Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Hottest Day

...of this year so far in my area was yesterday, with the thermometer showing 33 Celsius (just above 91 F). On a day like that, most people try to keep relatively cool by staying in climatized rooms or sit in a street side café, having chilled drinks and ice creams, or they stretch out on a lawn in the shade of a large tree and spend the afternoon by having a nap or reading - in any way, not doing anything too strenuous. Except for the first option (I don't know anyone in Germany who has air conditioning at home - it is just not something we really need here, with there being only so few really hot days every year), I could have done all of that, having taken the day off.
Instead, I started by going to the gym (early enough before it would get too warm in there). Lunch was at my Mum's, with a refreshing salad straight from the garden and some cold sparkling wine to go with it. In the afternoon, I first returned to my place for a bit and thought about what I'd like to do next.
There was a pair of shoes I had seen in town the other day which I wanted to look at again, and so I set off again. Having reached the shopping centre, I found I really wasn't at all in the mood to buy anything; maybe the rather too cold air conditioning in the building had something to do with it.
So I just went out again, and started to walk, with no precise place in mind.

A very good place to be on a hot sunny afternoon is somewhere with lots of trees - the park seemed a natural choice.

Since I did not think I was going to go on a proper walk, I had left my camera at home. Therefore, all the pictures in this post were taken with the low quality camera of my mobile phone. I hope they still give you an idea of the 3+ hours I spent walking.

A part of the palace grounds I like very much. Those roses not only look beautiful, they smell very nice, too.

I don't think I've ever shown pictures of the large aviary in the palace grounds. The upper part of it is supposed to look like a tiny piece of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, with plants and rocks and a straw-covered building typical for that area. (It is where my sister and I spotted the love-sick stork earlier this year. The nest is still there on the roof, but empty.)

The aviary has a set of metal cage doors at the upper end but is left via a tunnel at the lower end. The tunnel is as old as the palace (early 1700s). In the late 1980s or early 1990s, I am not sure when, it was transformed into this lit-up place with orchids and rocks, plus a tiny stream running the length of it, and harp music playing softly in the back.

Leaving the aviary by the tunnel, you reach a deep valley with many shrubs and trees and winding paths through the greenery. There was hardly anybody about, I had the place nearly to myself.

Walking to the end of the palace grounds and crossing a major road via a foot bridge, the deer park that has featured several times before on my blog was the next part of my walk. Again, few people were out and about.

Every time I look at these signs, I can't help but think how very German they are.

The signs are put up at regular intervals along the road through the deer park. They forbid people to leave the path (except for a designated area near the palace, where I have spent many an afternoon sunbathing and reading) on the grounds of it being dangerous because of the large old trees. Those trees are mostly left completely untended, and after strong winds, their largest and oldest branches tend to break off. Of course I understand the City of Ludwigsburg does not want to be hold responsible for anyone being hit by a falling branch. But did the sign have to be like this, even referring to the legal paragraph? Wouldn't it have been a lot nicer to simply ask people "Please do not leave the path"? 
At both ends of the park, there are maps of the park and descriptions of the animals one is likely to see. Why not put a brief explanation there, saying that it is not allowed to leave the paths for two reasons: So that the animals can retreat safely (there are two or three signs across the park where that is stated), and to avoid injury.

I wonder if anyone is more inclined to stick to the rules when a paragraph is mentioned. Generally, the majority of people walking or jogging in the park are well behaved, and stick to the path anyway.

The last part of my walk, before starting the long way home, lead me to the third of Ludwigsburg's three palaces, Monrepos ("My Rest") by the lake.

There, I met this heron. He did not seem the least bothered by me.

I thought his left foot looks a bit strange. After I had already observed him for about 15 minutes, he limped closer, looking at me and really dragging his poor left foot behind. I felt very sorry for the beautiful bird. He may still be able to fish with the use of just one leg, but it makes wading along the banks impossible. 

The small bird you can see at the bottom of one of the pictures is a baby coot. Mummy and Daddy Coot were nearby.

Three hours and 10 minutes after I had set off, I was back home, ready for a drink of water and a rest. It had been a lovely walk, although seeing the injured heron made me a bit sad.

It's going to be another hot day today, I think, but first, I need to do the washing and cleaning. Enjoy the weekend, whatever you'll be doing!


  1. It is the hottest day here so far too, 26° C. That heron is so cute, he must be used to people coming around. Beautiful pictures, but I don't know if I could walk three hours!!!

    1. I'm sure you could, Caramella - it's all down to wearing the right shoes for the kind of terrain you're walking on, and going at your own pace, neither too slow nor too fast :-)

  2. We are at the beginning of our hot season, and have many more days to come of such temperatures. It would be nice if i had a cool, shady area to walk like that on these hot summer days!

    1. I really like this about my area, there are different places I can pick for my walks, with more sun or less, more people or less, more traffic or less (preferably less, of course).

  3. I do agree that on a hot day, a park with a lot of trees is a good place to be :) We probably had "the hottest day of the year" yesterday too - but the temperature in the shadow probably did not go over 20°C; and today we're back to below that and very windy again...

    1. It's not as hot today but still looks to be nice, so I think I'll go for another walk later. This time with my camera, though!

  4. I will enjoy the weekend....I don't have your amazing stamina, especially in hot weather! But I will enjoy myself. You are having more heat than we are, and Monday I am off to our cottage by the lake where it is always 5-10 degrees cooler than here. I am sorry to read about the injured heron. I hope he can heal well on his own......

    1. Wishing you a great stay at the cottage, Kristi! I hope you'll write about it after you're back, I love reading about the cottage by the lake and what you're up to there with your family.

  5. I could very happily have walked that walk nice and slowly savouring every minute. It's the sort of walk I can still do and enjoy. Your phone camera acquitted itself exceptionally well. As for the notices I couldn't agree more but, professionally, I can well see why they are there. I'm afraid it's an inheritance from the US where there is a culture of litigation. It has reached the UK and I should not be surprised if it hasn't reached across Europe to some extent as well. Lets face it when one is legally obliged to put a notice on a packet of nuts saying that it may contain nuts and have been packaged in a factory where nuts are processed we have reached the nadir of silliness.

    1. You would have been very welcome to join me for the walk, Graham, and I am sure you'd have taken many more and much better pictures of birds and other wildlife.
      I do see why, sadly, these signs are necessary. But is it necessary to add the relevant paragraph with it? Wouldn't it be enough to just say "Bitte nicht betreten"?