Actually, i was only interested in this red telephone booth. Probably the nicest garbage can phone booth in the county. Dome roof, bright red "telephone, typically british. I go to the house door, pull the bell cord to ask about the history of the cell with the residual garbage garbage can. What happens then would probably never have happened to me without a close look at the roadside.
Hikers are known for moving extremely slowly compared to joggers, road cyclists and motocross riders. My cell phone regularly shows me an average speed of about five kilometers per hour. Human snail’s pace. The hiker has time to look carefully, to pass the most impassable land and to discover something that remains hidden to others. What actually lies between kronach and ludwigsstadt or – to call the south-north expansion by its name – weides and springelhof? What happens on the villages and farms that are not reported on regularly or not at all?? Which the hiker must visit on purpose, because no connecting road leads through it, in some cases not even a road, but a path.
After all, the county is made up of 349 officially registered places.
This summer the FT editors put on their walking shoes to go back the 40 kilometers to the north on the paths that are less traveled and entered than others. Always on the lookout for stories along the way.
The start is a coincidence. So almost. I remember the beautiful bridge over the devil’s ditch in hummenberg, municipality of kups, which abuts the lichtenfels district. In the morning of the hottest day of the year so far, one woman gives the flowers, from the window another calls "good morning"!" And a half torn poster on the electrical box advertises fast internet.
At the chapel the paths of the hiker cross for the first time with an unknown woman. The elderly woman slowly leaves the cemetery, returns the greeting and says that she is actually from kups, but now lives in a senior citizens’ home in oberlangenstadt. There she is closer to her deceased husband, who lies in the same cemetery that she visits first thing in the day. Even though the conversation was brief, it will be long remembered. She was, after all, the first encounter on a long tour to the northwest.
Otherwise there is little going on on the roads and country lanes between hummenberg and mitwitz. It is a working day. It’s summer vacation. The sun bleaches from the sky. It seems as if the dark gothic walls of the castle in oberlangenstadt absorb a little heat. In nagel, a man stands at the golf tee. Caution, hiker, warn two signs. Answers the call "fore, put your hand over your head and go under cover. The hiker’s worst enemy is the golf ball – or the unleashed dog? In beikheim, municipality of schneckenlohe, a man with a leashed dog leaves the property next to the village fountain. I ask him if he is a beikheimer. He says: "no, frenchman" – in french tongue. I look skeptically. He says, he is seriously just visiting here. At least the dog was on a leash.
In the gehoft rotberg I am buried by one without leash, which barks quite sweetly and accompanies me along the house front, until I disappear on a trampling path in the forest direction hausles. Rotberg. That was new to me. Also on the map I have not seen it.
Hausles is really secluded, so lonely on the hill. But there is a vacation. There is a camper and a sign says: there is no sheep feeding today, behind the "schaferwirt" and the vacation apartments "zur schaferei". For an unobstructed view. Right here, behind the sheep gate, the frankenwald seems to begin. The first stage ends in mitwitz: quiet, peaceful, uneventful… Goods not there: the red phone booth in nagel.
The riddle of the phone booth
I ring. Inside there is the high sound of a bell. A woman opens the upper half of the door in the little half-timbered house with the magnificent rose garden, which suffers from the heat as I do, and from deer browsing, which does not concern me. I introduce myself and ask, as if it were the most everyday question of all: "tell me the story of your phone booth?" The lady smiles, invites me for a glass of water and we take a seat. She comes from kups, she says, which amazes me, with her clear high german. She has lived as a diplomat in bonn, copenhagen and london, she says. As soon as the connection to the phone booth is there – london! – so soon she is forgotten again.
Gudrun nimtz, as she is known, has a life story to tell that captivates me and makes me take an extra-long break. Our language wanders through time from the mobelhaus trobs of their parents in kups. Then to london. When the german ambassador introduced her to her later husband, the famous journalist and historian hans-joachim nimtz: fraulein trobs from kups. From the diplomatic days in london, 20 years, until she and her husband moved to frankfurt in 1979. He as a later editor-in-chief of the frankfurter neue presse, she as a dealer in antique jewelry and both with a vacation home in nagel that has been in their possession for 40 years. The phone booth is a reminder of the london years, the best time of her life, says gudrun nimtz. But as luck would have it, she didn’t find the red box in england. But in hanau. At the edge of the straw.