Legends of Castle Frauenfeld

Unwilling to have She Who Must Be Obeyed criticize me for remaining at home with nice weather outside while She had to work, I left the Eden known as Landschlacht for the corrupting pleasures of the Thurgau Cantonal capital, Frauenfeld.

My mission:

To distract myself in a museum, or along some pathway, or linger Euro-style upon some sidewalk terrace.

Now, Thurgau is one of those Cantons that, when it compares itself to other Cantons, feels somewhat unloved and unloveable.

Guidebooks generally ignore it.

Drivers and trains speed through it to get to Germany, St. Gallen or Schaffhausen.

Prophets ask themselves…

Can any good thing come out of Thurgau?

Where is the love?

Who mourns for Thurgau?

On any given Sunday, people crowd the cafes and streets of St. Gallen, Konstanz and Schaffhausen.

In Frauenfeld, cobblestone streets yawn emptily between the medieval squares.

Except for the Bahnhof square, it´s like the night before Xmas with not a creature stirring in sight.

Barnyards with their newborn lambs and fields with their grazing cattle are more lively than Frauenfeld streets this day.

My footsteps ring loudly down the lanes as I head to the Frauenfeld Historical Museum in Castle Frauenfeld.

I enter the castle, front door a-creaking.

A friendly, bored, lonely lady staff member leaps out of her alcove delighted to finally be of service.

She offers me free admission.

Thrusting feverishly a museum guidebook into my confused hands, she tells me it costs 22 CHF…

No, wait, it is only 5 CHF….

Ah, no, to hell with it, take it, it´s yours, no cost, sir.

I peek into rooms of stained glass windows, Middle Ages iconography, gleaming display cases of chalices and silverware, furniture used only by dust bunnies, a puppet theatre without puppets, puppeteers or puppet fans, and climb the castle tower staircase which only the wind disturbs, to view road surfaces quietly basking in the sun.

Lions rampant on the Canton flag fluttering above the ramparts is the only activity in sight.

Have I stumbled upon the Swiss movie version of the US film “I Am Legend”, wherein the streets are deserted by day but at night become hunting grounds for denizens of the dead?

But, lo, some other lost souls have entered the Castle like newly shipwrecked castaways upon a desert island.

The museum lady is all a-quiver with excitement and can hardly contain herself at the “influx” of new arrivals.

Later back at the Bahnhof square, drinking lattes at the Restaurant Papillon of the Hotel Blumenstein, I marvel at the lack of congestion in this very attractive town and ask myself whether this lacklustre phenomenon is a bad thing or not.

On the one hand, it is hard to preserve a place´s heritage if no one pays to see it.

But…

There is a certain magic in the air, feeling that you have stumbled upon some sort of Shangri-la, known only to yourself.

I think I´ll just keep this secret to ourselves.

Shhhh, don´t tell anyone. OK?

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