Of Stilt Houses and Castles

Today saw us making a trip into history.

We kicked it off with a trip to the Stone and Bronze Ages with a visit of the Stilt House Museum (Pfahlbautenmuseum).

From here (after a bit of tourist rip-off) it was on into medieval times and to Meersburg, a small city at the shores of Lake Constance.

We had a walk around town, checking out the lower and the upper town – and taking in the views on the way. We eventually stopped at a bistro at the lake front for some food and drinks – before heading back to Friedrichshafen.

After another evening with the family, I left on Tuesday morning – heading home by train – and looking back to a great, eventful weekend.

A trip across the Lake – Bregenz & the Pfaender

Today we spent big time on Lake Constance – making our way from Friedrichshafen to Bregenz on the Austrian side of the lake, each way being a good two hours with multiple stops en-route.

After arrival in Bregenz we made it straight for the Pfänderbahn, to get up the Pfänder mountain. At 1062m above sea level – and (more important) 667m above Lake Constance views here were fabulous.

Back down in Bregenz we had a quick walk around the city center and (as by now we were both hungry and thirsty) a quick afternoon snack – before catching the ship back to Friedrichshafen.

A weekend at Lake Constance – Friedrichshafen

My mother had one of those big birthdays this year – instead of a big celebration we had a small family reunion … with Lake Constance being my mother’s choice of destination.

My parents picked me up Friday midday and we made our way down to Friedrichshafen at the front of Lake Constance – a drive of about four hours.

My sister and nephew joined on Saturday – both days were spent, exploring town – and included a visit of the Zeppelin Museum on Saturday.

documenta fifteen

In Five years are over once more – and it is time, to head back to Kassel for a fit of contemporary art at the biggest exhibition of its kind on the planet – documenta fifteen.

The approach for this edition was a bit different than with previous ones, with the role of artistic director being given to the Indonesian art collective Ruangrupa. Other art collectives were asked to join – who in turn added like-minded artists. The result – in my view – was a fairly one-sided system-criticizing exhibition with (at least for me) no real WOW-moment. Well – and the controversy around antisemitic elements in several pieces of art in the exhibition is just the next thing.

In any case, below a couple of impressions from the exhibition …

Panoramic Views

Winter has turned into spring, spring has turned into summer – and that virus is still around. With that, travel remains a local affair – and similar to last year, it was time for another trip to my parents and the village that I grew up in.

Similar to previous visits plenty of time was spent walking resp. hiking in the area. This time we were exploring a hiking trail, that had only been marked recently – the Haune Panoromaweg. The trail follows the valley around the Haune river with gentle ups and downs – and features great views of the area. Below some photographic evidence.

… and into a Covid-influenced Winter …

Guess what … the pandemic continues – and it clearly is winter now.

Temperatures have continued to decrease, at least the days are getting longer again.

It is now more than a year ago, that I have last been abroad – not sure, when that last happened in my life. As things are right now – leaving the state would already be something special … at least with winter and some snow coming in, there is some change outside – adding something new for the (continuing) walks and hikes.

Below a collection of photos from my winter experiences from January and February.

Corona Autumn

The pandemic continues, as we are moving into autumn.

With days getting shorter and temperatures decreasing, this would usually be a good time for a trip to some place warm for some outdoor fun, time at the beach and/or in the mountains – and some new adventures.

Well – not this year. For the past two months I have literally not left a 10km circle around my home (which probably never happened before in all my life). Adventures were limited to extensive walking and hiking trips through meadows, fields and forests right at my doorsteps. As such I got the full autumn experience – witnessing the full process from the early color changes of the leaves, to bald trees and up to the first snow.

Below a collection of photos from my walks / hikes through forest and fields from October and November.

Hiking to Eberbach Abbey

Today saw us making the hike from our base in the old town of Eltville through the vineyards up to Eberbach Abbey – a distance of about 7km.

Eberbach Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery, originally found in 1116AD and then extended over the 12th and 13th century. Buildings – as to be expected for that period – follow Romanesque and early Gothic architecture. Today (and after secularization in the 19th century) the monastery is owned by the state of Hesse – and serves as a museum, a venue for cultural events and a location for filming (parts of “The Name of the Rose” were filmed here). For a full account of the abbey’s history refer to this Wikipedia page.

Wine production has been part of the abbey from its early days – and remains so until today. The “Kloster Eberbach” wine – coming from the vineyards in the region – can be sampled and bought right at the abbey’s wine shop. Of course, we did not leave, before sampling some of those wines.

We continued our hike to the nearby village of Kiedrich (about 4km away) for yet another wine tasting and dinner – before concluding the loop and making the 5km walk back to Eltville for the night.

At the Banks of the Rhine River

Today we did transition from the Nahe river back to the Rhine stream, first to Bingen – and then across the river via ferry to Rüdesheim. We had a short stop in Rüdesheim for a walk around town. From Rüdesheim we continued to Eltville, our base for the next few days.

In Eltville we did another walk, to explore town – culminating at the Ferris Wheel at the river bank for a 40minure trip combined with a tasting of three wines.

Hiking in the Nahe Valley

This year (2020) being what it is, a “proper” vacation was not an option. Instead my parents, two friends and myself decided, to go on a vine-themed trip in relative proximity, with a first stop near Bad Sobernheim, at the Nahe river – and a second one at Eltville at the banks of the Rhine river.

We spent our full day at the Nahe river with a full day hike of about 24km. First making our way from the hotel to the river, then along the river and up the Heimberg along the vineyards and to the observation tower on top of the mountain (or rather hill). Below some photographic evidence.