Wednesday 12 January 2022

Short and Long Walks

Still catching up with what the first week of this year was like for me; we have now made it to Tuesday, the 4th of January.

It was a very mild day at about 14C (57F), but so wet we decided against a long walk or hike. Instead, we did some household stuff and food shopping in the afternoon. There was still time and occasion for a quick walk around the village before lunch time, though; it was 11:25 when these two pictures were taken:

Wednesday, the 5th, saw quite a drop in temperatures; it was no warmer than 3 or 4C (37-39F), but with enough sun between the clouds to turn even the bleakest January landscape into a fascinating play of light and shadow.

O.K.'s sister happened to be at their parents' just as we were ready to go, and kindly offered to take us to where we intended to start our walk. It wasn't really cheating, was it! She dropped us off at Ortenberg, a place that has also featured a few times on my blog before. You may recognise the castle from older posts.

There was no exploring the castle grounds or climbing the tower this time, though; the gates were locked with the youth hostel being shut due to the pandemic.

View from near the castle along the Kinzig valley and (more or less) the way we were going to walk:

The view across the industrial area of Ortenberg towards Black Forest hills:

On we walked, through the vineyards towards Ohlsbach:

Old outbuildings at a farm:

We walked through the center of Ohlsbach, a village of just over 3,000 inhabitants. A bakery near the main square offered coffee to go, and we were glad of the hot drink plus a savoury snack to go with it.

From there, the path lead through a patch of woodland. We choose to walk down the hill and skirt Reichenbach, a smaller but widespread community of just over 2,000 inhabitants. There are many places called Reichenbach in Germany; wikipedia lists 15 in Baden-Wuerttemberg (the federal state where we live) alone.

St. Peter's, a chapel originating from the 13th century:
Leaving Reichenbach, we crossed the Kinzig near Berghaupten and walked back along the rim of the Black Forest. By then, the late afternoon light made us decide against walking through the woods; sunset was not far off, and we were not keen on stumbling around in the dark.

The setting sun lit up the castle beautifully:

We reached Zunsweier, the next village from O.K.'s, and made it back to the village just in time before it was completely dark. Too late for coffee and cake, but after having walked a bit more than 16 km, we were hungry enough for a substantial evening meal.

I enjoyed that walk very much; I had known bits of the places we'd walked through, but never really walked there before. The light was particularly beautiful, so a great day altogether.


  1. That was a good walk. You did more ks in that walk than I've done so far in the whole of January. Mind you you do have lots of new walks to explore and a walking companion which can make it more interesting and definitely spurs one on.

    1. That's true; there are still many paths we have not walked on yet, and while we have a few favourites we keep returning to, we want to explore new ones as well. Usually, we are both in agreement about wanting to make the best of any walk-friendly weather. But as you know, I also enjoy my lone walks, or the ones with my sister.

  2. As I was reading your post and looking at the photos, I was thinking about how beautiful the play of light across the landscape was when I read your last line. Beautiful, indeed.

    1. Sometimes a ray of light fell on just one particular spot, but the skyscape changed so fast that we did not always manage to capture the best moments.

  3. I am amazed at the distances you two are able to cover. Luckily, the weather seemed to cooperate but aren't you starving hungry by the time you finish? You must have good hiking boots to protect your feet! Nice photos!

    1. We do indeed have good hiking boots - they are one of the best buys I've made in the past years!
      Breakfast was rather late and filling that day, and we had a savoury snack from the bakery about half way into the walk. Surprisingly, I am not always ravenous at the end of a long walk, but I need to drink plenty of water if I have not had my bottle with me (or on particularly warm days), and sitting down is welcome, too!

  4. Such a long walk but lots of interest along the way. I don't mind walking in the cold but not in the rain. With longer days coming, you can cover even more kilometres!

    1. I can walk long distances, provided the route is not too strenuous; this was mostly easy, with not very many or steep up and downhill bits.
      Yes, longer daylight hours mean we can stay out longer!

  5. You are *out there* as Sam Shepard used to say, and on our behalf too.
    So many paths still to walk as you said to Graham.
    Such distances covered as Ellen said.
    Skies with such play of light as Mary observed.
    Turner would have painted those skies, maybe Cezanne would have painted your hills, if someone had tempted him away from his beloved Monte Sainte-Victoire.
    Hemingway said he learned to describe landscape in prose by looking at the Cezannes in the Louvre.

    1. P.S. Can you take a photo of the next bakery you stop at, with their owner's permission? I would like a glimpse of their pastries.
      I have dreams of bakeries and secondhand bookshops.

    2. To be able to paint such skies or landscapes is a great gift and one I would love to have. Since I don't, I limit myself to take pictures - rather one too many than missing out on the possibility to return to those beautiful moments. Every now and then, I browse my photos and dream myself away to the times and places they represent.

      I can't promise a bakery photo, but I will keep it in mind. Should the occasion arise (and the shop be empty of other customers), I may ask the person behind the counter.