Staufen – a castle, wine and Faust

On our way back from our adventure on the cable car we headed to the main station in Freiburg to make our way to Staufen. I have to admit that I was more tempted to go back to our hotel for a nap but my boyfriend insisted it would be worth it, and it was! Staufen is only about half an hour from Freiburg, or it would have been just half an hour away had we not had to watch our train pull out of the platform before we could buy a ticket as a drunk local was having trouble with the ticket machine!

But when we eventually made it we headed straight to the Staufener Burg, the ruins of a castle on a hill surrounded by vineyards. It’s a nice gentle walk up to the castle and from the top, you are treated to stunning views of the Rhine Valley, the town of Staufen and the Black Forest.

 

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The vineyards surrounding the castle, putting us in the mood for some more local wine!

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Stunning views over the Rhine valley.

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After we made it back down the hill we headed into the town, it sounds a bit cliche but it really did feel like stepping onto a film set! A really quaint and beautiful town. Staufen is also known for its link to Faust, as it is said that Staufen is where he met his end – there are lots of links to Faust in the town including murals and, of course, a wine named after him! You might also spot lots of plasters on the walls of the buildings in the town which say “Staufen darf nicht zerbrechen” (Staufen must not break). Due to a geothermal borehole created to heat the town hall, the town is now at risk of literally falling apart. You can find out more about the causes in this article. 

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The red block on the yellow building above represents a giant plaster with “Staufen darf nicht zerbrechen” written on it. It’s so sad that this beautiful town is at such a risk of literally falling apart.

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For dinner, we stumbled upon a wonderful place. We had watched the Hairy Bikers on their trip to the Black Forest and they talked about Besen, so we wanted to experience one for ourselves. Besen are seasonal restaurants that traditionally open to use up a winemaker’s excess wine at the end of the season! You can spot a Besen by the broomstick outside. As we visited in May, we thought that perhaps this wasn’t truly authentic in terms of using up wine at the end of a season, however, the location and atmosphere was exactly what we expected. It was a large barn-like space that was full of locals and the food was incredible, and it was so cheap! We had wine and a lot of food and it only came to twenty euros. I’d recommend a visit but I’m not sure of the name of where we went, so just look out for the broomstick at the bottom of the castle hill…

Look out for the next blog with photos from the last stop on our trip, Heidelberg!

 

 

 

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Freiburg and the Black Forest

After wandering around Basel we caught a train to Freiburg, located in the South West of Germany this city is known as the “Jewel of the Black Forest”. It’s a beautiful town, the sunniest in Germany apparently and as it is a university town it’s also quite lively! We enjoyed exploring the streets and sampling the local wine, it’s a must as this city is surrounded by vineyards. One of my highlights was travelling on a very long cable car up 1,284m to the top of Schauinsland, a beautiful mountain just outside the city. We went for a walk around the top of the mountain, also climbing an additional observation tower which gave stunning views. Apparently on a clear day, if you are lucky, you can see the Alps, however, as you can see from my photographs below there were a lot of low clouds when we visited.

Here are some photos of the town itself, it’s very quaint in the centre and we enjoyed some local white wine sitting in the square on our first evening.

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And here are some photos from our ascent in the cable car, and the views from the top of Schauinsland!

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I also took some shots in the forest itself capturing the beauty of the trees – inspired by a recent photography exhibition I went to at the V&A called ‘Into the Woods’ (and yes, I was singing Sondheim to myself the entire time).

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I tried out a few effects and blurring layers on these shots and I quite like the effect! There certainly was something magical about this landscape which I hope I’ve captured here.

More posts from this trip coming soon including a trip to Staufen and then our final stop, Heidelberg.

 

 

The start of a new adventure

Earlier this month my boyfriend and I set off for an adventure in the Black Forest! But we started off by flying to Basel before we got the train to Freiburg. We had a few hours to explore this Swiss city and of course, I took some photos.

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Look out for the next post with photos from Freiburg, Staufen and Heidelberg!

 

Shutter speed experiments!

I recently had a great day out with my Dad. We went to a beautiful photography exhibition of trees at the V&A followed by a delicious lunch and then a walk around Hyde Park. We headed to the Diana Memorial Fountain and were soon both crouched down on the floor playing with the shutter speed on our cameras to capture the beauty of the fountain and the different ways that the water flows around it.

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Escape to Dartmoor!

A couple of weeks ago I boarded a train expecting to go to Exeter for a weekend away with my boyfriend. We planned to stay at a Premier Inn and explore the city and maybe some local countryside! So imagine my surprise when we stayed on the train to Newton Abbot, got in a cab and pulled up outside Bovey Castle in the heart of Dartmoor. I was taken aback, to say the least. A weekend in a 5-star hotel and spa wasn’t what I expected but it was a wonderful birthday treat – and the perfect chance to take some photos in the heart of stunning Dartmoor.

Our home for the weekend:

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On our second day in Dartmoor we decided we needed to go exploring, so we got dropped off at Two Bridges (Dartmoor without a car was a bit of a challenge) and set off to find Wistman’s Wood. We were well prepared with waterproofs and layers but remarkably the weather held off for the duration of our walk! Although the wind did howl in a very ‘Hound of the Baskerville’s’ way.

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Wistman’s Wood is an incredible place, quite a bizarre landscape and is known by some as the ‘most haunted place in Dartmoor’! There’s more to read about the legend of the wood on this fascinating website.

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You can’t see it very well in this format but I managed to get a panoramic shot of the moors which I’m quite pleased with.

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And here’s my boyfriend surveying the landscape from Longaford Tor. Once I found a sheltered spot away from the howling wind, it was incredibly peaceful and I enjoyed sitting on a slightly damp rock, admiring the scenery and enjoying the peace.

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We were fortunate enough to stumble upon some Dartmoor ponies sheltering from the wind.

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Check out the mane flying in the wind on the pony below!

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This was the view from our bedroom window on our last morning – it was stunning! Sunday started off with a massage in the spa and some time to explore Exeter before our train back to London. What a lovely weekend!

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Finally, some Lisbon sunshine!

After a lot of drizzle, our final day in Lisbon was beautiful, and warm enough to take off the coats despite it being December. We took advantage of the weather and headed up to the castle to take in the views of the city.

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Despite the sunshine, the threatening clouds didn’t disappear completely!

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Just one more note before my Lisbon posts come to an end, don’t queue for the Santa Justa Lift. We queued for nearly an hour without getting particularly close to the lift and then realised that you can also get to the viewpoint by going up some steep streets! Although I did take the photos below while we were waiting so all was not lost.

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Off on a few UK weekend trips away next and I also plan to do some more photography projects at home as it’s been a while, so watch this space.

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