Secret tip Upper Lusatia – natural recreation and enjoyment in Tautewalde

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Today the parcel carrier brought me a parcel from Upper Lusatia, which I was very pleased about. Some time ago I was on a short trip to this region and spent two interesting days full of activities, enjoyment and experiences. Among other things I was allowed to become active in a pottery – the result is in the package mentioned at the beginning. I am already excited, today I will see it for the first time and hold it in my hands. Looking back on the days in Upper Lusatia, I can say: the region and also the hotel in Tautewalde are indeed a real insider’s tip.

Insider Tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Hereditary Court Tautewalde Bautzen

What actually makes an insider tip?

Can you tell right away where Upper Lusatia is located and which towns and sights are there?? If not, you are not alone. According to a study by the Institute for Management and Tourism, only 15% of all Germans had visited Upper Lusatia in 2014. This region actually has a lot to offer, which makes it a real insider tip: recreation close to nature, discoveries for gourmets, more than 1000 years of Sorbian history and culture as well as interesting handicrafts to touch.

Where is the Upper Lusatia?

Let’s start with the location: Upper Lusatia is located in the border triangle of Germany/Poland/Czech Republic and extends to about 67 percent in Saxony, 30 percent in Poland and a meager 3 percent in Brandenburg. The biggest cities are Gorlitz and Bautzen.

What is immediately noticeable: the place and street signs here are bilingual. This is a first hint to the more than 1000 years old history of the region – besides the German name the Sorbian name of the respective place, the respective street is noted as well.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

The best way to get to the Upper Lusatia is by car. This works very well via the freeways A4 from Dresden or A13 from Berlin as well as via various excellent federal roads.

The starting point and base camp for our discoveries in Upper Lusatia is a small town near Bautzen: Tautewalde. The nearest train station is Wilthen, about 3 km away – yes, that’s the place with the famous Wilthen Wine Distillery, one of the oldest and most important wine distilleries in Germany. I would have liked to visit them! There are actually guided tours – but unfortunately only on weekdays, not on Sundays and holidays.

The Landidyll Hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde – a gem in Upper Lusatia

The name says it all: the hotel looks truly idyllic even at first glance. It is autumn time and in front of the entrance door everything is decorated lovingly autumnally. This also continues in the building. But it is not a kitschy and dusty country idyll, but still seems somehow fresh and modern. Do you know that feeling when you enter a building and immediately feel at home there?? That’s exactly how I felt at the Landidyll Hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde.

Article image Upper Lusatia Landidyll Tautewalde Hereditary Court

The hotel consists of two connected buildings – the front house is a historical building of the old hereditary court and behind it a modern hotel building was built. Everything harmonizes wonderfully in style and appearance and the highlight is in between: a wonderful inner courtyard, which virtually invites you to stop for a break. Apparently also gladly with children – I noticed of course immediately the small playground, which is in sight. And directly behind it a park-like garden – I already mentioned: idyllic!

Secret tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Tautewalde Heritage Court Bautzen

The hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde is owner-managed – Enrico and Nadine Schulz run the house with great commitment and enthusiasm. Together with their staff they create a very pleasant atmosphere in which I felt very comfortable as a guest. I noticed a saying on a plaque in the building: “The value of a house is not its walls, but the people who work in it.” A nice motto and I have the impression that this principle is implemented in the management of the hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde.

Where does the name Erbgericht come from?

Erbgericht – this designation, in connection with a place name, I have read in Saxony and partly also Saxony-Anhalt already several times. Mostly one sees this as restaurant or hotel name. What is it all about?

In fact, this term dates back to the Middle Ages. The so-called hereditary judge was appointed by the lord of the land or manor, presided over the village court, and exercised lower jurisdiction. He was a member of the village community and arbitrated disputes, divided the Fronddienste – certainly not an easy task. In exchange, he was exempt from taxes, interest and services, and he was often also entitled to the liquor and brewing rights. From generation to generation this office was inherited. In the villages east of the Elbe and Saale rivers, the hereditary court had a very special significance in addition to the church and school. In the 16. Finally in the 19th century the hereditary courts were dissolved.

The name has survived over the centuries, and that’s why many villages still have inns – or even hotels – that have the name Erbgericht in their name.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

My room in the Landidyll Hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde

The first impression when I entered my room: here I can feel comfortable for two nights. Everything is nicely furnished and absolutely sufficient for a short stay. The furnishings are functional and look as good as new, I don’t miss anything.

The windows face south-east and twice I have the pleasure of watching a magnificent sunrise. At night I can leave the windows open – it is quiet outside. The nearby railroad line is not very busy and no noise is heard either from there or from the street on the other side of the hotel.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

In the 3. Floor located directly under the roof, you have to be a little careful with the slope of the roof. In fact, I hit my head twice on one of the beams. Looking at the rooms on the hotel website, this was probably one of the budget single/double rooms. For a longer stay, I would rather book a slightly larger room in one of the two higher categories.

An absolute plus and in the meantime also an important criterion for me when choosing a hotel: free WLAN in the entire hotel – and that too at a pleasant speed.

Culinary delights at the Landidyll Hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde

The plaques at the hotel entrance raise great expectations for the culinary delights in the in-house restaurant. Enrico Schulz is a member of the select circle of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, one of the world’s most renowned gastronomic societies dedicated to the art of dining. As one of only three restaurants in Upper Lusatia, the Erbgericht Tautewalde is listed on the association’s general map.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

A look at the website of the hotel, where you can also find excerpts from the menu, also makes me curious in advance: there you can read about regional ingredients that are processed with international influences to creative dishes. In addition, directly on the home page, the notice that on various days unfortunately no more reservations for the restaurant can be accepted – it is fully booked. This suggests a very popular cuisine in the region!

Insider Tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

So a menu awaits us for dinner, but first a choice has to be made: for the main course I can choose fish or meat. My stomach is calling: meat – and with that, I opt for the sauerbraten of venison with Brussels sprouts and stupperche (which are Oberlausitzer potato dumplings).

After an exhausting day I bring a good appetite with me and am directly pleased about the fresh bread, which is served with three different spreads to the prelude.

A little culinary greeting from the kitchen – I confess, I forgot to write down what I had on my plate. In any case it was very tasty.

Finally, the menu definitely meets my expectations. Seasonally appropriate and indeed a very successful balance between regional, down-to-earth cuisine and international creativity.

Insider's tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Tautewalde Bautzen

Insider's tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Hereditary Court Tautewalde Bautzen

Smoker evening at the hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde

A very special highlight in the culinary calendar of the hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde are the smoker evenings which take place several times a year. We have the pleasure to take part in such a culinary highlight – also this time the restaurant is completely booked up.

Insider Tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Hereditary Court Tautewalde Bautzen

In the afternoon I am allowed to take a quick look inside the smoker – Enrico Schulz opens it only very briefly so that the temperature in the cooking chamber does not drop. The main courses for the smoker evening are prepared in it. 8 hours cook the different kinds of meat and fish slowly in the Smoker, before they come in the evening on the table. The meat is perfect afterwards – butter-tender and aromatic. The whole thing is rounded off by homemade sauces and dips.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Tautewalde Heritage Court Bautzen

In addition to the main courses, there is also a very extensive buffet with appetizers, side dishes and desserts.

My personal favorite of this evening is the fjord trout with fennel and orange. But tastes are different – as diverse as the selection on this wonderful smoker evening.

But now enough about accommodation and the hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde. Let’s move on to the topic of active recreation and the things to do during a stay in Upper Lusatia.

On the trail of the wizard of Upper Lusatia

Directly at the hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde leads a well-known hiking trail of the Upper Lusatia along: the Pumphutsteig. This is named after a very famous Upper Lusatian legendary figure: Martin Pumphut

The legend of the Pumphut

Said Martin Pumphut is said to have been a miller’s boy in Upper Lusatia, who possessed magical powers. These are said to come from his large magic hat, which is pointed and has a wide brim. His name is also derived from this hat – in those days pump builders are said to have worn such hats.

Pumphut went through the Upper Lusatia as a miller’s boy. If the miller treated him well, he thanked him for it. Otherwise he took revenge and did all kinds of mischief – so also in the surroundings of Wilthen, where you can now walk on his tracks on this circular route.

Hiking in Upper Lusatia: The Pumphutsteig trail

In Wilthen, near the train station, you finally meet him: Martin Pumphut himself. Well, not quite – but at least a monument has been erected to him, the sorcerer of Upper Lusatia.

The Pumphutsteig is a 17 kilometer long circular hiking trail. Along the way there are several legend boards, which tell the story of the Pumphut. The route consists of eight sections and offers at marked viewpoints again and again a wonderful view of the landscape of Upper Lusatia. At various stations – of which the Landidyll Hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde is one, by the way – you receive a stamp in a hiking stamp card. Some inns on the tour invite you to take a breather. Even for the little ones there is a lot to discover on the tour.

It doesn’t matter where the hike starts – it’s a circular route. The hiking stamp cards are available in all inns on the route and of course in the Tourist Information Wilthen.

Traditional handicraft in Upper Lusatia: visit to a pottery

Pottery has a long tradition in Upper Lusatia due to rich clay deposits in this region. Even today, there are many potteries here, which preserve the historic decorations, but also successfully develop new design. We visited such a pottery in Schmolln-Putzkau: the pottery Thomas Thunig

The boss Thomas Thunig is just enjoying his well-deserved vacation after the end of the pottery market season – before the Christmas market season will start in a few weeks. On markets among other things in Vienna, Munich and also on the Strietzelmarkt in Dresden one can acquire the products of the pottery.

Interesting things in the workshop

Martina Matyba welcomes us in its place – she works as a ceramic painter in the company. Martina completed her training as a ceramic painter in Meissen and can now look back on more than 40 years of professional experience. Her passion for her profession is clearly evident as she leads us through the workshop and explains the individual steps from the lump of clay to the finished product.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Hereditary Court Tautewalde Bautzen

Insider Tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Heritage Court Tautewalde Bautzen

Especially for our visit to the pottery, another employee came to demonstrate her craftsmanship at the potter’s wheel. Maxi Fessel was an apprentice in the company and now works with heart and soul as a potter. Under her skilful hands a small work of art is created in no time at all from a precisely weighed piece of clay. Incredible how fast it goes.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

The clay used nowadays comes from France – because of the better quality. However, each piece is processed, fired and hand-painted individually in Schmolln in Upper Lusatia.

A view into the sales area

And what beautiful pieces they are! In the sales room I do not know where to look first. The basic range is brown salt-glazed stoneware. In addition, there are various other series: for example, the lavender reminds us of Provence, the olive branch of Tuscany. Very popular is the series with the fruit design.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Hereditary Court Tautewalde Bautzen

For the season and for the Christmas markets, there are also plates, bowls and cups in Christmas design. And I discover something very special from the region: a dumpling woman. This smoker looks like steam rising from the bowl of fresh potato dumplings. I was very angry later that I did not buy such a pretty figurine directly in the store.

Insider Tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Hereditary Court Tautewalde Bautzen

My self painted plate

At the end of our visit of the pottery Thomas Thunig we may become active also still even. I decide to paint a plate based on one of the in-house designs. Martina puts the necessary materials on the table and explains to me what I have to observe. With their help it succeeds then also quite well – I am in any case very satisfied with the result. Now the good piece still has to be fired. I am proud of my work. And I have even more respect for this craftsmanship – each piece is a handmade unicum.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Tautewalde Heritage Court Bautzen

This self-painted plate I have now, a few weeks after my stay in the Upper Lusatia, finished fired and well packaged received. It should even be suitable for the dishwasher.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

A trip to the city of towers

What comes to your mind spontaneously about Bautzen?? When asked this question, the well-known Bautzner mustard is usually mentioned first. Or the band Silbermond. But that was it – more I could not list ad hoc. Reason enough for a side trip to the city of Bautzen, which is also called the city of towers. This nickname explains itself already with our arrival, when we drive over the peace bridge in the direction of the old part of town. From this bridge you have the best view of the Bautzen skyline, which is indeed dominated by various towers.

Insider Tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Hereditary Court Tautewalde Bautzen

We want to make a tour through the old town and I am already curious in view of the many towers, what awaits us. But first we feel a little appetite for lunch – and so we stop for a snack in the Italian Corner.

Insider Tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Tautewalde Inheritance Court Bautzen

Another insider tip: Lunch at the Italian Corner Bautzen

This insider tip is located in the city center: parallel to the pedestrian zone of the city runs the Wendische Strabe, where the store can be found. A delicatessen and trattoria at the same time, the Italian Corner offers a small selection of Italian dishes on weekdays at lunchtime. Antipasti and fresh bread, delicious pasta and a small dessert – heart, what do you want more?

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

Finally an espresso and already the spirits are awakened again and I am ready for a walk through the city of the towers.

A historical city tour with the Turmerin of Bautzen

We have an appointment with Maria Henke, aka The Turmerin of Bautzen for a historical tour of the city. She has been appointed Official Ambassador of the Upper Lusatia Region – she has been involved in tourism in the region since 1979 and does her job with enthusiasm. She probably knows every corner of the small town and is not at a loss for an answer. That she comes from the area, you can hear by her strongly rolled R, which is so typical for the Upper Lusatian dialect.

The cathedral and its tower

We begin our tour at the Bautzen Cathedral. There are two special features to marvel at: the cathedral is Germany’s oldest simultaneous church and it has a bend in the wall. What please? Yes, indeed. Why this is so, no one knows exactly – but the Dom St. Petri clearly shows a bend in the axis in its ground plan. If you look closely, you can also see it inside. At this very spot we find the second special feature: as a simultaneous church, this building is used by both Lutherans and Catholics. The border between the two ran for many years just at this ‘kink’.

However, I found much more interesting the fact that the tower of the Bautzen Cathedral still houses the apartment of a real Turmerin (female tower keeper). (Not from Maria, who only takes on the role of Bautzen’s Turmerin for her city tours.) There is even an elevator attached to the outside, which can be used to pull up the groceries.

Insider's tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

You can climb up the tower on weekends. Those who are not afraid of the 239 steps can enjoy the view over the city from the observation deck at a height of 53 meters for a small fee.

Insider's tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

The alleys of the old town

Maria leads us further through the picturesque alleys of the old town and tells one or the other cheerful anecdote from the more than 1000 year old history of Bautzen. Unfortunately, it is not possible to describe everything here – you simply have to see, hear and experience it for yourself. It is varied and I hardly notice how the time flies.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Hereditary Court Tautewalde Bautzen

The ruins of the church of St. Nicholas

Finally we arrive at the ruins of the St. Nicholas church. This church from the 15. The castle was destroyed in the 16th century already in 1620 and has not been rebuilt since then. Around the ruins there is a small cemetery and you can also see graves between the church walls.

Insider tip Upper Lusatia Landidyll Erbgericht Tautewalde Bautzen

An old battlements of the former city fortification of Bautzen leads past the church. From there, you have a very nice view of the Spree River, which winds along the city as a small river here.

Further destinations

Even more excursion tips for a vacation in the Upper Lusatia pleasing? No problem, there are enough worthwhile excursion destinations in the near and far surroundings of Tautewalde:

  • In Kirschau, only about 6 kilometers away from Tautewalde, you can find the Korse-Therme, an adventure and leisure pool
  • In Kleinwelka, only approx. 18 kilometers from Tautewalde is Germany’s largest dinosaur park with attractions for young and old
  • To the biggest attraction of the Elbsandsteingebirge, the Bastei with the wonderful Basteibrucke, it is only about an hour away. 45 minutes by car, to the fortress Konigstein only a few minutes more. 15 interesting sights in Saxon Switzerland are presented by Chris on his blog “My Travelworld.
  • How about a visit to the fairy tale castle of Cinderella? Moritzburg is also less than an hour away.
  • Last but not least: it takes less than an hour to drive to Dresden, the wonderful capital of Saxony.

My personal conclusion after two days in Upper Lusatia

I enjoyed the two days in the Upper Lusatia very much and it really makes me want to do more. I can absolutely recommend a short vacation in the Upper Lusatia, for example with the hotel Erbgericht Tautewalde as a starting point. There are enough wonderful and interesting destinations – don’t you think??

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