Story of the Ulmer Spatz

Taste and travel @delishtreatsMay 2019 · 5 min read

You might remember that a friend of mine passed away in February this year. I was talking about it in a post a couple of months ago. As he was our close friend, we decided to attend the funeral in his hometown.

I was very nervous about it as I haven't attended a funeral in more than 10 years, and I knew there would be many tears as he was a young man with loving family and many friends. But I still wanted to say goodbye.

Don't worry, this is not going to be a sad post...


(This photo is taken from behind the glass in the hotel room so please excuse the quality)

The ceremony was at 2 PM and we thought we had a lot of time to get to Ulm as it is just 250 km from our town. Well, what we didn't realize was that there would be no highway. It was Friday and a lot of traffic including many trucks which didn't make it any faster. Sometimes we were driving 60 km/h and we almost lost our hope that we would get there on time.

Hungry and stressed we arrived in Ulm around 30 minutes before the ceremony. What we didn't know was that there was a large road maintenance in the city and that we would have to drive around to get to the cemetery. When we finally got there it was 13:55 and no free parking place. We just parked the car on the path next to the no parking sign and ran into the building. We made it just on time...

There were more than 150 people and the ceremony was beautiful. There were many tears and I am not going to talk about the details as it's still not easy for me...

But after the ceremony we decided to go for a drink with our friends who were there too. I must say that we spent the whole afternoon talking about our adventures with Willy and we laughed a lot. He wouldn't like people to be sad because of him so we made the best out of our stay here. A few of us were staying in Ulm overnight too so we had dinner together and another drink to Willy.

The next day we went for a walk in Ulm before returning to Switzerland.


I must admit that Ulm is not one of the most charming German cities but there are some nice places to see. The city is situated on the river Danube and we went for a walk in the old town where we crossed a lot of small bridges across many canals.


There are no shops in this part of the old town so there were no tourists around. It was early in the morning and the restaurants were still closed and we had it all for ourselves.


Ulm Minster

The town is dominated by Ulm Minster. It is the most important landmark in the entire region. The Minster is famous because of the highest church spire in the world (at 161.53 meters).

You can also climb around 750 steps to the observation platform and enjoy the view of the region, but we didn't do it as I don't like walking up in a closed tower that is so high. However, I can imagine that the view is stunning!

The construction of the church started in 1377 and it was financed by inhabitants of the town. You can imagine that it is not cheap to build such a large building and in 1543 the construction had to be stopped due to lack of money. Just think about those people who started the construction. They invested so much money even though they knew that they would not see the finished church.

The construction continued in the 19th century and it was finally finished in 1890. It took 6 centuries to finish this project!


It's an impressive building with many small details such as these roses on the gate.


Ulmer Spatz

The city symbol is the Ulm Sparrow. Are you wondering why?

The legend tells us that the citizens of Ulm were transporting large wooden beams for the construction of the Minster into the city. They couldn't cross the city gate because the beams were loaded crosswise on the carriages. They already decided to demolish the city gate when they saw a sparrow carrying a long straw in its beak.

The sparrow was inserting the straw lengthwise into a small hole where it was building its nest and the citizens experienced a revelation and re-positioned their beams lengthwise on the carriages. And this is how a little sparrow saved the city gate.

They placed a memorial to the sparrow on the Minster's roof.

And today, there are many statues of a sparrow placed around city 😊



This one was my favorite



I hope that you enjoyed our walk today.

PS: No, we didn't get a parking ticket 😊

Thank you for reading,



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I am just now reading this delightful post and seeing your lovely photos. I love the story about Ulm and the sparrow! It is a great tribute to your friend!


Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words Melinda!


Besides showing us another wonderful piece of the world, you managed to turn a not so happy discussion into a memorable event. I'm sure everyone would like to be remembered when they're gone, and I think Willy would be happy to know he was so fondly thought of. As always, I love to read your posts Martina, thank you for sharing your life!


Thank you for your kind words Dave. You always know what to say!


awww..... thank you!!!!!!!!!!!


Greetings @delishtreats,

What a lovely post.

Thank you for bringing these splendid photographs of the town of Ulm and it's centre piece to Steemit. Enjoyed the story of the sparrow and the numerous photographs.

It is @discovereurovelo that keeps bringing bleujay your way and I am delighted to have been introduced. ^__^



Good morning @bleujay,

Thank you for your support and for your kind words. Oh, yes, Dan @discovereurovelo is a sweetheart (I don't know if he would like to be called like this though :)) I am very pleased that he brought you to my account.

I wish you a lovely day!


Hey @bleujay, I am so glad you discovered Martina @delishtreats and joined us traveling with her. She is amazing you'll see, also my nr 1 supporter here on steemit which is a great honor for me. Thank you both!


Don't make me blush! :)


Now I remember Ulm, that church is unforgettable, very beautiful. Ulm is on the EuroVelo 6 route which follows the Danube all the way to the Danube Delta in Romania. Very good point, 6 centuries to finish the project, that's what I call long term project :) but they did it, they made Ulm a must see place in this world. Great post Martina!


I don't remember seeing anything from EuroVelo 6. Have you posted something about it? If not, you should do it :) But I always tell you to post more and I hope that you don't mind that :) I have also limited my posting to bare minimum as I simply don't have as much time as I used to.

Yes, that church is indeed unforgettable. First I found it strange to see such an impressive building in this small town but the I got used to it. And it's a very good orientation point as you can see it from far away :)

Thank you for stopping by Dan!


I'll start with EuroVelo 6 posts after I finish with EV7. Got stuck a bit again due to Easter holiday but I'll be back! like Arnold :) I always appreciate your push when I'm stuck :))


Sorry about the loss of your friend @delishtreats , but I'd bet that Willy is quite 'pleased' with your wonderful post about your last visit with him in Ulm.

Those Pictures are 'gems' as well...The tale of Minster and the sparrow touched my heart. How nice it is to see a whole town honoring a much overlooked, common little bird, often taken for granted.

Thank you for sharing it all with us.



Thank you for your kind words. You made me smile :) Oh, Willy was pleased very easily. I don't know anyone who would be as happy as he was with this kind of small things :)

There is so much that we can learn from nature and I am sure that we took many construction tricks from animals...

Have a lovely rest of the weekend,



Very nice little town @delishtreats. Six centuries to build their church! Hmmm ... 😉

And it took a little bird to help them figure out they should try bringing the beams into the city length-wise? Instead of "Plan A" - tearing down their gate?! Hmmm. Hmmm ... 😉 😉

Really enjoyed experiencing this little town through your eyes. Loved the "walk with me" and the way you captured it. Have a great day (evening) my friend!


I think it was purely because of the funding since it was finance by the inhabitants only. Maybe people in 17th/18th century didn't consider it so important or they didn't want to invest their money into the project - no idea..

Oh yes, I read that they were not that clever :) It sound unbelievable and it could only be a legend but I have read quite a bit about it and it is believed that it really happened. Well, every day is a school day :D

Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words!

How are you doing?


Yes @delishtreats ...

"Oh yes, I read that they were not that clever :)"

... that was my concern! As you may recall, we discussed ancestry awhile back and I have a considerable amount of German "blood," so hoping they were a little brighter than that ... 😉

As a Christian, it is interesting to me that any group of people professing to be the same would take 600 years to build a place to get together. I am sure the devout members of that little town did something else in the meantime, but it just struck me a little funny ... Well, as you know, though, my sense of humor might be considered ... uhhh ... an "acquired taste" ... 😉

On a serious note, I truly enjoyed the post. You do nice work. And as for the little bird, well we can both appreciate how much effort this town put in to celebrating "the legend" or whatever it is, since there is some very impressive art involved in their various ... uhhh ... "interpretations" of it.

Thank you for "bringing it to life" for us!


Thanks for sharing this beautiful city with us and I think your friend would smile reading this that you honored what you knew were his wishes and focused on seeing the beauty and not on the sadness of loosing a freind


Thank you for your kind words.

It wasn't easy but we knew that this was what he would wanted so we tried :)


I know it cannot have been easier i have been in similar situations, but when my time comes i hope my friends and family can do the same


I'm sorry you had to go to Ulm for such a sad reason but glad that it turned out to be a nice day for you in the end.


Thank you Pauline. These things happen and it was difficult at first but after talking with our friends we realized that the time is limited and Willy did so much that there was probably nothing more to be done for him in this world :)


You made belated willy happy @delishtreats 😊 as you make me happy with the pictures and story of the city. 6 centuries church and sparrows.. it's amazing. I wonder about the building along the canal/river.. what will happened if there is Flood? Is it safe?


Thank you Cici! Well, I don't know what would happen but I'm sure that they have some system in place that protects the town. In Europe there are many cities with such canals and I haven't heard about flooding in a long time :)


I love your photos, especially of the cathedral and that beautiful sunset. What a beautiful building! And nice that a sparrow has a special place in history :)


I am sorry for my late answer! I'm just going through the comment to make sure that I didn't miss any and I found yours..

Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words!