In a recent post, I commented on the ubiquity of castles in Germany. Besides these rather massive medieval monuments, more delicate and recent palaces abound, a reflection of the country’s division into myriad principalities until not-so-long-ago, each of which flaunted its status with its own stately domicile. One such palace graces Herrnsheim, an incorporated suburb of the city of Worms.
The edifice’s current incarnation rose out of the ruins of late Middle Age and Baroque precursors. In the early 19th century, it was erected in the eminent Empire style, named after Emperor Napoleon. The surrounding estate, designed as an English landscape garden in the 18th century, has been maintained in the same style up to the present.
As Herrnsheim was the hometown of my best friend, and near our mutual high school, I frequented the location throughout the years. It took on added significance when my now husband and I strolled around its grounds, newly in love, in an attempt to walk off nervous energy, before he met my parents for the first time. All these sentimental reasons combine and I find myself irresistibly attracted each time I am in its vicinity. Last year was no different and I returned to it on more than one occasion, finding its timeless beauty augmented by its autumnal attire.
The principal building can be toured once a month, or by special request, and the adjacent orangery now houses a café, but I did not make use of either, since the destination’s main appeal lay in its outdoor scenery.
A gravel path led me past stretches of lawn complemented by groves of deciduous trees, to a lake with a central island, covered by canopy of fall foliage. Even though a gazebo, bridge, and diverse statuary were clearly fashioned and placed by human hands, the harmony between manmade and seemingly natural structures was very appealing.
I don’t recall the first time a striking statue of what appears to be an African woman materialized at the edge of the isle in the middle of the pond, but I have sat opposite her many a time and pondered her meaning.
The forest and water have always attracted a variety of creatures, among them waterfowl and raptors. All enhanced the impression of a wild place, with a slight reminder that even wilderness needs to be organized.
In typical fall fashion, the weather was changeable and alternated between sunshine, overcast skies, and gentle showers. I opened and closed my umbrella repeatedly, which happened to share the color of the leaves.
One memorable moment, I stood agape, admiring a golden “leaffall”, brought on by a hefty gust of wind. Not many people were out and about, and despite the relative smallness of the park and a nearby busy road with its muffled engine noise, I had the sense of being far away from the crowds. I regularly seek solitude wherever I go, and even small enclaves of nature have the power to restore in me a sense of well-being and belonging. This colorful gem in the old country, though exceptional, is no exception.
Click here for the German version/klicken Sie bitte hier für die deutsche Version: