Badisch Siberia by Bernd Vonau in Elztal, Germany

Elztal, Germany is very far from bigger cities and still has its own special history: The Roman Empire had a border here which is very well documented and there are leftovers of some two thousand year old buildings in our village. We also have a museum of the “limes.” In the photo you can see me in the forest nearby our house. These trees always remind me of the Italian pine forests we’ve seen at the Mediterranean Sea in Italy. This forest is the place where my family and I spend time taking walks, relaxing and enjoying nature. The pine trees are beautiful and this forest looks very different every season of the year. Autumn is a special time to be in the forest because of the fog, giving this place a very unique atmosphere. Early in the morning, and if you are really quiet there may well be some rabbits or deer enjoying this peaceful place. And as we know: all roads lead to Rome.

Name:Bernd Vonau

Graphic Designer, Photographer


Back to the roots: Calligraphy, painting, drawing

Tell us about Elztal:

Elztal lies in a valley between Heidelberg and Würzburg to name some bigger German cities. There is a saying that this part of our area was a white spot on the map for a long time and so it is called “badisch siberia.”  We are so far away from illuminated skies, that starry nights are breathtaking.

A perfect day in Elztal?

From my home village I would ride my bike over the hill, greet the deer and rabbits crossing my path, shoot some foggy forest photos and make my way to town. Then have a coffee to go and sit on the marketplace for some minutes. I would spend some hours writing ancient alphabets or draw illustrations in my studio. After making lunch for my kids and wife back home, we will enjoy a cup of coffee in our garden and enjoy the sun. Often we take a walk, which in any direction leads into nature.

What is the best thing about your spot?

Silence! I moved 22 times and after 5 years I still can’t believe how silent a place can be. The direct access to nature and the amount of wild animals in our “backyard” is amazing!

What is the worst?

I grew up in a city that was vivid, modern and very open. This place is often a bit too peaceful, so I have to visit bigger cities.

What would be surprising about Elztal to an outsider?

We have an actual bathing house ruin from the Roman Empire just beside the road accessible to everybody.

If Elztal was a person or character who would it be?

Christoper Walken

Who are three of your favorite artists?

Gerhard Richter (Painter), Coldplay (Band), Adrian Frutiger (Typographer)


Name:Bernd Vonau


Local Tip:

Just 2 km from my village lies the small city of Mosbach. It has beautiful half-timbered houses and nice shops and international restaurants. Also you can follow the path on the limes border of the Roman Empire and find some watchtower leftovers.

Must Do:

You have to enjoy the forest surrounding the village, visit a seasonal tavern selling homegrown wine.