Thursday, 19 October 2017

September Holiday: Black Forest, Day 4

Our fourth day in the Black Forest (the 21st of September) saw us back at the Wutachschlucht for one more hike. This time, the tour we had chosen from our guide book was called "Drei-Schluchten-Wanderung", three gorges hike. And three gorges they were: the Wutach gorge first, then the Gauchach (I'd like to hear one of you pronounce "Gauchach-Schlucht" :-) ) and last but not least the Enge Schlucht ("narrow gorge").

Here are the pictures from the first part. As before, you will get to see plenty of trees, rocks and water - if you find this boring, simply skip this post :-)

This building used to be another mill; there are several along the Wutach. The stream's power was used for saw mills and flour mills, but none of them is still in use. This one had a small restaurant next to it, catering for hikers. We passed it and soon reached the Enge Schlucht ("narrow gorge") which you will see in one of my next posts.

Monday, 16 October 2017

A Special Family Reunion

As you know, O.K. and I were away in September (there is still at least one post about hiking in the Black Forest pending).
At the same time, his sister and her husband were away, so that their mother was looking after both places, taking out the mail, watering the flowers; you get the idea.

A couple of days before we were all due back home, she spotted a kitten in the front garden of O.K.'s sister's house. The next day, she realised it was not just one little kitten, but a family - mother and four little ones!
The babies were already a few weeks old, so were not born there. We think that the mother originally lived on one of the nearby farms, had the babies there and at some stage decided she wanted to move to a quieter place. A house where the owners are on holiday is definitely a quiet place, so the garden behind the hedge, with plenty of hiding places such as underneath the covered grill, must have been just what she was looking for.

When O.K.'s sister and her husband (let's call them J and M for convenience) returned, they found themselves transformed from a household without pets to "owners" of an entire cat family!

Efforts were made to find out if anyone was missing their cat(s), but to no avail. At first, the cats were very shy. But after only the second feeding, the mother - still rather young herself - became very attached. A week or so into the new situation, J and M found the little ones widening their range of action to the patio, and the mother showing signs of wanting to come into the house.

Friends and relatives were asked, and soon adoptive "parents" for the cats were found. But of course the little ones were still too small to be taken away from their mother, and so it was decided to keep them together for a few more weeks.

Then, one day, no kittens were to be seen. The mother showed up one more time and then all cats were gone. J and M went looking for them, and a neighbour told them that her husband had rescued a kitten from underneath a car and taken it to the animal shelter.
J and one of the people who wanted to adopt went to the shelter together - where they found out that only five minutes previously, someone had brought the mother and two babies! The third kitten was put with its mother and siblings, but still one was missing.

Posters were printed and put up around the neighbourhood, and not long afterwards, a local lady arrived at the shelter with the fourth kitten.

A happy family reunion was the result, and now all five are safe and just waiting until the little ones are old enough to be taken to their new homes.

(All pictures were taken by J. I have her permission to use them here on my blog and tell the story.)

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Read in 2017 - 32: Talk of the Town

"Talk of the Town" by Mary Kay McComas

This romance novel from 1995 can be summarised very quickly:

Single mother and small-town resident Rosemary, diner waitress during the day and artist in her spare time, regularly visits a refuse center to find pieces for her metal sculptures. There, she meets recycling whiz Gary - much more than "just" a garbage man. For him, it is love at first sight; for Rosemary, allowing a man into her heart and her life after the mistakes and disappointments in her past is not so easy.

Almost as quickly as writing the summary, the book is read. There are some funny moments and the background info about waste-treatment and
recycling as well as the world of art and how and artist may approach his or her work reads competent enough to make me guess the author knew what she was talking about.

That, once again, two utterly gorgeous people who are clearly meant for each other have to overcome some obstacles before all ends in perfect
bliss, is obvious - if I was not prepared for that, I would have had to stop reading on page 2.

I have definitely read worse, but I could not bring myself to care much about Rosemary. Contrary to her claims of being an oh-so-hurt-and-modest
person, she sits on a very high horse when it comes to the man who is convinced she is The One for him. The way her character is described
otherwise in the book makes it very hard to believe that she of all people would feel embarrassed because of his job (which is way better
and earns him much more money than what he lets on at first). So, this one and only obstacle is really very much construed and not very credible.

Apart from that, this was light and easy reading during my train trips to and from work. Nothing I would want to spend money on, but as it was a free ebook, I can not complain - and for that, it was surprisingly well edited.

The author was new to me. She has her own website here.

There, I have found her biography rather interesting and was pleased to discover that she likes Georgette Heyer's novels.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

September Holiday: Black Forest, Day 3

On the 20th of September, we arrived at breakfast in our hotel to this beautiful view:

Our plan for the day was to return to the Wutachschlucht but walk a different part of it. Actually, the first half of our hike was not along the Wutach, but the Haslach, another small river that merges into the Wutach.
We drove to Lenzkirch, a small town which is ideally situated for hiking in the region.

From the parking lot where we changed into our hiking boots, it was a comfortable walk through the woods to the Haslach.

The Haslach, which would accompany us most of the time until its merge with the Wutach:

The building in the picture above used to be a tiny train station. There was once a railway connecting the surrounding villages, but it has long been closed, and the former tracks have been turned into a cycling path.

After following the former rail tracks for a while, the path took us back down into the gorge with the Haslach at its bottom:

We really liked this part with the dramatic rocks where the Haslach has been squeezing through for tens of thousands of years:

 The path took us up to the rim of the gorge again, with glimpses down to where we'd been:

Soon, we were at river level again:

Here is where the Haslach and the Gutach merge, forming the Wutach:

We crossed the Wutach at some point and went back up through the woods until we were much higher up than before. From there, once again a comfortable path took us back to where we had started.

Back in Lenzkirch, we had a good meal of hot soup at a café, followed by delicious cake and coffee, before we drove back to the hotel.

We ended the day with a short walk to the top of the hill behind the hotel, enjoying the peace and quiet of the surrounding meadows and woods.