I greeted this day with excitement and reservation. It has been over 100 years since Great Grandpa Sachs left Hof for America. The last letter we have to him from his family in Hof was in 1949.
The train from Berlin to Hof took four and a half hours. The last leg from Leipzig to Hof was a local regional train that stopped at every town along the way. We barely made the connection in Leipzig as the train was ten minutes late. We had two minutes to move from platform 11 to 8. The regional trains do nothing in English. They only speak German. Thank you God, Praise for a kindhearted conductor who could not speak English but was very helpful.
The region around Hof is beautiful with rolling hills and manicured like a lawn. The trees were yellow, orange, and red. The wine blew the round aspen leaves. They seemed too be cheering us as we arrived at each station. The area is massive farming with some hops and grapevines growing.
Our hotel was steps from the train station. Hotel Burghof has been a hotel in this space since 1908. It is cozy, dated, functional, and warm.
Paul found a great Italian German restaurant Rote in the city center. It was funny that the best German food we found in almost every city was in an Italian restaurant.
It was literally the best schnitzel we had in Germany.
Hof is a transition city in Germany like the Bronx in New York. Waves of immigrants move there until they assimilate and move on. The address from where our family wrote that last letter is now in a Turkish neighborhood and other parts of the city are Afghan and Syrian.
After a delicious breakfast of dill garnished smoked salmon, chocolate pate’ and Nutella bread, we walked to the old town market. It was a small market in the oldest section of town. The brochure we got at the Rathaus explained the history of each location.
St. Lorenz is the oldest church in Hof and was begun about 1250. It is amazing to be in a town that has history back to 1080 AD. Though most of the buildings were destroyed in multiple wars, there are enough original buildings to see how beautiful the town must have been when Grandpa Sachs played in the streets there. I can envision it covered in snow like a Currier and Ives painting.
In order to see everything we took local buses in every direction from town center to the ends of the lines and back. It is a great way to see a city. Just get a day pass that covers all lines.
The terrain is hilly, lush green and dotted with evergreen glades. We saw horses, very large geese, and cows.
After the bus tours we stopped at a beer garden near the river. The setting was storybook German. They served Scherdel beer which is made in Hof.
As we window shopped down Main Street the aroma of German sausages wafted through the air. It was a street vendor selling Bavarian sausage on a pretzel bun with sweet mustard. The traditional local Bavarian sausage is white – Weisswurst. Made from minced veal and pork it has a delicate flavor of parsley, lemon, cardamon, and mace. Steamed or boiled it is not at all greasy and the skin is always removed so it is not chewy but very tender. Love them!
It was a great day. We got to walk the path of Martin Kuno Sachs and get a better understanding of his contribution to our Messina Hof legacy.