|Arriving to the top of Todtnauberg|
A few days ago Na and I had the pleasure of visiting Martin Heidegger's cabin located in the mountains of the Black Forest region of southern Germany. Built in 1922, the small three room cabin (often referred to as "die Hütte" or "the hut") was where Heidegger wrote many of his most famous books, including Being and Time (written in 1927).
|Plans showing the evolution of the C.S. Peirce house|
Heidegger's cabin is simple yet quite romantic in its austerity; connected to the surrounding rustic, idyllic valley of fields and forests in a way that is quite indescribable. Even Na remarked how the surrounding Black Forest had a magnetism to it; a certain charm of magic and air of mystery which draws one closer wondering what lies ahead in those dark woods. The valley itself is quaint with its rolling hills, green pastures, and a rural village which abuts the forests. I could see Heidegger's ideas spelled out in this landscape, especially essays like "Why I Stay in the Provinces" written in 1934 or "Conversations Along a Country Path" written in 1944. I can see how many have taken up Heidegger's thoughts on place and space, dwelling and thinking, mortals and gods, while looking at how his writings may have been affected by writing in the cabin.
Directions to the Heidegger hut or Heidegger cabin are quite simple although it is generally off limits to visitors to see up close due to its location on private property. Na and I were granted access just by chance however as we ran into an immediate family member who happened to be there during a German holiday (I imagine that if you do find someone who owns the property or someone who knows a family member that they'd let you see it up close as long as you ask). So in that respect we were extremely lucky to see it up close as we were expecting only to see it from a distance along the path.
The cabin is located in Todtnauberg with the path leading to it (the "Heidegger Rundweg") beginning at the center of the village. The path in its entirety takes about 90 minutes to walk although the cabin itself is visible from the path after about ten or so minutes of walking. Many locals come to the path (which is owned by the town, only its adjoining fields are privately owned) to walk and enjoy the scenery.
We traveled by train from Heidelberg which took about four hours, stopping to change trains in Rastatt, then Offenburg, and then taking a bus from Kirchzarten (a very nice small village itself) to Todtnauberg. Our bus took us up several steep forested mountainsides where there are a few resorts and ski places, a nature center, and then fewer and fewer remote mountain villages. Once on top of the mountain Todtnauberg appears (on a map part of "Todtnau") which is very, very small and consists mainly of farm houses and a few small hotels.
|Sign for the Heidegger Rundweg, town center|
The hill to the cabin is quite steep so be sure to wear sturdy shoes or have a friend that can help you climb up. During our visit the field grass was thick and it was extremely muggy out making the climb somewhat difficult. We ascended along side a stream whose water helped keep us cool on such a hot day. After a few minutes of climbing the hill we finally reached our destination which was awe-inspiring to see up close after having read and written about Heidegger for so many years.
As you can see in the photos I will post below, it is quite beautiful. The views from the front of the cabin are stunning - and a little ways from the cabin toward the front at a crest there is a wooden bench where you can sit and take in the scenery.
It is certainly a trip that has changed the way I see Heidegger's writings. A very powerful experience for sure, I'd recommend it to anyone who currently or has in the past taken interest in Heidegger's philosophy and would like to see where some of his most profound ideas were generated.
Click on photos to see larger image.
|Heidegger Rundweg, looking back to beginning of path|
|Panoramic shot of valley|
|View of cabin from the bottom of the path|
|About ten to fifteen minute walk along the path, base of hill to cabin|
|View of the cabin at hill summit|
|Front of cabin|
|View from the front steps of the cabin|
|Right side view|
|Water pump about 20-30' from cabin side|
|Side of cabin, cut wood is stacked along its side|
|View of valley from the top of the hill|
|View of valley to the left|
|Another small path leads from the cabin side to the paved path below|
|Cabin atop the hill, stream runs in cut shown in middle of photo|
|Another view of cabin, top|
|Building maintained by family member, to the left, base of hill|
|Valley view exiting path back to town|