Sweden – the smell of minus degrees
The first and probably the last snow of this year fell in the middle of November. Through the window at the bar where I worked I could see the wet snowflakes hit the warm tarmac slowly dissolve. Happily enough the temperature fell throughout the night and on the Sunday I woke up to a landscape dressed in white. I love a snowy winter with every inch of my body. The colours, the shapes and structures of snowflakes, the cold air in my face, and the daily challenge of not slip and fall and break a leg or two while sliding around on the streets in my “not so practical and totally flat soled” Uggs. I love the feeling of putting on warm winter clothes. Pack my bag with my camera and extra gloves, just to remember half way out the door that I have forgotten my thermos. The heat starts to build and one minute later you are cursing your selection of clothes that causes you to overheat while preparing the tea. Unfortunately my happiness over the snow was short lived- the snow only lasted for two days before the rain and low clouds were back at the West coast.
The colours of winter along the beach in Söndrum, Halmstad
The following weather after our snowy days have not really been inspiring at all. November seems to be a month that we just have to go through in order to get to December, to the little child in the cradle; the embodiment of consumerism- the Christmas shopping. November is the calmness before the storm and in accordance I have not been on any bigger adventures with my camera. On the other hand I have had friends visiting me and I have been on the run again, I just came back to Sweden the 21th of December, the date that marks the winter solstice of 2015 (more thoughts about that in my next post).
Next stop: Germany
So where have I been this time? First some days with good friends in Copenhagen, a missed flight, a long train ride through the night and long awaited reunion with mien geliebtes german. Tivoli, Christiania and a return flight for two to Germany for a bisschen technotanzen ,detours into the amazing nature of Rheinland-Pfalz and just some time to be.
The fist microadventure from this visit to the wonderful hills of the Pfälzerwald was die Eckkopfsturm, an observation tower between Lambrecht and Wachenheim that offers a good view over the region. The trail leading from the parking lot had a nice gradient and it only took us about 40-60 minutes to reach our destination. After inspecting the region from above and a short tea break we continued towards a quarry that we intended to visit the last time I was here, but failed since we got lost in the dark forest nowhere close to the quarry. We headed in the direction from where Josch once in the summer had come from when he mountain biked from the quarry to Eckkopf. Needless to say, we did not find the quarry this time either, and we got lost in the dark forest, again However, it was a nice little (or long) detour and we saw the first wild boar of the week before we finally found our way back to the car, hungry, cold, but happy. Why not stick to a good concept?
The clouds where hanging low in the valleys below
View from the Eckkopfturm
Detour number two of the week (which to our surprise showed to not be a detour at all) took place around Kalmit, the highest point in the Pfälzerwald (673 masl). The road from Niedenfels to Kalmit goes through a green valley bordered with small villages, ruins from old fortresses and castles and the obligatory brook in order to make it more picturesque for a tourist like me. After a few kilometres the landscapes changes and the small winding road starts to climb up the hillsides that are dressed in forest that seems to come from a fairy tale. I was born and raised in a little village in southern Sweden and we often spend time playing in the forest as kids. The forest seems to be a magic and mysterious place, a place beyond the normal where people often do not travel. Because in the forest hides the trolls, the mad men and the fairies. And the forests of Pfalz are exactly one of these places. The high rising pine trees, some covered in moss, others in ivy. Sun rays that are doing the best to reach through the dense roof made of old tree crowns and not a single person around.
We parked at Totenkopf and followed the white and green trail towards Kalmit. The initial section of the trail was nice and smooth and went through the forest a stone´s throw away from the road. We crossed the road next to the parking lot at Hüttenhol and continued on the trail, now with a slightly ascent towards the felsenmeer, a block field at the Hüttenberg ridge. We had just left the parking lot behind and where about to jump some visible roots when we heard a familiar sound; that of something big galloping the leaf-clad slopes- the second wild boar of the week passed just meters from us. Quite an experience I must say!
The start of the trail from the parking lot at Hüttenhol
Minutes before the wild boar of the day surprised us
Stoneformations at the Felsenmeer
The last part, leading up to the Kalmithaus at the summit was free from the trees that kept the sunrays from reach and we could feel the heat from the sun- December or not, it was over 15*C, the birds were singing and the birch catkins had taken a light green colour. The peak of the summit offered yet another good view over the hazy landscape. We reached the car before dark which allowed us to experience yet another amazing sunset.
A somewhat hazy day at Kalmit
A nice end to a good day of exploring the outdoors