Thursday, 19 November 2020

Witches, Woodland and a Rocking Horse

The first week of November continued as nicely as it had begun (see previous post for the Monday). 

On Tuesday, the 3rd, my sister came for a brief after-work-chat and a cup of tea. Wednesday saw me spending my lunch break at my parents', with - as always! - delicious home-cooked food. Thursday was the 11th anniversary of my husband's death, and my Mum joined me in the evening for a drink and some reminiscing. On Friday, I took the usual trains to spend the weekend with O.K.; everything went smoothly that day, from the meetings at work to finding my reserved seat on the long-distance train unoccupied and the trains being on time. Saturday had us doing some work in and around the cottage; we had a brief visit from a couple of friends (outside, if you want to know) and later managed a quick walk around the village, catching the mellow light of sunset and dusk.

On Sunday, the 8th, we were free to do as we pleased, and of course that meant a hike! Friends and family had told us of a circuit called Hexensteig (Witches' Climb) where we had not walked yet. They warned us of steep and exhausting ascents and descents, and I was a bit worried, knowing how hard I find going uphill. We still decided to go for it, packed our rucksacks with the usual collection of water bottles, sandwiches and other food, and set off.

The circuit starts and ends in the small town of Lautenbach, about half an hour's drive from O.K.'s village. As it was a beautiful and rather mild day, many other people were out walking and hiking, but I find I do not mind that so much if I am mentally prepared for it. Also, there were suprisingly few cyclists about.

Most of these pictures are O.K.'s; I only took very few. This first one looks as if it was overcast, but it was just that moment when the sun was behind a haze, as we were climbing up the path and looking back over Lautenbach:

See? The sky was actually more blue than cloudy:

The witch theme is carried on throughout the circuit, like this hut adorned with brooms:

We were not even half way up yet, but I really needed to sit down a minute, and take off one layer of clothes:

Don't you love walking on a carpet of rustling leaves?

This tiny witch house was really cute; a couple were sitting in it and asked us to take their picture. We came across them a few more times in the course of our hike. Had they not been there first, we would have probably sat in there for our packed lunch.

Instead, we walked on until we came to the next witch house. This one was bigger than the first, but there were many other people nearby, families with children, so we just had a quick look. A former colleague of O.K.'s was there, too, with a group of four. We chatted with them while they were finishing their meal, and then took their seats on the wooden benches and table as they continued their walk.

The path was taking us in and out of the woods, up and down, and past this big rocking horse - of course I could not resist, and had to have my silly moment! The hut is made out of a giant wine barrel, meant for visitors of the nearby winery to have wine tastings there. Due to corona, it was shut.

The afternoon was getting on, and the light changed; it was not yet sunset, but looked very much like it with the clouds and haze. At this point, we met O.K.'s former colleague and his group again, and joined them for a quick drink - just one tiny one, as O.K. still had to drive us home, and we definitely did not want to make the descent in a tipsy state.

It was now 4:30 pm, and this time, it didn't just look like sunset - the sun really was setting.

We were almost there now.

Just before the path leads back down into Lautenbach, there is another place with benches and tables prepared for walkers and hikers wanting a rest, along with a fridge filled with drinks one can buy, leaving the money in a box.

This witch looks rather uncomfortable on her broom, doesn't she!

We arrived back at the car about 4 1/2 hours and 16 km later, including the two breaks that had been longer than usual because of us meeting the former colleague and his group.

At home, O.K. made us a delicious meal of fried mushrooms. I was very tired; the hike had been really beautiful and much fun, but also exhausting, and I was in bed just after 9:00 pm (also knowing I had to get up at 5:20 the next morning for the trip back to Ludwigsburg).

Another themed circuit starts and ends there, it is called the Devil's Climb, and I am sure we will walk it sooner or later!


  1. Thank you for taking me on the walk - at present there is no walking for me so I really enjoyed both your commentary and OK's pictures. x

    1. Dear Pat, seeing your comment here is wonderful - you know from the 239 comments on your own blog how much we all missed you, and were worrying about you! It is good to see you back, and I shall happily provide more virtual walks for you. x

  2. O.K's photos are wonderfully evocative. Gorgeous scenery. I can see why you were so tired..."horseback riding" and all that hiking in the same day. :)

    1. I had a hard time with the ascent, but found the descent a lot less difficult than expected after what people had been telling me. Yes, horseback riding and hiking in the same day was a bit much :-)

  3. Your camera has a brain !
    The way the light changes, before sunset, does something wonderful to MY brain.
    The changing skies make the trip special, and those vistas, looking out over the valley !
    A master carpenter created that shelter with the curving roof, and those ribs of timber.

    A witch's house, but where is the witch? The rocking horse has such aesthetic beauty.
    Somewhere I have a book of photographs of carousels in Paris, Vienna, and Berlin etc.
    Each of the horses' faces are different, no wonder children love them at Christmas.

    1. The camera on O.K.'s mobile phone, really. Yes, that changing light does something to my brain, too. I can never seem to get enough of sunrises and sunsets, maybe even more so because the changes happen so quickly and show, more than anything else, the passage of time.
      In this area with its abundance of wood, much beautiful and creative carpentry can be admired. There are plenty of examples along the hiking and walking paths, and whenever we walk through a village, we find more in people's front gardens.

      The witch is inside the house. A decorative witch's figure, like a stuffed toy, is suspended from the ceiling, high enough to be out of reach of children, but smiling a crooked smile down at everyone who enters her house.

    2. Sunsets in Germany I would enjoy.
      Winter sunsets in Scotland are too melancholy for my taste, whether I am in Glasgow, Edinburgh, or Stirling. This sense of foreboding (what is German for the *uncanny*?) has diminished with age, and Glasgow's influx of European and Chinese students has helped reduce the Gothic gloom of short dark days and winter suns.

      Witches I like because they are into herbalism and ecology.
      Watch YouTube vlogs: The Green Witch. (A young American woman.)
      *How a Green Witch Profiles Herbs: My Materia Medica Entries.*
      September 5, 2020.
      *Simple Witchcraft/The Magic of the Blackberry.*
      September 17, 2020.

    3. Uncanny is unheimlich in German. I'm afraid I am not into the whole wiccan/witchcraft thing; herbalism and ecology, yes.
      You are right, sunsets have an element of melancholy about them, which is probably why I like them so much.

    4. Thanks for *unheimlich*.

      I am not into Wicca either. I follow the example of the late Francis Schaeffer, who respected what was creative in the left-handed paths, while remaining faithful to his evangelical faith. He was a man who listened. His son Frank is erratic.

      My sunset melancholy is almost gone now: I only get it in Scotland, though the cheerfulness of people makes me laugh my way through it.

  4. What a wonderful walk, love the houses and the witch.

    1. It was all so lovingly put together and is well cared for, done by volunteers.

  5. I had not known of the death of your husband 11 years ago. I am so sorry for your loss. I am glad you have close family and many friends to support you all of these years.
    I always enjoy the lovely pictures that you and O.K. share with me of your many travels and awesome hikes! Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Ellen.
      You are welcome - and I thank YOU for reading and commenting!

  6. What a beautiful and fun walk! Your country has so many wonderful places to hike and all the views are just gorgeous. I love the sense of humor shown in all the witch's houses!

    1. There is a children's book I believe almost every child in Germany knows, "Die kleine Hexe" (the little witch); my sister and I grew up with it. The smaller of the witch's houses is definitely modeled after the description in the book.
      That walk really was both beaufitul and fun (and also exhausting)!

  7. Love, love, love the little witch houses! How adorable! You are so lucky to have such wonderful places to hike. ❤ Great pictures, as always!

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! If that other couple had not been there before us, we would definitely have sat in the little witch house. Maybe another time :-)

  8. I waited to comment until I had had the opportunity to look at the photos on the big screen. The whole walk was bewitching (sorry). I really enjoyed being there on screen and reading the commentary on your blog on my phone. You really are making the most of your opportunities for walking and I rather envy you that. On the other had I felt a little sorry for the witch in the penultimate picture whose broomstick appeared to have been driven through her heart.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the bewitching walk! Yes, the witch looks rather uncomfortable on that broomstick. But seeing her there at the end of the walk was a nice touch.