Saturday 28 September 2019

September Holiday - Fourth Day

On Wednesday, the 11th of September, the day didn't look overly nice at 8:00 in the morning, but the sun soon dissolved the clouds on and around the lake.

We had now been up and down mountains on both sides of the lake and decided to stay near and on the lake itself for a chance.

From our hotel, we walked along the lake for about two hours. Most of the path was easy and comfortable to walk, but every now and then, the lake shore was steep and rocky, with the path of course following. Sometimes we were rather high up above the water, which made for some great views of the lake shining like a jewel. I have not done anything to the pictures - the colour really was like that!

The path ends at a restaurant with a landing for the tourist ships that are the only motorised craft allowed on the lake. We arrived just in time to catch the "Alpenperle". The ship routes criss-cross the lake and stop at various landings, and we could have stayed on board all the way back to our hotel, but we had planned to get off at Naggl (on the opposite side of the lake) and walk back instead.

Kay, this one's for you!

Another landing, Ronacher Fels. We did not get off here.

I really liked this small extra bit, where one could have a meal set apart from the rest of the crowd.

That took us another hour and a half or so, part of the way leading through woodland, part of it along a not too busy road. All in all, we walked about 14.5 km that day.

Like before, we arrived at the hotel in time for coffee and cake and followed our by now pleasantly established pattern of visiting the sauna, then dressing for dinner and enjoying another excellent meal.

The night was clear and bright with an (almost?) full moon, and we went down to the lake for a short, but very beautiful (and rather romantic) moonlight walk.

I was not sure how the photos would turn out, but I think this one conveys some of the enchanted atmosphere.

Friday 27 September 2019

Read in 2019 - 19: Die Spur der Stachelbeeren

Die Spur der Stachelbeeren
by Ulrike Ladnar

A young woman who wants to live her life the way she chooses, not have things decided for her by others, is the heroine of this book, set in my hometown Ludwigsburg at the time of the first World War.

Back then, Ludwigsburg was a Garrison, with plenty of military around. Lynn works as a nurse in a military hospital and learns more from her patients about the real state of things than what the average citizen gets to read in the paper.

She has two brothers, and their childhood and youth are touched several times in the story, portrayed as idyllic with loving parents and a beautiful home. Their mother is dead by the time the book sets in, and Lynn runs the household for her grieving father and brothers with the help of an elderly woman who is more family member than staff.

Close by lives her best friend with her father, a strict military man; his wife has taken her own life many years ago.

Lynn's older brother would much prefer university to war, but he has to join the army. His letters stop coming all of a sudden, and nobody seems to know where he is; Lynn hears rumours that he may have deserted the army and is in hiding, or has become a spy for the enemy, or both.

The younger brother changes from a carefree, playful youth to an almost fanatic war supporter; he for his part can't wait to be old enough to go to war.

Their father is helpless, and the only way he deals with the situation is to retreat more and more into his own world.

Then, Lynn is kidnapped and held prisoner in a hut in the woods. At first, she does not understand why her kidnapper has done what he did, and what it all has to do with secrets of the past. But eventually, after many twists and turns, secrets are revealed, justice is done, missing friends and family members return home, and... well, more or less all is well that ends well.

There is a lot more to the story than what I have briefly summarised here: romances, betrayals, politics; Lynn's mother was from England, and so she and her family are considered almost enemies by some, now that the countries are at war.
It was a good read; not great, but good. I doubt I would have read this book if it had not had my hometown as its main setting, and I doubt I am going to look for more of this author. Her style is easy to read but sometimes a bit wooden (that is the best term I can think of), not as if the words ran from her pen (or keyboard) easily.
There are also a few geographical flaws in her description of the town and its surrounding area, but these do not take away from the story; I merely found them a little irritating. (The author did not know Ludwigsburg at all when she was asked to write a historical novel set here; she obviously did a lot of research and came to visit several times.)

Since I don't think this will be available in English, I do not expect any of you to look out for this book; I have written the review mainly for myself so that I can keep track of what I have been reading.

A Catty Interlude

If you've been reading my blog for a while, maybe you know that I love cats. There were almost always cats in our family when I grew up, but when my old cat died in 2013, I wisely decided not to have another one live with me - it would just be highly unfair to the animal, what with me being always out and about, and away many weekends.

All the more do I enjoy meeting cats elsewhere. During our September holiday, we had quite a few "catty" encounters. On the farm/hotel grounds, two young and at least one elderly cat were living. You already saw one of them on my previous post, sunbathing on a stack of firewood.

At the second hotel where we stayed for the last two nights of our holiday, there was also a cat around.

Here is a collection of snapshots I took on various days during our holiday:

They were all friendly and playful, not at all shy, well used to visitors. And can anything look more relaxed than a cat relaxing in the sun?

Wednesday 25 September 2019

September Holiday - Third Day

WARNING - This post contains multiple pictures of mountains and lake views, and more mountains, trees, and a few cows! Also, there is adult content: Me with a glass of beer! (Actually it was shandy, and a very welcome and refreshing one at that.)

Tuesday, the 10th of September, started with a mix of clouds and blue sky. Today's hike was going to start right behind our hotel, and we were going to stay on "our" side of the lake (yesterday, we'd been at the opposite side).

View of our hotel and neighbouring houses from the back:

These grass hoppers were everywhere. When they spread their wings, they are bright red underneath, and make a rattling sound.

We often came across these flowers, but I don't know what they are. I've asked my Mum, and she isn't sure, either.

For a change, not cows but horses grazing here. Look at the second picture, zoomed in; one of them is eating from a tree:

Getting back down was taxing. I have no pictures of that part of our hike; it was again steep (in parts), rocky and very uneven. When we're on such a path for half an hour or so, I don't mind, but when it goes on for what feels like hours and there is nearly no end in sight, it gets to me - I start to become really tired and unfocused, and fear taking a wrong step, stumble and fall. This only happens to me when I need to carefully place my feet with every step and can not just stride out at my usual walking speed.
I had to stop once or twice, collect my wits and have a drink of water before I felt confident to go on.

We arrived at the hotel towards the end of coffee-and-cake-time. After that, O.K. still had enough energy left to row us across the lake (giving me the chance to dangle my feet in the clear water). Then, as before, a quick trip to the sauna, and then dinner.

That day, we had "only" walked about 13 km, much less than the day before, but due to the long, difficult descent, it felt just as exhausting. In a good way, I hasten to add!