Help, help! Whenever I hear that music – somebody save me! – I know what's coming. Or who’s coming! The fox! Help! Help! It’s the fox!
Quite right! The fox! The fox is here and is striking up a dance tune!
And you, my little cockerel, I want to see you dance! To entertain the café’s patrons. Because that's what we're here for. It’s why they set us into the window panes:
The Goose Girl and her delicious little geese...
...the child with the accordion...
... the impish little satyr and a blond-haired lady satyr,
… racing along on a billy-goat’s back... But... is there even such a thing as a satyr-ess?!? Who cares! The only reason we exist, is so the humans can enjoy looking at us.
People come in to drink a hot cup of chocolate or tea, to warm up by the stove when it's cold outside, or just to pass a few pleasant hours. And we provide the entertainment!
We’ve seen everything here at the Süßes Löchle. From the early days, when a saddler and then a shoemaker lived here, to the confectioner’s and pastry shop in 1887 under old Hildebrand, then the years when it was run by his son Carl Eugen, then Mrs. Hauser and finally her niece, Hildegard, who arrived here as a very young girl....
Will you get on and strut your stuff, you apathetic fowl?!
And all the customers! The ladies (loyal to the emperor) in corsets and long gowns and enormous hats! And the dashing military men – because Lahr was a garrison town, you know. And then, in the Twenties, the modish women in short dresses with their slender cigarette holders. They were followed by some characters who were rather less pleasant. But after that, there were the French, and then, and then the Canadians and now, now only really bored locals come in here ... and the tourists, of course. Because the Süßes Löchle is famous, and people come from all over the world to revel in its unique atmosphere and to squeeze into the snug seating area. Because it's lovely in here, even if it is pretty cramped. Have you ever tried to read a newspaper and not ended up having your neighbours right and left peering over your shoulders?
But... newspapers have almost vanished these days. Instead, people have mobiles and tablets. But the Süßes Löchle – I have to admit this in all honesty – is just as delightful today as it always was.
Almost more so, in my opinion. The courtyard behind me, from where the light shines into the café, used to be nothing but a nasty dumping site, with wall to wall junk. And the bakery beyond ... have you seen it? Faithfully preserved as it was in the early 20th century. I can still remember when they installed the enormous steam oven in 1892. We’d only just arrived ourselves then, hadn’t we, my old cock?
And upstairs, where Hildegard lived for decades... well, why not go and see for yourself. These days, the Süßes Löchle is an open house, visitors can go anywhere they like. And the coffee still tastes as good as in the days of the emperor. Isn’t that right, my dear chock?
Foto: © Wagner Roland und Adelheid, Lahr