Saturday 30 May 2020

A Day Off

Here in Germany, Ascension is a Bank Holiday. It always falls on a Thursday, making Friday a popular day off for most people. 
This year, both O.K. and I had to work on the Friday, meaning we were each on our own for the 21st of May and saw each other only on the weekend. We have had this situation a few times in the past years, and it has become something like a tradition for my sister and I to spend that day together, like we did here, for instance.

We took advantage of the sunny weather and went for a walk, on a circuit that my sister chose from a book she has.

The first leg of the round trip was by train, starting in Ludwigsburg; just two stops until Freiberg (wearing our masks, of course), where we took our time exploring the old part of the small town (without masks).
You can find Freiberg's wikipedia entry in English here. If you scroll down to the headline "Notable buildings", you will find information on the buildings we looked at:

Beihingen Old Castle:

 I found this view towards the church rather picturesque:

 New Castle, on the other side of the road from the Old Castle:

Tithe barn:

 Wine press:

Amandus church:

View from the church (which was locked) towards the Old Castle:

Eventually, we left the town and walked towards the river, where the route from my sister's book took us along the "Old Neckar", an abandoned arm of the river not suited for ships and nowadays a nature reserve:

After several kilometers of walking, we saw the small town of Ingersheim ahead:

We decided it was time for a break, and had our picnic (provided by my sister) near here, not far from the river but away from the endless stream of cyclists on the paved path:

Ingersheim is, as you can see, similar in character to Freiberg. I loved the Renaissance banister on the staircase outside the church. (Sorry about the foggy picture - it definitely was NOT foggy that day! I guess the sun played tricks with my mobile phone's camera.)

A short way after Ingersheim, we entered the forest of Bietigheim. No pictures from there, I'm afraid. At one time we came across a pond so full of frogs we could hear them from far away - it never ceases to amaze me how those small animals can make such a racket!

After the woods, the route was across fields (look how dry everything is round here) until we reached the outskirts of Bietigheim.

In Bietigheim, we took the train back to Ludwigsburg, of course once again wearing our masks as required by law these days.

In Ludwigsburg, "my" Irish pub (where I used to go to the pub quiz "before Corona" and had my 50th birthday party two years ago) was open - seating and serving was only happening outdoors on the market square, though. We gladly took the opportunity to have a refreshing cider (me) and beer (my sister); it was nice to do something so normal - even though the waiters wear masks and I had to put mine on, too, when I briefly went inside for the toilet.

My sister came back to my place with me, where we had coffee at the table in the corner under the cherry tree. 
What a nice day it had been! We already have plans for a different walk in the same area for some time later this year.

Friday 29 May 2020

More Sunsets!

One can never have too many beautiful sunsets in one's life, right? Or pictures of it! 

Sunsets have been high on my list of favourites since childhood. From just before I turned six until I was 20, we lived in a terraced house in Ludwigsburg. My room was facing West, with a view of nearby Asperg, the mound you have seen on many of my posts, for instance on this one.
For some of those 14 years, my bed was placed underneath the window. And many an evening, I would kneel on my bed, elbows on the windowsill, and watch the sun setting over the Asperg. The fascination for that particular time of day has never left me, and so I ask you to bear with me while I shall fill this post with more pictures of sunsets (and a few others), taken between the 15th and the 20th of this month, more than half of them by O.K.
Friday, 15.05.2020; O.K. had just arrived at my place in time for a quick walk to catch the sunset.
Sunday, 17.05.2020; a walk to Asperg and the view from there across the town towards Ludwigsburg.
Still Sunday the 17th, the sun setting over Asperg.
Similar view to the one I used to have from my bedroom window as a kid.
Wednesday, the 20th of May - background picture randomly chosen for me by the operating system on my work computer. It must know me well!

The rest of the pictures here were taken by O.K. on the 20th of May during his evening walk just outside the village. I know this circuit so well by now, but never tire of it and the beautiful views it offers.

There, that's enough sunsets for one day, I guess :-)
My next post will show you many historical buildings and more, from a walk I undertook with my sister on Thursday, the 21st of May, which was a Bank Holiday in Germany (Ascension).

And now it is 8:00, and time to start work.

Wednesday 27 May 2020


After almost two months of closure, my home town's palace grounds finally opened the gates again for the public earlier this month. Until then, all we could do was admire the beautiful spring flowers from outside, when walking along the wall on my after work walks. 

O.K. and I spent the weekend after our holiday at my place, and on the 16th of May, we finally went to the gardens.

Restrictions were and are still in place: No more than 2,000 visitors at any time are allowed; face masks have to be worn around the entrance/exit area, where it can be difficult to keep a distance; not all of the small shops and kiosks are open. But none of this was a problem for us. When we arrived on that Saturday, we were aware that we might not be allowed in, in case the max number of visitors was already reached. But our season tickets were checked and we were let through the gates.

In the park, there were visitors around; not too many to make it feel uncomfortably crowded, but not so few as to make it feel eerily empty, as in "I should not be here".

As you can see, the it was as beautiful as ever!

Ludwigsburg Palace is large and old - meaning it constantly needs work done. The closure of the grounds was also used to do some renovation on the facade:

We saw several of these beautiful flowering shrubs dotted around the gardens and didn't know its name until we found a sign attached to one of them:

This is about as crowded as it got:

For lunch, we decided to support the local economy and bought burgers (very delicious, but messy to eat when you can not sit at a table) from one of the food stalls.

We concluded the day with a cup of coffee on my sister's balcony and a visit at my parents' (all with the proper distance, of course); my parents had not known that we were coming, as it was a spur of the moment decision. All the better that O.K. was able to help with carrying something too heavy for either my parents or myself.

Another good day that felt a bit like a holiday once more, and now that I can go to the palace grounds again, I shall put my season's ticket to good use for at least some of my after work walks.