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.

 

DSCF9918

DSCF9923

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

DSCF9926

DSCF9929

DSCF9931

DSCF9937

Stunning views over the Rhine valley.

DSCF9945

DSCF9956

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. 

DSCF9971

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.

DSCF9968

DSCF9965

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!

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

DSCF9700

DSCF9703

DSCF9704

DSCF9708DSCF9722

DSCF9727

DSCF9733

DSCF9734

DSCF9740

DSCF9745

 

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:

DSCF9434

DSCF9449

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.

DSCF9456

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.

DSCF9471

DSCF9473

DSCF9479

DSCF9488

DSCF9489

DSCF9496

DSCF9498

DSCF9507

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.

DSCF9517

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.

DSCF9520

DSCF9526

DSCF9530

DSCF9540

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

DSCF9546

DSCF9549

DSCF9550

DSCF9557

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

DSCF9562

DSCF9564

DSCF9571

DSCF9577

DSCF9586

dartmoor

DSCF9594

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!

DSCF9598

Porto

 

Back at the start of the month, we spent 5 days in Portugal. I hadn’t been to Portugal before and was looking forward to exploring somewhere new – especially the food and drink!

Our first destination was Porto. Porto is a beautiful city, piled on top of a very steep hill which runs right down to the Douro river – the link between Porto, the port wine houses where the wine ages and the vineyards further upstream where this delicious wine starts its journey. We visited Caves Ferreria for a tour and of course a tasting. This has started a bit of a port drinking habit but it’s just so delicious!

I tried lots of bacalhau (cod) during the trip cooked in a variety of ways, and of course plenty of pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) but they truly came into their own in Lisbon – our next destination!

DSCF9177

This beautiful square and church were just minutes from our Airbnb.

DSCF9190

DSCF9184

The city – piled up high!

DSCF9201

The sunsets over Porto! I love the light in this shot.

DSCF9227_edited-1

As the sun set, I captured this shot of one of the boats that was once used to transport the Port down the river. I had a bit of a play with Photoshop on this one, and although some may say it’s overused, I like the way this effect brings out the vibrancy of the boat against the striking structure behind it.

DSCF9250

DSCF9223

DSCF9221

DSCF9212

A surprising encounter when exploring the streets around the Port wine houses.

DSCF9220

DSCF9216v2

DSCF9204

DSCF9197_edited-2

This derelict and possibly burnt out building caught my eye as we were admiring the view of the city from the other side of the river.

Porto was great fun and we really enjoyed exploring this city with its stunning views and steep hills. Look out for my next post with my snaps from our time in Lisbon!

 

A weekend in Toulouse and Albi

Back in October my boyfriend and I spent the weekend in France. I only took the Friday off work but it felt like a really good break. We stayed in a lovely Airbnb in Toulouse – with a comically low bathroom ceiling (especially as we’re both quite tall) but a wonderfully comfy bed.

It was a weekend that centred around our stomachs and we ate our way through the city over the next couple of days. This included visits to the markets full of all kinds of delights – and a few horrors!

DSCF9116

DSCF9119

DSCF9170

DSCF9172

DSCF9174

DSCF9176

We also took the train to Albi for a day which was a stunning town, another market to explore, a delicious lunch including snails and a trip to the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec. We were much luckier with the weather in Albi so there were many more photo opportunities!

DSCF917

DSCF9122

DSCF9123

DSCF9131

DSCF9134

DSCF9138

DSCF9140

DSCF9143

DSCF9146

DSCF9151

DSCF9153

DSCF9154

DSCF9157

DSCF9158

DSCF9164

DSCF9166

 

DSCF9167

My highlight of the weekend had to be seeing a starling murmuration over the river in Toulouse. I’ve always wanted to see this natural spectacle but had no expectations that Toulouse would be where I see it!

We’re off to Portugal next so look out for some more photos soon.

 

Scotland – day 6

Our final morning arrived much too quickly and we drove back to Inverness to drop off our car and catch the plane home. But first, we went for a walk through the city and to Ness Islands.

DSCF9104

DSCF9105

DSCF9107_edited-1

DSCF9109

DSCF9110

We had such a fantastic trip exploring the highlands and would love to return again to explore some more. Any suggestions would be welcome!