Monday, 24 January 2022
Thursday, 20 January 2022
Enchanted - that was definitely what it felt like at times, walking where we did last Saturday, and you'll see why when you look at some of the many, many pictures in this post.
Some of us manage to illustrate their posts about walks with just a few pictures, still clearly conveying the atmosphere of that particular walk. But I am one of those people who take picture after picture in an attempt to somehow store those magic moments and be able to return to them, and then I am unable to decide on which ones to use. Oh yes, I do delete maybe one out of ten pictures when I am not happy with their lighting, or because they are blurry. But overall, sorting through my pictures makes me think that maybe just this one could show my readers exactly what I mean.
Anyway, here goes!
We woke up on Saturday to a dense fog covering the village and surrounding area, but we knew the sun was out there somewhere. On a satellite map, we looked at the way the clouds were moving, and decided on the direction for our walk. All this (and sleeping in) took a bit longer than usual, and so it was around 2:00 pm when we reached the parking lot at the small town/village of Hausach, 35 km away.
From there, we walked upwards, with only a general idea in our minds but no fixed circuit to follow. As you can see, we had indeed managed to follow the sun:
In the woods, the sun rays were creating magic views:The mist was still hanging low in some of the valleys, as we could see as we were getting higher up:
And then there was snow! Very tiny patches of it had been visible here and there already for a while, but this was the first bit where the path was actually covered:
If I were to choose a favourite picture from this hike, this one would probably be it:
Another favourite is this one:
If a unicorn had suddenly appeared between the trees, I think neither of us would have been surprised!
This last picture was taken at 5:09 pm, just a few minutes after sunset. By the time we reached the car again, it was fast getting dark. We were back home well past our usual coffee-and-cake time, but ravenous; at 11.6 km, the entire hike had not been all that long, but with some steep uphill bits plus the snow, it felt more than that.
I enjoyed every minute, and the magic created by the sunlight and mist will certainly stay in my mind for a long time.
Tuesday, 18 January 2022
After having spent the first days of this year at O.K.'s with beautiful countryside all around, it was back to the city on the 7th.
Arriving at my place mid-afternoon gave us enough time (after a quick coffee, unpacking and starting the washing machine) to catch the last of the daylight on a walk into town. We stopped at a relatively new wine shop that we discovered for ourselves less than half a year ago. It does not only sell wine, sparkling wine, gin and other booze plus a range of deli food to go with it, one can also sit down for a glass, or book a tasting and other events.
We both felt like a drink and so tried one of their own sparkling wines. Our entire stay there did not last much more than half an hour, but I enjoyed it greatly; sitting in the warm room, modern but cosy, with the city lights outside the window, felt so completely different from all of last week. (In the photo, I have deliberately blurred O.K.'s face, but did not want to cut the picture completely, so as not to destroy the symmetry.)
Not long ago, Pat (Weaver of Grass) asked her blog readers whether they were more country or town people. Her post and the comments make interesting reading. For me, the opportunity to have both town and country in my life is ideal; I love the area around O.K.'s village and our Black Forest (and other) hikes, but I also like my hometown, which isn't very big at about 90,000 residents. Life in a real big city would probably overwhelm me; the occasional visit is enough.
Anyway; on that late afternoon, I felt very comfortable and entirely at home in town. Later, we had a nice meal with my sister, ordered from the Indian restaurant not far from my house. The rest of the weekend saw us taking advantage of the sunny (but cold and windy) weather with several walks and visiting my parents.
Monday the 10th was back to work for me. With most of my clients having been on holiday over Christmas and New Year, I was able to ease back into work at a relatively gentle pace. The week was still sunny (but cold), and so I shifted my after-work-walks to the early to mid-afternoons, returning to work afterwards for another couple of hours or so. It was on one of those walks that I spotted the first snowdrops this year, growing in a sunny patch at the corner of a farm house.
|A few rosehips still hanging on|
|Muddy walks with shady figures|
On Friday, I worked until just before lunch and then went for a walk with my sister. We took a quick walk in the palace grounds, looking for early signs of spring. This beautiful plant was unknown to us, but my Mum says it is a mahonia.
The weekend saw me returning to O.K.'s, and Saturday's hike was enchanting - you'll see why in one of my next posts.
Friday, 14 January 2022
[Written by my Mum]
Thursday, 13 January 2022
Lost Places in der Region Stuttgart by Benjamin Seyfang is not so much a book to read, but one to browse for its pictures and let imaginagion do the rest.
Some of you know me well enough to recall that I have a "thing" for what are generally known as lost places, although I hesitate to call them that. Those places are not lost - they are exactly where they have always been. But they are usually lost to their former use, and sometimes their existence has been forgotten, making them lost to memory as well. Therefore, I shall stick with the term generally used, even though I do not fully agree with it. (In German, the English term is used as well.)
The area where I live has Stuttgart as its capital and centre, and so I am familiar with some of the towns and places in the region, not just my own town of Ludwigsburg.
The author calls himself an Urban Explorer and has, like me, a long-going fascination for abandoned houses, industrial ruins and so on. In the foreword of this book, he states the basic rule everyone should observe when visiting such places: Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but foot prints.
He is 20 years younger than I and has been photographing lost places around the world for 10 years now, whenever his day job allows.
Often, the places he visits are not easily accessible. If possible, he gets special permission of whoever is the current owner or custodian. Some of the photos come with only a vaguely named location, because the places are hidden and should remain so in order to protect them from further vandalism and damage. Others are well known and their location is clearly stated.
I sat down with this book in my favourite reading spot (my yellow armchair, as seen here) one evening after work this week and went through it page by page. With one of the "secret" places, I am pretty sure I know where it is. Another one is indeed just outside my hometown, a place I have been to myself a few times in the past.
The most touching ones for me are the photographs of inside a house where the owner, an elderly lady who had not changed anything since the 1970s, was taken to hospital and died there. After her death, someone at the hospital packed her belongings into her bags and deposited the bags just inside the front door, where they still are. The living room is exactly as it was left, with the paper still on the table and the remote control still on the settee. A small stuffed panda sits on the settee's back rest, smiling.
Wednesday, 12 January 2022
Still catching up with what the first week of this year was like for me; we have now made it to Tuesday, the 4th of January.
It was a very mild day at about 14C (57F), but so wet we decided against a long walk or hike. Instead, we did some household stuff and food shopping in the afternoon. There was still time and occasion for a quick walk around the village before lunch time, though; it was 11:25 when these two pictures were taken:
Wednesday, the 5th, saw quite a drop in temperatures; it was no warmer than 3 or 4C (37-39F), but with enough sun between the clouds to turn even the bleakest January landscape into a fascinating play of light and shadow.
O.K.'s sister happened to be at their parents' just as we were ready to go, and kindly offered to take us to where we intended to start our walk. It wasn't really cheating, was it! She dropped us off at Ortenberg, a place that has also featured a few times on my blog before. You may recognise the castle from older posts.
There was no exploring the castle grounds or climbing the tower this time, though; the gates were locked with the youth hostel being shut due to the pandemic.
View from near the castle along the Kinzig valley and (more or less) the way we were going to walk:
The view across the industrial area of Ortenberg towards Black Forest hills:
On we walked, through the vineyards towards Ohlsbach:
Old outbuildings at a farm:
We walked through the center of Ohlsbach, a village of just over 3,000 inhabitants. A bakery near the main square offered coffee to go, and we were glad of the hot drink plus a savoury snack to go with it.From there, the path lead through a patch of woodland. We choose to walk down the hill and skirt Reichenbach, a smaller but widespread community of just over 2,000 inhabitants. There are many places called Reichenbach in Germany; wikipedia lists 15 in Baden-Wuerttemberg (the federal state where we live) alone.
St. Peter's, a chapel originating from the 13th century:
Leaving Reichenbach, we crossed the Kinzig near Berghaupten and walked back along the rim of the Black Forest. By then, the late afternoon light made us decide against walking through the woods; sunset was not far off, and we were not keen on stumbling around in the dark.
The setting sun lit up the castle beautifully:
We reached Zunsweier, the next village from O.K.'s, and made it back to the village just in time before it was completely dark. Too late for coffee and cake, but after having walked a bit more than 16 km, we were hungry enough for a substantial evening meal.
I enjoyed that walk very much; I had known bits of the places we'd walked through, but never really walked there before. The light was particularly beautiful, so a great day altogether.