Lake and fountain from our hotel
Now we were ready to tackle our genealogical work. We had decided to look for lodgings as close to Peter Walther's village as possible, which turned out to be a place named Neustadt an der Aisch. The Internet supplied us with a selection; we chose the Allee Hotel, a former school with a separate purpose-built hotel annex where we found our room. We had a large and comfortable room and a delicious breakfast at the main building every morning.
The town itself is charming, largely a pedestrian-friendly, low-key Bavarian town with a central square edged by several restaurants. It was ideal for the launch of our genealogy travel. We were surprised to find throughout our travels that every little town sported a central decoration of Easter eggs: eggs strung among branches, eggs on fountains, eggs on the windowsills of restaurants. Easter egg decoration in Neustadt
We wanted to go to Schornweisach, Peter's birthplace. In our original correspondence with the Schornweisach Lutheran Pastor, we were told that there were no other records available except for the family group sheet he had sent us. As we had learned many times before, a little digging can produce wonders. We felt sure that once we were on the spot, we would learn more. On our way to Schornweisach, we explored first Neustadt, the town where we stayed, and then Uehlfeld, the town where we thought Peter may have been christened.
Schornweisach is a borough of Uehlfeld which itself is in the district headed by Neustadt, so we are talking about seriously small towns, separated The Uehlfeld maypole by strips of farmland or forests, sometimes industrial sites. Our first exploration was partly to learn about public transportation. We quickly learned that you don't just pick up and go someplace in this part of Germany: you read bus schedules. We never did learn what the various levels of bus service are. After consulting one of the large printed sheets giving schedules from Neustadt to various places, we did find one bus that seemed to go to Uehlfeld. It said 127. We sat on the bench by the market plaza and approximately at the right time, a small van pulled up. We tried to get on and asked if they went to Uehlfeld: Nope. So off we got, back to the bench. Finally a young man reassured us that a regular bus would be coming along, and so it did, and it was on time.
Our bus, 127, had a special route which was wonderful for us. It wound through one microscopic village after another. It was the Brewery route. Aficianados could pick up a special bus schedule which has a place for a stamp from each brewery. The biggest brewery in Uehlfeld sports the town maypole out front. We understand that each year it is taken to the central square for May Day dancing.
We happily wandered the few blocks of the center of Uehlfeld, finding our way into the local church. In this region, all the churches are German Evangelical (Lutheran). Uehlfeld church Similar to other Bavarian Protestant churches, it is light and bright with beautifully gilded decorations and flowers. We were told that, also like many Protestant churches, it was once a Catholic church. White ribbons were left over from Easter services.
Finally we decided it was time to return to Neustadt. It was too hard to get all the way to Schornweisach this day. So we found our way back to the bus stop and learned that there was only one more bus back to Neustadt that day, and it would arrive about in about two hours. Well, we thought we would take a taxi to Neustadt. But there were no taxis in Uehlfeld.
So we spent the next two hours sitting at the bus stop watching occasional people pass buy. Mostly we saw children, because there are not many shops in Uehlfeld either, thus no reason to walk on the street except to go visiting. Finally (and again, right on time) the bus appeared and deposited us back in downtown Neustadt. We felt we had learned several valuable lessons from our class in German Public Transportation 101.