Tavern where Dr. Faust (Faustus) stayed

Tavern where Dr. Faust (Faustus) stayed

Today (7/29/13) was a rainy day in Germany, which provided us a welcome opportunity to sleep in, be lazy, and catch up on things. Finally, in the afternoon, things had started to clear up, so we headed out to find a fan. The rain has cooled things off considerably, but temperatures are expected to go right back up. When the man at the departments store when we’d first arrived told us they we sold out of fans in the entire region, we were concerned. But, today we found one at Obi–a store recommended to us when we stopped in to ask at Ikea.

Castle Ruins Staufen

Castle Ruins Staufen

So, fans taken care of, we headed off to Staufen. This little town was another nugget we drew from Rick Steves, who informed us that Doctor Johann Georg Faust (Faustus) had lived here. This was surprising to me, since I thought Dr. Faustus was just a literary figure. He did not, to my knowledge, sell his soul to the devil, but one can see where the story came from. In reality, Faust (he added the Dr. himself) was an alchemist (Some sources list other titles as well). The people in Staufen had been supported by ore deposits, but when cheap silver was imported, their fortunes took a dive. Desperate for funds to pay off their debts, they invited Faustus to work for them. Interestingly, they didn’t want him near the castle, since alchemy was considered a “dark art” and was frowned upon by society, so they moved him to the Lowen tavern. The tavern was located where most of the artisans congregated, so it was a good spot. One night after a bit too much drinking, Dr. Faust went home to do some experiments, and instead created a massive chemical explosion which killed him. Today, anyone who’s taken Chemistry understands the smoke, colors, and smells of a chemical explosion, but at that time, those effects, coupled with the disfigurement of Faust’s body, would have easily given rise to stories involving the devil.

The road home

The road home

After visiting the Hotel, we headed back home. The drive between Staufen and Freiburg is a beautiful one–rows of farms stretched out on rolling hills. Definitely worth seeing. What struck me most is that instead of having a house in the center of fields, all of the fields were grouped together, and all of the houses are grouped together. Once again, this underscored the sense of community here. It is truly a beautiful place to be.

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