Monday, 25 February 2019

More Spring on a Sunday

A week has gone by since my last post, which was about a Saturday that felt more like spring than like mid-February.
Yesterday, Sunday the 24th of February, was similarly springlike, although a few degrees cooler; another day of uninterrupted sunshine and blue skies.

O.K. and I were at my place this past weekend, and there was no question about what we wanted to do on such a beautiful day - hiking! - the only question was, where.
One or two years ago, my sister (who shares our love for walking and hiking) gave us a conveniently pocket-sized book with suggestions for hikes in the Stuttgart region. You'd be surprised how many nice places this highly industrialised area has, from woodland and vineyards to river valleys cut deeply into stone walls and hills.

We chose one that started just under 30 km away from Ludwigsburg, in Grunbach, a small town in the Rems Valley. The river Rems meanders along its valley on a length of about 70 km east of Stuttgart. It begins in the historical market town of Esslingen and ends near the eastern outskirts of Ludwigsburg in Neckarrems, where (surprise, surprise) the Rems joins the river Neckar.
The slopes of the valley are covered in vineyards and orchards and topped with woodland.  The region is renowned for its wines, and in the spring, it is especially beautiful when the many orchards are in bloom.

I've been in the area a few times before; you can see how it looked in May 2017 in this post

We did think about setting off by train, but it would have taken us a bit more than an hour (provided all would have gone smoothly, which is less often the case than we'd like it to be), so instead O.K. drove, which took us half the time.

From the parking lot near the railway station in Grunbach, we walked through part of the village and then along a small stream before the path rose through woodland. There are no leaves yet on the trees, so it was still sunny in the woods, with birds flitting about everywhere. We met other walkers, some people on bikes and some on horses, but it was mostly quiet.
The ascent was rather tough on me - something I had not expected - and I had to stop for breath once or twice before we reached the top. I can walk without tiring for hours on flat ground or gentle slopes, but somehow this knocked me out. I only took a few minutes to recover, though, and the rest of the hike was no problem.

The viewing point described in our booklet (Hörnleskopf) was also the spot we chose for a break, drinking the water and eating the treats we had brought, taking pictures and resting in the sun for a little.

Panoramic view from Hörnleskopf, picture courtesy of O.K. Click to enlarge.

Our circular route then lead us mostly along the top of the ridge to the small town/village of Buoch. We would have liked to stop there for coffee, but as it was 3:00 pm on a sunny Sunday, we reasoned any place would be packed, and so did not bother looking for a café. Instead, we descended the rather steep path (a bit of a challenge for knees and feet, but thankfully, neither of us is very heavy) back down into Grunbach.

Abandoned allotment near Grunbach, the ground covered in snowdrops.
Church in Grunbach

Back home at almost precisely 5:00 pm, it was soon time to start making dinner. O.K. drove home at around 9:00 pm and texted me an hour and 20 minutes later to let me know he'd arrived.

It had been another lovely weekend, with a good run on Saturday morning, a spot of shopping in town in the afternoon and visiting my parents in the evening.

Sunset on Saturday evening, as seen from my bedroom.

Now I am getting ready for a rather busy working week -  only 3 1/2 of them left before my holiday!

Full moon preparing for the show last Tuesday, as seen from my kitchen.
Enjoying an after-work drink with my colleagues on Thursday.


  1. Lovely photo of you Meike - green drink?
    Enjoyed readlng of the hike you and O.K. took - thank him for the photos of the countryside. Coming across the snowdrops must have been a delightful surprise. I'd be breathless too I'm afraid - can't do hills so well these days!
    The moon shot at night looks like an oil painting.

    Have a good week.

    1. It's a drink based on gin and blue curacao, plus coconut, cream and a hint of pineapple - similar to what here is called a "Swimming Pool", but it is the creation of that hotel's bartender whose name is Manrique, and so the cocktail is called Manrique Spezial :-)
      I, too, thought that the moonlit sky looked like a painting.

  2. I'm still not quite used to your very short hair (although I do like it).

    The Saturday sunset is beautiful. I've almost forgotten what they look like with the dismal weather we've had since I returned from Glasgow about 4 weeks ago.

    I liked the panorama and popped back in time to see the walk I had vicariously enjoyed back in 2017.

    1. We've had plenty of sunshine over the past two weeks, but thankfully, there was also a little bit of rain in between, so hopefully our gardens and fields are getting enough water.
      I'm glad you revisited the 2017 walk! Looking at the photos from back then, I can't wait for spring to pick up properly.

  3. Love that blue sky, we’ve had similar this weekend and also enjoyed some great hikes. I’d be worried if I wasn’t a bit out of breath going uphill, it just shows you’re working hard. I love to stand at the top of a hill admiring the view (and getting my breath back!).
    That sunset is so beautiful, what a fabulous sky. Thanks for sharing.

    1. It was more than just being a bit out of breath, Karen; I really had to stop, simply slowing down wasn't enough. But OK is patient and keeps reminding me that we are not in a competition - it is just me being daft and trying to prove to myself what I can do!
      Yes, a good view makes for a nice reward.

  4. Oh, dear. I must have typed in my comment and then not posted it. Just wanted to say what a good weekend with some of many different satisfying activities. Like your blue dress and new hair style and isn't anticipation fun!

    1. Thank you for trying again, Kristi! I get frustrated when comments do not post properly and do not always repeat them.
      The dress is a nice "petrol" blue-green shade, I bought it years ago in Harrogate, Yorkshire.

  5. You look so pretty Maike, I love your hair! I noticed you eat dinner early, if I understood correctly. Here in Sicily dinner starts at 10! When I say I eat at 6 people are shocked (actually I eat dinner at 5). I never liked eating late at night. I am used to the American way. I came home at 6 from work and my mother had dinner ready.

    1. Thank you, Francesca!
      During the week, I eat at around 8:00 pm, but on weekends we eat pretty much whenever we're hungry - and after our hike we were looking forward to some sustenance :-) Also, OK still had to drive 150 km to get home that night, so we did not want it to get late.

  6. I'm glad you've been having good weather too. The abandoned allotment with the snowdrops is my favourite out of a very nice set of pictures. I have found recently that I'm not so keen on very steep descents - the ascents not quite so bad, but an old knee injury that I've had since childhood has started getting worse in the last few years and I feel I can trust it even less than before. I am considering whether to get some of those hiking poles but they always look such a nuisance. Have you tried them?

    1. The allotment was a surprise find; I could not have walked by it without at least taking a picture.
      Steep descents can be really exhausting physically and mentally, especially if the path is uneven so that one has to focus on the ground all the time.
      OK has a pair of hiking poles and I have tried them once, but they are not for me, and he's not taken them on our hikes except for one time.