All of last week, it was bright and sunny, but very cold. Nights went down to -12 Celsius (around 10 F), and it was still around -4 C (25 F) or so during the day, with the exception of secluded sunny spots where no wind would reach.
O.K. was here for the weekend, and we took advantage of the sunshine both Saturday and Sunday. Because it was so cold, we left the house equipped as if for a polar expedition, and could only stay out for a few hours at a time, making sure we'd always be moving. But it was beautiful, and certainly worth braving the cold!
On Sunday, we walked to Monrepos, a small palace by a lake that was planned and built as part of the large estate of Ludwigsburg's residential palace. You've seen the place on my blog before, for instance last July. But you have never seen it with snow and ice, right?
The sky really was as brilliantly blue as in this picture:
The lake was completely frozen over, and the ice thick enough to carry hundreds of people:
Officially, it is forbidden to step on the ice. But the sign is mainly up for the purpose of self-defense; if anyone should break through the ice (and they do in each of the years when the lake is frozen, usually unreasonable folks who think it is still safe even after several frost-free days), they can not sue anybody, and only have themselves to blame.
Still, it is somewhat ironic to see all those people playing ice hockey, skating, sledging or walking right in front of the sign.
In spite of there being so many people, the atmosphere was great; relaxed family fun on a Sunday afternoon. People were queuing for mulled wine and hot sausages, children were laughing, dogs were having fun and couples walked hand in hand.
We took a different route back home, via the fields and through the deer park you have also seen several times on my blog, just never with snow.
The stag in this picture really has only one antler. (If you click on the picture, it enlarges, and you should be able to see it better.)
This one was complete. He looked very interested when I was rummaging in my bag, but when he realised only a mobile phone (camera) came out and not a paper bag with bread or other treats, he went back to what he had been doing before.
We covered three parks that day - the one around the lake, the deer park and the palace grounds. By now, the sun was much lower than when we had started. Two and a half hours after we had left the house, we were back - ready for mugs of steaming hot coffee and a piece of cake.
If winter is like that, I don't mind it that much. But I wouldn't mind warmer weather now, either!