Ulmer Spatzeninvasion - Invasion of the Sparrows
You see sparrow sculptures all over the place in Ulm, on squares, in front of shops, above doors, in the water, just everywhere. Look around, above and beside you, and you might spot one. They are all unique.
The invasion started in May 2001. Artists designed blank sparrow sculptures, 270 in total. Ulm, and also Neu-Ulm, were invaded by those colourful sparrows. They were auctioned in November 2001, and all the money that was made went into the restoration of the Cathedral’s South Tower.
You will not find all 270 sparrows today even if you try hard. But many business people bought sparrows and have kept them in front of their shops, or over their entrance doors, attached to the building.
There are absolutely lovely examples where the sparrow’s design matches the location perfectly.
Just looking over a website with a lot of those sparrows… I have to say, sooo many have gone. But still, there are still enough in the city to make me smile every time I see one :-)))
The Hotel-Spatz stands in front of the hotel “Ulmer Spatz” south of the Cathedral. As a VTer you have to see the Traveller Spatz (part two of the photo collection on the following websites), of course.
I think they are just brilliant – and many of them even more brilliant if you understand German and the double meaning of some words. For example a Spatzenkönig is not just a “King of Sparrows”, even less so. A Spatzenkönig also is a far too thick Spätzle, our fresh Swabian pasta. Or take the “Käs-Spätzle” – that is the Spätzle pasta with cheese, butter and onion. Try it in one of the great local restaurants!
Also see my travelogue with a selection of the sparrows of the Spatzeninvasion.
Hirschstraße - main pedestrian and shopping Street
This street is Ulm’s longest pedestrian street and main shopping street. It links the Railway Station (Hauptbahnhof) and Münsterplatz (Cathedral Square). So if you arrive by train you just have to walk straight out of the station, get into the underpass under the tramway line, and just walk straight ahead, and you will automatically end up in front of the Cathedral.
If you are very attentive you will even note that Hirschstraße does not start as Hirschstraße at the railway station but as Bahnhofstraße. After about 250 or 300 metres it becomes Hirschstraße (at Wengengasse). But no Ulmer would say he goes to Bahnhofstraße. If a Ulmer says he goes to Hirschstraße it includes all and means that he will go shopping.
There are several big department stores (Galeria Kaufhof, Müller), expensive and cheap clothes stores and chains, shoe shops, bakeries, Ulm’s biggest pharmacy (Hirschapotheke), but also several cafés, fastfood outlets and stalls. On a nice day it is quite pleasant to sit in the outdoor seating area of one of the cafés, have a meal or snack, or just a coffee, and watch people.
However, Hirschstraße is one of those examples of typical German pedestrian zones where they have totally neglected to create living space and atmosphere. They only are alive during daytime when the shops and cafés are open. In the evenings they are more or less dead and absolutely no lively area. Hirschstraße is no exception.
Man of the Century
When old Cliffie lived in Germany, he taught at a secondary school called the Albert Einstein Gymnasium. Einstein, Time Magazine's Man of the Century, was born in Ulm in 1879. He subsequently became a Swiss citizen and then, in 1940, a citizen of the USA. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921 for his discovery of the 'law of the photoelectric effect'. But his greatest achievement was his General Theory of Relativity. Anyone who can really understand it deserves a crate of Ulmer Bier!
This marvelous baroque monastery in the little town of Roggenburg close to Ulm has an interesting history. Established in 1126, it became rich and influential and even established other monastery subisidiaries in Switzerland. It was relatively unaffected by the wars of the 16th/17th centuries in Germany. The monastery building ensemble was rebuild in the baroque style in the 18th century. Due to the Napoleonic Wars, the monastery was closed down in 1802, only to be reestablished for the use of a monastic order in 1986. The monastery also features a nice hotel with a beergarden which would be a good base for daytrips to Ulm.
The huge complex on the corner of Münster square was built in 1585-1593 as a storehouse for grain, wine and salt. After a fire in 1924 it was restored, then again repaired after suffering some damage in World War II.
Nowadays it hosts the police and some other municipal offices.
The courtyard can be entered. The fountain in the middle (1591, now a copy) bears a statue of empress Hildegard.