The first "Evening with Friends" post was this one, and of course there have been many more such evenings in the meantime; at least one every month with this particular group of friends. It still is our regular get-together on the first Friday of the month, and the day before yesterday, it was that.
The reason why the headline of this post has the word "Revisited" is that we went back to the same place. Because I remembered how much some of you liked walking along with me to the castle, I took my camera with me once more.
This time, though, it was quite different from that summer's evening of 2011: It was not particularly cold, but pitch black dark by the time I set off from home, and instead of the pink summer dress I wore last time, now I was in my padded winter coat and a knit dress with woolly tights and boots, plus the usual equipment of scarf, gloves and handbag.
When I got off the train in Asperg and started to walk towards the footpath that is the shortest way up to the castle, I found out that the street lights end at the bottom of the hill. I wasn't afraid of anything (or anyone) lurking in the dark, but I was not keen on stumbling on the uneven, steep path and maybe hurting myself - I need both my legs in top condition in order to be able to do all the things I like doing.
So back to the road I went, walking along there with cars whizzing by, something I don't like at all.
Halfway up the hill begins the fortification with the gate. Cars are allowed through there, and the road is rather narrow. But as you can see, there are niches in the walls (where once soldiers stood), so I knew I'd be safe. In the end, no car went through there while I was walking up.
Looking back the way I came.
The gatehouse/tower from below. The restaurant where I was to meet my friends is behind the lit windows. Compare this to the pictures of the post from August 2011.
It looks easy from there, doesn't it, as if you'd just have to get inside the building now. But... there is no direct access from there. Instead, you have to go through the gate and the tunnel, turn right and walk up another relatively steep road, only dimly lit:
But once you've made it to the top, a nighttime view of the surrounding small towns and villages is the reward. The four lights in a row at the bottom right of the picture are part of the road I walked up, from the first picture.
When we were little, for New Year's Eve sometimes our parents would make us go to bed as usual, and then wake us in time for getting us wrapped up in our warmest winter clothes, and take us to the top of the hill. From there, we'd watch the fireworks over our hometown, which is clearly visible from the castle walls.
No fireworks that night, though. But my friends were waiting for me, there was light, it was warm (and very noisy in the small restaurant with the thick old castle walls!), and we had an evening of good food, some drinks and plenty of laughter.
I did not take a picture of my main course, since it was a very standard mixed salad (and I was not even given a piece of baguette, which usually accompanies a salad ordered as a main course). But the dessert was nice. Mine was chocolate mousse with rhubarb:
For the way back, I did not need to take the train. One of my friends went the same direction and gave me a lift, something I was quite grateful for.
Next time, we'll try a new Chinese restaurant that has recently opened in our area.