Two weeks in, and my blogging process has been not been the most frantic. Maybe I can blame it on the small town? Schwäbisch Hall is best described as quaint, in a good way, but it is sleepy, and I'll (for now) blame its sleepiness for my lack of motivation.
Officially, the population of Schwäbisch Hall is about 35,000 or so, but it's difficult to know exactly how many people live around here because there appears to be a very fine line between outer suburbs and new towns. The town centre of Schwäbisch Hall has at least three optometrists, so unless the local populace suffer from some kind of widespread vision-impairment or ocular disease, I think the town must service quite a few more people. Overall, it means my initial impressions, which were based on instinctive comparisons with Gisborne in Aotearoa were not perhaps so fair (to Gisborne).
The town also has several museums, several art galleries and the local brewery (Haller-Löwenbrãu) is immensely popular. The town's full of sculptures and statues too, which only enhances the town's cultured big little village atmosphere.
Foodwise, the town's well served with restaurants, and not just German food, you can also find Greek, Italian, Chinese, and Thai cuisine. There are also a couple of kebab shops (of course), which are ubiquitous across all of Deutschland I suspect. There seems to be a bakery on every corner too, and the supermarkets have a wide variety of good fresh produce. Furthermore there are markets every Wednesday and Saturday if you're after local produce (again the quality is surprisingly good, especially for the time of year). All in all, I'm eating well.
Like most German towns, it's claimed Schwäbisch Hall comes to life in summer, which I think is a legitimate claim given the amount of theatre, inside and out, on offer. Schwäbisch Hall has a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, and other plays and performance art take place on the steps of St Mikael's Church, the town's most prominent building (and shown in the photo below). However, it's still effectively winter here, so while sleet and rain have cleared the snow, the town's certainly a wee ways-away from developing a vibe enticing enough for me to want to spend my evenings outdoors.
The one thing they don't tell you is that people all speak a local dialect, Swabian, so despite my (very) slowly improving Deutsch, it's really hard to understand what folk are speaking when you're out and about. No matter I guess, I have a sneaky suspicion it doesn't matter where you go in this country, you'll encounter similar problems.
Um...what else? Not much really, I'm yet to walk up to the Comburg (an ancient former monastry), which is up a hill at the end of a park that runs about 2 km along the river from the centre of the town, but our weekend programs mostly involves going other places! Overall, I think it's a pretty good place to be in to learn Deutsch, if for no other reason than there are few other distractions.