealed beneath the store ceiling. Cup after cup is lined up there. Schmidt has collected 860 trophies in 45 years of enduro career. In 1996 he even became senior world champion in the USA. He has been around a lot, but at home it is best: "I feel good, the stress factor has not yet arrived here", he says with a laugh.
My stomach growls tells the time, it’s noon. Most people are at table, so we stroll through deserted streets. It starts to drizzle. Our eyes linger on a lovingly designed front garden next to the train station: "ceramic painting" is written there. We meet sylvia reuter. The 56-year-old has set up a studio in her house, where she makes all kinds of everyday objects out of ceramics and paints them by hand. The meibnerin by birth learned in the famous porcelain manufactory of the same name. She has been living in upper franconia since 1988, and in march she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming independent. Her eyes light up when she talks about painting techniques and explains firing processes. "I wanted to finally be able to express my creativity", she told.
All of a sudden our stomachs won’t let us rest, so we stop for a bite to eat at jutta hummel’s place. The 60-year-old master butcher has been supplying her birthplace with all kinds of animal proteins for 33 years and seems to know every inhabitant of the second-largest district of kronach. Her distinctive dialect underscores the hemdsarmel humor and makes our little snack a funny experience. We love neuses!
Who needs a roof when it rains?
Back on the plaster-wet church square, we can hardly believe our eyes. Defying the rain, georg hummel, an original from neuses, chugs towards us on a 71-year-old grass-covered tractor (without a roof). Of course, we jump boldly on the beam, stop him and quickly get into conversation. This prompted the soaking wet 70-year-old to invite us to his house for a cup of coffee without pulling out. Had I already mentioned to love the neuseser?
When walking through the front garden, which has been transformed into an impressive sculpture park, the visitor is reminded of the famous blue rider of the expressionists of the early 20th century. Century trotting by his side. The 300-year-old floberhaus, where hummel and his wife margot will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary next year, resembles the current franz marc exhibition in the germanisches nationalmuseum in nurnberg. How many paintings and sculptures the 70-year-old self-taught artist has already made can only be estimated. "I have long since stopped paying", he says.
30 years ago he discovered his love of art. The former managing director of a company in the northern part of the kronach district has only been a regular visitor to the studio since the end of his professional career eight years ago. But he doesn’t get to paint and work all the time, despite the cancelled work appointments. Too much time is taken up by music rehearsals, collecting old tractors, researching local history and involvement in the "neusiche kluebverein". The latter, by the way, is committed to the preservation of french potato dumpling tradition.
Georg hummel is a true jack-of-all-trades, as there seem to be many in neuses. Unfortunately, our visit is coming to an end; but it will certainly not be the last one.