Thursday, 29 September 2022

Odenwald Break: Day 1

The first full day of our Odenwald break was Saturday, Sept. 17. The weather forecast was not brilliant, but after a leisurely and delicious breakfast, it looked good enough for us to attempt a first venture into the woods right behind the hotel.

We had appointments for pedicure and massages in the early afternoon and so did not plan on staying out very long, but we managed to see quite a lot on that first walk, including what became my favourite view of the whole area.

A signpost "Prinzenstein" (prince's stone) caught our attention almost as soon as we entered the woods, and of course we followed that path, arriving at this monument a few minutes later:

It was erected in memory of Prince Ludwig Wilhelm von Baden, who according to the stone once took breakfast here during a hunt. It amused me to see a memorial for someone's breakfast, but I noted that the prince made it not even to his 23rd birthday. Reading up on him on wikipedia, I found that the official cause of death was given as pneumonia at the time, but there were other reports that he really died in or after duelling. In any case, he did not seem to have left a lasting legacy (apart from the "breakfast stone"), but I found the photo of him with his siblings and brother-in-law somehow touching.

Our next stop was a 400+ year old oak tree - grown high rather than broad, in fact so high that it was impossible to get the entire tree in one picture. It is a beautiful tree on a small, quiet clearing:

On we walked through the woods that looked much greener than expected, obviously refreshed from the recent rain falls we'd had:
We had no particular plan to go anywhere specific, but followed sign posts to "Reihersee" (heron lake):

This small lake was specifically created in 1971 to provide a local colony of herons with food and shelter. It has since evolved into a refuge for many kinds of birds (even kingfishers!), insects and plants struggling for habitat elsewhere, and it is protected - no fishing, swimming or dog bathing is allowed here.

The place was so quiet, it felt as if it was under a spell, especially when the sun broke through the clouds and gave it all a golden shine.

We walked further on and suddenly found ourselves at this wonderful view of the Neckar valley, with the river Neckar far below:

In the course of our stay here, we passed this spot (aptly called "Neckarblick", Neckar view) several times, and I really loved it no matter the weather.

It was time to return to the hotel for our appointments. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the hotel's own spa before getting dressed for dinner, which was as delicious as the evening before.


  1. Wow! that is really lovely, Meike! You should plan a hike in the season when those lily pads are blooming and the herons are there to pose for you!
    You certainly know how to enjoy a holiday! :)

    1. Thank you, Ellen.
      If that holiday had not been planned months ago, before the situation with my Dad became what it is now, maybe we would not have gone. But we knew we were only a bit more than an hour's drive away.

  2. What beautiful photos! I love that ancient oak tree. I am intrigued by the "breakfast stone". I do wonder if anyone could find out for sure how the young man really died? Sometime rumors are correct but not always.
    That refuge for birds? That is the kind of place for me too!

    1. Of the oak tree, I made a mini video moving the camera from the ground up, since I could not get it all in one picture otherwise! But I can not show you the video here because O.K. is standing under the tree, and he does not want me to show him on my blog.
      I know you would have loved that refuge! We did not spot any birds that time, but we did not stay very long because of our appointments back at the hotel, and we all know that it takes patience and time to observe wildlife.

  3. Love the photo looking down on the river Neckar. I can see why it became a favorite view for you. Mary

    1. I have an ever better picture of another day passing there, you will see it in a later post.

  4. Like Anon I feel privileged to be looking down on the Neckar, a blue sliver, embosomed in those breezy Odenwald trees.
    As for Wilhem von Baden, if I saw a paperback novel in Waterstones, with that name on the cover, I would have to read it.
    I remember the first time I discovered Hans Hellmut Kirst, Henrich Boll, Ingeborg Bachman, Gunter Grass, Christa Wolf, Gert Hofmann, Walter Kempowski, Herta Muller, Jenny Erpenbeck, Annette Hess, Birgit Vanderbecke, Ursula Hegi etc.
    I hardly went back to the Americans after discovering the Germans !

    Online, *10 German Books by Women Writers We'd Love to See in English.*
    Literary Hub. Katy Derbyshire.
    Julya Rabinowich's untranslated novel *Krotenliebe* is about the Oskar Kokoschka (1886-1980) not my favourite painter but a fascinating man who lived in turbulent times like Hans Hellmut Kirst, who smoked cigars like Brecht and Hofmann.

    1. Admittedly, I know next to nothing about Kokoschka, and of all the authors you list, the only one I have read (and really love, and personally met at a reading many years ago in Marbach) is Walter Kempowski.

      Down below in the Neckar valley, the opposite side of the river has a road and railway tracks, while "our" side only has a single lane not open to general traffic. And even with trains, cars and freight ships passing, you are hardly aware of it as the noise does not reach the woods up where we were walking.

  5. Lovely to read this account Meike.

  6. Erecting a stone to celebrate breakfast reminds me of something hobbits would do. Perhaps it was a particularly nice breakfast?

    I love the bird sanctuary lake.

    1. I do hope it was a particularly nice breakfast, especially as the prince died so young!