Without doubt, it is beautiful here. In the winding streets of limburger’s old town, the midday sun is reflected in the windows of the small houses. They nestle against the cathedral hill like crooked teeth. Much half-timbering, much schnorkel, much lovely there is to admire here. But the crowds of people who travel to limburg these days don’t come here for the beauty, they come here for franz-peter tebartz-van elst and his "show-off" building.
The bishop and the increased cost of his new residence are attracting a lot of attention to the town. "There are much more tourists than usual in autumn", says first city councilor michael stanke (CDU). Many people would see the limburg sign on the nearby highway and spontaneously drive off.
The old town is therefore also full of fubgangers on weekdays. On a kiosk stand, the "mirror" is displayed advertised, on the cover the bishop. A few steps further on in front of the "zum batzewert" inn lures a board with the offer "today again bischofsknodel 6,20 euro. The rustic taproom inside is well filled, old gentlemen sit at the bar over their first beer, sonorous pub murmurs can be heard.
It falls silent as the news is read out on the radio. The bishop is still waiting in rome, in limburg the tourists take pictures of his residence, says the spokeswoman. The theme dominates the town even in the darkest corners of its pubs. Susanne karfmann stands behind the bar and taps beer. No, the knodel had already existed before, the recipe came from the previous owner of the "batzewert", but yes, they are very much in demand at the moment, he says. The special thing about it? "They are filled with blood and liver sausage. And sauerkraut and specksobe are served." And the bishop? She feels a little sorry for him, she says, with her hands on her hips. "When one is down, one should not kick any further." Says it and takes the next order.
One alley away, in another small house, fritz schlund is stabbing a piece of apple strudel with a cake fork. He is one of those who came here because of the bishop. Actually, he lives in mecklenburg-vorpommern, but they are on a tour of germany, he tells us. On the way down from the highway to the lahnstadt, he was still very upset about the pomp and waste. So much so that he considered turning his back on the catholic church forever. But then in the dome the rage was gone. "I am still deeply moved", he says. The beauty of the city overwhelms him. "On the domberg, you can see the best tradition of craftsmanship everywhere. There is the highest taste at work. One man can’t do it alone", he explains meaningfully.
Most of the participants in the tours through the old town now first asked when they were going up to the cathedral hill, says city councilor stanke. You have to go through the small streets, past a gemstone shop with mood rings in the display, up a few more steps, and then suddenly they loom up in front of you, the cathedral and the bishop’s residence to the right of it.
A man walks past the wall of the trutzburg and curses in deepest upper bavarian. "He put it up and said: make it as ugly as possible for 30 million", he calls. Andreas brunner – brown hair with a blond streak, horn-rimmed glasses and a polka-dot shirt – tells us that he used to be a catholic, and was even confirmed by the then bishop of munich, ratzinger ("he’s such a miserable person"). Actually from the proximity of munich, but straight to attendance in the proximity of limburg is it. "And there I wanted to look at the halt au times. I imagined it much more voluminous. In principle it is only hateful."
Tebartz-van elst, meanwhile, is still in rome awaiting a meeting with the pope.