On a German road: a young man is zigzagged low over his rollerblades; legs, ankles and feet fast together like a dart; his hair streaming as he is pulled along by a galloping German Shepherd.
Flowers. Everywhere. Tumbling down mounds in the centre of roundabouts; underscoring windows with a frill of scarlet; bursting from tubs and spilling out of front yards; giving succour to the living and commemorating the dead in miniature gardens; sneaking into crops; scattered through forests. The air is the subtle fragrance of blossom.
A designated parking area for women in a multi-storey carpark in Stuttgart. It’s well-lit, in a high-traffic area and close to the lifts.
Statues of Jesus appear where one least expects them: sheltered by a bush in a field; overlooking a valley on a lonesome sweep of road; next to the footpath amongst houses far from the church; watching over a water trough. This is Catholic territory. In the north, there are few such statues, due to the predominantly Lutheran heritage.
I saw my first cobblestone street in Europe. (Do they exist anywhere else?) Delight! Fairytales beneath my feet. The pattern of this standard German footpath is not as captivating but is still a far cry from ye old concrete slab found in most Australian towns.
Slender, cream-centred logs stacked in forests, on roadsides, against houses and barns, in gardens and paddocks. Each pile is a physical representation of time and labour.
Large expanses of roof are entirely clad in solar panels, highlighting Germany’s commitment to energy sources that don’t pollute the planet and atmosphere. Apparently, they are even more widespread in the north.
Like saviours from the mists of fantasy, the turbines rise.
Butterflies and weightlifters – little in common one would have thought, but it seems popped out ‘veins’ are not just the precinct of those who guzzle powdered protein drinks. The delicate sipping of nectar gives rise to them too. (Sorry to all you photo buffs out there. The trusty point and click pocket camera did the best it could).
This handy sign is just the ticket if you’ve arrived at the Krunkelbach Valley near Menzenschwand to take in the commanding views, only to find that you’ve forgotten how to walk. Once the site of a uranium mine, it is now rehabilitated.
Bits of Black Forest perch on top of distant hills like a judge’s wig on a forehead. The mass of upright green, with its precise border, reaches to the ground, darkening its own interior. Where it meets the deep turquoise of the Rhine, a narrow band of velvety black marks the space between tree and water.
I want to wrap my arms around vistas of German farmland and hold them against me in a bundle. They are so quaint and so cosy, like a doll’s house. There are few fences so the narrow roads simply zip through fields. A house on its own in farmland is so rare as to be remarkable. And, most enticing of all, fields jostle in varying stages of production. Fuzzy, pale green crops tinged with gold, sporting long, thin seed pods abut dense wheat the colour of sage which stops abruptly at ploughed russet fields still spiked with scraps of dry grass. Rows of lime green lettuces march alongside dark, billowing corn. It is a feast of colours and textures.