Friday, 1 July 2016

Glimpses

Strictly speaking, this post should be called "Horse Market - Part VI", but I have decided against it, because it really is only a very small collection of pictures I found special enough to make up their own post, not fully fitting into any of the other categories into which I have sorted the bulk of the parade pictures.

At the time of taking the pictures, I wasn't really thinking about what I was doing (as usual!), but when I looked at them all on my computer, I found that these had something about them that deserves a closer look.


I call this one "Pride":


The expression on the man's face (very authentical, by the way; men at court and elsewhere really wore make-up in the mid-1700s) is priceless:

Usually, I'm not one to coo over babies and little kids (I actually only coo over baby animals), but this little lad was completely focused on what he was doing, he seemed to be hardly aware of the crowds lining the street:

These two look so regal, don't they! Considering that this was nearly the end of the parade and they had been walking for almost 2 km in their costumes on a day that called for short sleeves and bare legs with most people, looking as happy as they do is no mean feat!

For now, this is the end of my Horse Market posts. There is still a collection of pictures with historical costumes waiting behind the scenes, but I'll show you these another time.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Read in 2016 - 20: Undoing One's Enemy

Let me begin this review with a warning: Do NOT read "Undoing One's Enemy" if you are sensitive enough to spelling and grammar errors for them to take away much of your reading pleasure.
The author, Camille Oster, had either no proof reader/editor at all, or the one she had was just as careless as she.

Dear Ms Oster, please, please, please look up the correct spelling of "surprise" - it is NOT, as you insist on throughout the entire book, "surprize"! Honestly, it isn't!
Also, apart from some obvious typing errors which can (and do) happen to anyone, you can not simply switch between tenses in the same sentence, when you are on about the same thing. Here is an example: "The rooms that Lord Eldridge has afforded them were small but well-kept [...]."



Now I have my rant out of the way, I'll focus on the story.
Set in London in the (presumably) mid-1800s, Amelia Hessworth is thrown out of her home of 20-odd years when its former owner returns to take possession of the estate. Amelia's father had originally gotten hold of the property by less than honest means, leaving the heir of the ruined family with only one goal in life: Reclaim the estate, and take revenge on the impostor.

Therefore, Miss Hessworth and Lord Eldridge's first encounter does not happen under the best circumstances - they hate each other heartily, doing what they can to be spiteful, and rile each other every time their paths cross.

This is, of course, the classic setting for a love story, and it is obvious from the first moment these two meet that they are destined to be together. At this point, I could have stopped reading, since everything was so predictable. And yet, in spite of the increasing number of spelling and grammatical errors and the use of clichés left, right and centre, I did want to know how Amelia was going to cope with being (relatively) poor all of a sudden, and what twists and turns the author would offer before the wedding bells would be chiming for the heroine.

The story definitely became more interesting when Amelia met Celeste, a woman her late father had been well acquainted with.
Also, the switch between the minds of the two main protagonists is rather well done. There is even some humour every now and then, but on the whole - honestly, I can not recommend this book.
There were times when I thought of abandoning it, but I had nothing better to do on my train trips to and from work, and it was not overly long. That way, it was not really a waste of time - and not a waste of money, either, because this was yet another free ebook from Amazon's kindle store.

PS: I have just looked at the reviews on Amazon.com for this book. Seems like I was not the only one to notice the lack of proof-reading and editing.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Gengenbach

After the hike in the Black Forest (see previous post) on Sunday a week ago, we drove the short distance from the parking lot at the bottom of the woods to Gengenbach, a town of about 11.000, famous for its picturesque old town centre. And picturesque it was - see for yourself:






We stopped for coffee and some cake here (picture below). Actually, the café is just where the bit of red umbrella is visible. I did not want to take a photo of all the people sitting at the tables, but the building is similar to the one with the blue awning.


I particularly liked this tiny house, tucked between the town hall and a row of other houses:


Market Square:

Town Hall:

The fish in the city's crest is what actually gives Gengenbach its name. Bach means beck or creek, and the "Gangfisch" (Coregonus macrophthalmus), a member of the salmon family, must have once been common enough in the region to give the small river and the monastery founded at its banks the name.



O.K. told me that the windows of the town hall are lit up and used as a big Advent calendar every December. I really want to see that! You can read a bit more about Gengenbach (in English) here on wikipedia, if you like.





We left the small alleyways with their well preserved and restored timber-framed houses and climbed up between vineyards and orchards to the chapel on the hill:



The sun was well and truly out now, and it was nice to rest on a bench in the sun on top of the hill, enjoying the view across Gengenbach on one side and the Kinzigtal (Kinzig valley, Kinzig being the river you can see in the second picture below):






It was nearly the end of this beautiful Sunday and I did not like to think of having to take the train back home in a few hours. But I did, and for a change, everything went well with both my trains being bang on time. I arrived home at a quarter past 11 pm - and slept like a log that night, hardly surprising after having spent the whole day out in the fresh air, walking up and down hills and in the woods. The best kind of tired, I think!

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Last Weekend

The weekend is here, and I need a break from blogging about the Horse Market and from some other things as well. Good job then that, in a bit more than an hour, I'll be on my way to O.K.'s again.

I spent last weekend at his place, and enjoyed everything that can be enjoyed with the man you're in love with. On the Sunday, we went on a hike in the beautiful Black Forest - mere minutes by car from O.K.'s home village. 

Here are some of the pictures I took. Starting off from where we left the car (at a designated parking space where surprisingly few other cars were patiently waiting for their owners to return from their walks and hikes):



Along the first part of the path, there were several chainsaw sculptures made of tree trunks. We were not always sure which animal they were supposed to be, but this one is definitely an Auerhahn (wood grouse, heather cock, Tetrao urogallus... not sure which is the correct English term, but this bird is something like a symbol for the deepest depths of the Black Forest:


On we went. A beck that would normally be just murmuring along next to the path was now, due to the heavy rain of the past weeks, a very chatty - almost shouty - stream.


I know the wildflowers never turn out that well on camera, but believe me, they were there, and looked very beautiful on these meadows:



Deeper into the woods, and steeper up the hill we went. A signpost near the parking lot had indicated that our goal, the Moosturm (a viewing tower on top of a mountain called Moos - "moss"), was only 5 km away. Now you know that 5 km to me is not much - I often walk that on my way home from work, when I get off one train stop before my actual one, and I easily do that in under an hour. But if those 5 km are up, up, uphill all the time, it's a different story! Good job it wasn't very warm that day.
I know it doesn't really show in the pictures, but believe me, it was uphill, and not just slightly so, all the way.




And once we were further up, spectacular views rewarded our efforts:





The monument we saw from the distance is a memorial for "Lothar", a heavy storm (sometimes even classified as a hurricane) that hit the south of Germany in general and this part of the Black Forest in particular at Christmas 1999. I remember it vividly, and you can still see the traces.



But the monument wasn't where we wanted to go. We first had a proper view of Moosturm coming round a bend, still bravely hiking uphill:


 Getting closer:


Views from the top of the tower in all directions:


I can't tell you exactly what you are looking at here, although O.K. pointed out places I know (or at least know of) to me. France is so close here that my mobile informed me that I was now in the French mobile phone network once we were on top of the tower.
More about Moos (the mountain) and the surrounding area can be found here in English.

The path we'd come:

Going back down - not the way we'd come, but towards a guest house in the woods run by a club called Naturfreunde (friends of nature), where you can have a snack and a drink, rest your legs for a bit and use their facilities. They even have a drying room for wet clothes, and I believe it gets used a lot by cyclists and hikers.
We took a break there, and then walked back to the car - all downhill now - on a different path. It was coffee time now, and we decided to visit the picturesque town of Gengenbach, which you'll see in one of my next posts.