Sunday, August 07, 2011

Item From the Past: Schwarzwald Saturday Morning

August 6, 1983, Freiburg.

After Frühstück Rich & I hit the trail and soon made our way into the Black Forest, which is dark indeed. Tall pines and firs lord over the paths, cutting off the light below, especially in the small hollows. We didn't see many other walkers out on the winding trails, something of a surprise on a Saturday morning. We did see a number of strange, shell-less snails with orange skin on the trail. If they hadn't been so orange, we might have stepped on some of them.

At one point, the trail wound up to the crest of a hill. It was a rare bit of open space. One of the slopes took the shape of half a bowl, and all of its large trees had been removed -- except for a stand of ancient pines at the base of the hill. Dotting the rest of the hillside were much younger, much smaller pines. It was a Greek theater with an audience of young pines watching their elders perform a very, very slow play. Beyond the pine-theater, the rest of the vista was terrific. We could see Freiburg nestled in its valley and the array of Schwarzwald hills behind the town, far in the distance.

We arrived back in town, hungry, in early afternoon. It was a Long Saturday, so the Stadtmitte was full of people. We each ate an enormous salad and bought food for tomorrow at "Schwarzwald City," a tiny, glittering shopping center. We ambled around after that, full of greens. Remarkable how much a salad can fill you up. Spent some time watching street musicians preform and rail against U.S. involvement in Nicaragua. They claimed -- in German and English -- that the money they were collecting in a hat was "in protest" of that involvement. Uh-huh.

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