Posted by: kathandroger | September 30, 2018

Constance, cows and Fairy Rings.

We have just got back from visiting son Tom and his lovely family in Germany. The trip only takes about eight hours on the motorways, including stops to let the dog pee and the passengers pee. He is lucky enough to live in the Black Forest in southern Germany, a beautiful part of the world and organised in typical efficient German manner. His home is in a holiday resort, with lots of cycling and hiking around the well signposted paths and skiing in winter. Poor lad. His wife Anke used to work at Lake Constance, another couple of hours away, so we spent a night there as well. Another lovely part of Germany on the third largest lake in Europe which looks like a sea. The thing that struck me most about Constance was the clarity of the water and the lack of litter that we have become used to. And the fact that everyone was on a bicycle! Big ones, small ones, and that is just the people. It seems that age is no barrier to cycling, just add a battery and off you go. We spent some time drinking coffee and watching the world go by and realising that there are lots of people older than me in the world! Constance is well worth a visit, for the fountains,IMG_1824 and the ambiance.IMG_1821

But back to the Black Forest. The walking trails are magnificent, and very well signposted. The only drawbacks being the steepness of the mountains and the fact that wolves have been reintroduced, presumably to hasten the progress of the hikers. We didn’t see any wolves, and anyway our fearless dog was with us, but we did see some lovely cows.IMG_1809 They seemed to appreciate how lucky they were in the sunny meadows, and were keen for a friendly chat, but their accent defeated me.
And after the one night of heavy rain, the fungi had raised their pretty heads. We came across this pretty fairy ring high in the mountains and had to wade across some boggy marsh to take the photos. IMG_1790 They looked a bit poisonous to me, so I picked a few for the wife, but she was not keen either.IMG_1797. A walk in the Black Forest really is magical, a huge natural land that seems to change from deepest pine woods, to Beech woods, to pasture.
Like all trips, the time seemed to pass too quickly, but it was a real pleasure to spend time with family and especially the rapidly growing potentially bilingual grandchildren.
We took a couple of days to wend our way back to France, and I had forgotten what a pleasure it is to drive on the almost empty roads of central France. With the autumnal sunshine illuminating the colour changes in the trees, it was a joy to drive. We visited the spectacular Abbey at Vezalay, and even managed to stop at the equally pretty town of Sancerre to look around and buy some wine. Great trip, and we must now prepare for winter!


  1. We too have just returned from visiting our daughter and family on the northern side of the Black Forest. Takes us 11 hours to do the journey by car. Its brilliant on the train though, nine hours door to door and someone else does all the fast driving.

    • Good idea Helen, but where do you depart and arrive?

      • Two alternatives Poitiers- Paris (Montparnasse) Paris Est to Strasburg then Stuttgart/ Alternative is Poitiers – Strasburg (direct) then change for Stuttgart.

  2. The ‘shrooms look like Fly Agaric…. some have their white flakes on the top still… but I have never seen them in a ring, however, most ‘shrooms would grow in a circle if they had no obstacles.
    The hyphae will naturally spread outward in a circle from the original…. and Fly Agaric is normally found in woods, where there are many obstacles to that… and to our vision of a circle if there is one.

    Sancerre…. you should have visited the brewery!
    It is at the bottom of the hill… on the right as you look at the picture that is always on the bottle labels.
    It is in the original 1920s Art Deco building… this has a clerestory all round and the brewer has a collection of beer bottles from the region placed up there. He has managed to collect examples from 60 of the 63 breweries that there were in the immediate area before WW1…. this reduced to 27 between the wars… and was down to 14 by the end of WW2.
    The last one brewing was the Sancerre one… which closed in 1977.
    He re-opened it in 1999…. using the original equipment!! This was all he had there on our first visit…. on our last visit, this had been “museumed”… and the brewery was all shiny stainless steel.
    Didn’t talk to him that time, he was busy…. giving a talk on beer and brewing to a school group of what looked like 13/14 years old kids…. I wonder if they got brewery tour tasters??

    • Intereresting and informative points as usual Tim. I thought the fungi were toxic, but so was the wife that morning! Pity we missed the brewery but we came home with lots of nice wine.

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