Let’s have a hiking photo blog, said Mrs Easy Hiker.
It was only when I had such a hard time finding anything halfway decent in our archive of our easy hiking in Germany that I realized how poor the photographs are that we actually have or, put differently, how few of them are actually good enough to be posted at all.
But these 10 pictures tell our hiking story
This, for example, is our version of the Twelve Apostles, the most famous landmark of the Altmühltal-Panoramaweg in Lower Bavaria. Groovy, eh?
Don’t you wish you had laid off those magic mushrooms!
For years, using our mobile phone cameras by and large, we have snapped away thoughtlessly and incompetently at little details that seemed to be telling and amusing at the time but whose significance has largely been lost, managing to cut out the larger picture altogether. Every once in a while, however, this hit-and-miss process miraculously results in something very nearly presentable. This, for example, is from the Malerweg in the East German/Czech borderlands.
This area and its dramatic rock formations are known to have inspired at least two famous artists: Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840), the romantic painter …
… and Karl May (1842-1912), convicted criminal, impostor and author of unspeakably awful Western novels.
My favourite scene in the entire Karl May oeuvre, which extends to more than 70 novels (not counting some steamyerotica and a book on venereal disease), is the one where Winnetou, the youthful chief of the Apache Indians, has a tearful deathbed conversion to Christianity at the hands of his German friend, the curiously named Old Shatterhand. No, I am not making this up. If you don’t believe me, let the Master himself tell you how the noble Winnetou enters the pearly gates.
And now for something completely different: A castle on the Rhine.
One of the great joys of hiking – along the Rhine as elsewehere – is that you have the opportunity to sample the local grub. I am deliberately avoiding the word cuisine because it would give you a totally wrong idea.
Restauration for hikers are not what you would categorise as cuisine. It is the hearty stuff. Serious meals for seriously hungry folks. Prepared and served by salt-of-the earth people in salt-of-the-earth restaurants. Places such as the Rheinblick where they serve …
well, what exactly?
I don’t know how clearly this comes across in picture 5… but here you see a garden gnome merrily sawing off his own hand. See that pool of blood under his hand? Sick, sick, sick. I will never forgive myself for being too skint to shell out the €17.95 to take this poor little fellow and give him a new home. What a wonderful conversation piece he would have made.
But then again, this was also the rationale behind my acquisition of the Special Edition Longoria Gold Glove Figurine, which depicts the moment in young Evan’s career when he, while in diving pursuit of a low line drive, impaled himself on a thin plastic stick. Not many conversations were started though.
Time for another castle, this time one in the Eifel.
In picture 8, you see a Mrs Easy Hiker in a good mood because she thought the end of our trip was nigh. What she didn’t know was:
- that the bus supposed to take us back to civilization did not actually stop in Karl itself – a very small nondescript German town whose glittering skyline you can see in the back – but one mile further down the road in the middle of nowhere;
- and that the next bus would not come before sunset, giving us the choice of either sitting under a tree for the rest of the day or walking another 2 miles to the next village where, as we were told, we could wait in a pub over a nice hot cup of coffee.
She happily agreed to walk the extra miles, blissfully unaware that
- this pub would be closed on that day ;
- and that we would be forced to search for cover from the pouring rain in a bus shelter with nothing to entertain us for the next couple of hours but a selection of old rock’n roll songs in her cell phone.
The Externsteine in Northwest Germany is our picture 9. I seem to recall that they are geologically important.
I do remember stories that tell of much jiggery-pokery in Nazi times, SS sex parties, mock-pagan rituals performed by hooded men in druid suits, that sort of stuff. (Ah, the druids. Nobody knows who they were, or what exactly it was they were doing. But their legacy remains.)
I thought I’d wrap this up with a picture of me and Mrs Easy Hiker. In the background, you can see the Alps, admittedly not classical easy hiking territory. Strictly speaking, we were not really hiking either (no backpacks, see). We did walk around the area quite a bit though. How we got up there in the first place? Well, in a cablecar, of course. You think we climbed all the way up?
You must be joking…..