Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Reminders of Summer

Two or three weeks or so ago, I noticed the first orange lampion flowers in the gardens I regularly pass on my way to work. They and the harvested fields I saw around the same time made me realise that summer is sowly but surely on its way out. Last night, it was dark at 10 past 9, and this morning for the first time in many weeks, the in-built thermometer on the alarm clock on my bedside table showed just under 20C - more signs of summer ending and autumn approaching fast.

As every year, part of me wants to hold on to summer for as long as possible, while at the same time I look forward to all the beautiful and good things autumn brings. It is a time of mixed feelings, but not unpleasantly so.

Here are a few reminders of this summer.

This first set of pictures I took during a walk on the 21st of July, on the fields on the outskirts of my town:

On the 1st of August, my friend and I went for a leisurely evening run after work. By the time we were on our way back, the light was fast fading; this picture was taken just after 9:00 pm:

Two days later, on Saturday, the 3rd of August, O.K. and I rented a canoe for a few hours and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the river Enz. We set off near the viaduct in Bietigheim, a town about 15 minutes north of Ludwigsburg. The Enz flows very slowly in this part; the water level is too low for larger boats or ships, and therefore ideal for beginners such as me.
Viaduct at Bietigheim. The train I frequently use to travel to O.K.'s passes across it.
Bietigheim has a famous horse market, traditionally held on the fields near the river. The steps in the background lead to the water; that is where we got on and off the canoe.

It rained a few times during our tour on the river, but we found shelter under a bridge, and I actually enjoyed sitting there quietly in the canoe, watching the rain fall on the surface of the water.
I even saw a kingfisher flitting across the river once! Photos were not possible, as we had stowed away our mobile phones and other things in a watertight container and couldn't (or wouldn't) get them out while on the water.

We were on the boat for about two hours, which was enough to make my arms and shoulders feel like they had done a lot of work. 
The rain had stopped and the sun came out, giving us the opportunity for a stroll in the historic town centre of Bietigheim and having ice creams. 

Later, we walked along the river to the same spot where we had turned round on our canoe tour, a former mill that holds shops and restaurants today. There, we had something to eat before walking back to the car.
It had been a good and full day of outdoors activities, and by 11:00 pm, we were flat out.

Sunday afternoon (the 4th of August) saw us once again walking in the palace grounds; you have seen this view before and will probably see it again - it is one of my favourite parts of the park.

By the way, I made a big blunder with our canoe tour: I had booked a specific tour online and was convinced to have put in the proper date. But it turned out I had booked for the wrong date - the Saturday a week later, when we definitely were not going to be in Ludwigsburg. We have postponed that to a later date, and decided spontaneously to rent a canoe only for the two hours, for a much shorter tour, which wasn't a bad idea after all; it gave me the opportunity to test how I'd manage, since I had not been on a canoe for 16 years.

Of course I will let you know (and hopefully manage to take some photos) when we do the "proper" tour!


  1. I was not immediately sure what you meant by orange lampion flowers, but I realize they are what we call Chinese Lanterns. Mine are not blooming and summer is not quite so over here, though it is cooler (thank heavens) and certainly the light is not as much. I do miss that and do not like the shorter hours of daylight in the winter. Lovely photos as always. We love canoeing. Actually my daughters and granddaughters and grandsons are camping and canoeing in Canada in Algonquin Provincial Park, just now. I am glad you had a good time on the water and did not overdo things right away!

    1. Yes, your family are all very "outdoorsy", and I am sure they have a great time camping and canoeing in Canada right now. What great memories the children must bring home for life after such a summer!
      Chinese Lanterns is a fitting name for the "lampion flowers" - I simply named them that, based upon their looks, without knowing their real name.

  2. What a lovely descriptive post you have given us! The canoe trip sounds wonderful. Perhaps you booking that wrong date was for The best, you still got to do it but at a more relaxed pace. Although it still sounded like a good workout to me! Did you wear a life jacket? Just wondering!

    1. Life jackets are mandatory - they won't let you have a canoe without one. The life jackets are provided along with everything else you need, such as the watertight container and paddles. They also have strict rules about drinks - no glass bottles allowed onboard, and no alcohol before and during the tour. I guess their rules stem from bad experience with some who rented canoes and then their "fun" got out of hand.
      I, too, think that my mistake was actually not so bad!

  3. I am so pleased that you enjoyed your canoeing. I have only canoed in New Zealand for shortish periods and loved it. I think a shortish run was a good idea to get your shoulders back into the rhythm of it. I particularly liked the idea of sitting on the water under the viaduct watching the rain.

    1. We knew the rain was going to stop soon, as it was a typical summer shower, and so we could enjoy it and were not worried about the entire trip being wet through from top to bottom. But our shelter was not the viaduct, just a normal road bridge. The viaduct is very high above the river, too high up for it to stop any rain falling on the surface.