Rest Day – Schwarzenberg

A day of rest much anticipated as my right foot has become sore and early blisters on metatarsal pad. Not another decadent German “wellness centre”! You bet and an aromatherapy massage… Its only money! I stayed at the Hotel  Sackmann! Fabulous and decadent – I did not expect anything less.

So a relaxed day from pool to spa to steam room to finnish sauna to foot spa to Himalayan salt sauna to reading couch, then back to pool… And to hell with routine lets do things in reverse.

 As well finished reading  “Love in the Time of Cholera ” by Gabriel  Garcia Marquez. S Columbian novelist about whom I was not aware until now! Indeed he received the Nobel prize for literature in 1982 and after devouring the  book, I am not surprised. 

I also of course managed some Recorder practice then sauntered  out at dusk for some photography.

Mr and Mrs Schaefer of Schwarzwald 

The Hotel Schwarzwald

This hotel is remarkable on many levels. It is almost impossible to know where to begin. The hostlier is Herr Schafer. As an adolescent at the end of the war, he witnessed British soldiers dancing- not in the streets but what I guess we would call Ballroom Dancing in the clubs of Berlin. He was mesmerised by the fluid graceful movements of the couples , so at odds with the stiff precise routines of a German dance! He promptly enrolled in a summer dance academy in London over the next three years. 

Somewhere along the way he met his German Wife – his partner in life and dance! He hosted a national TV programme on Ballroom Dancing for many years. 

He took up teaching and in 1964 built the hotel with the aim of setting up a dance academy with live in accommodation. He rose up the ranks of professional dance teachers and was admitted as a Fellow of the Academy of International Dance Teachers! 

His hotel and dance studio situated in the Schwarzwald became just as famous as a stopping point on the walking trails and he then added to his CV by his active participation in the regions tourist organisation. 

I think the best way to indicate this man’ achievements, are by photos and the fact that on his 80th birthday he received a personal greeting from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel! He and his wife are so unassuming!

whilst I abhor senseless killing, I offered to take a pictute of his hunting trophies. From the 1960’s – deer!

Max the Red Deer Bull in s reserve that Herr Schafer has adopted almost like a pet and which he takes all the walkers to see!

Some pictures along the trail day 3 and 24 km 

The Red Deer Walk- day 1

Well if the weather holds true to form, this will be a fantastically  memorable walk! In true Germanic style it is an outstandingly organised hiking trail, which any human with a modicum of orientation could navigate. My sense of orientation was instilled from birth. 

A little like the Camino Trail in Spain where one simply follows the yellow Nautilus, here one follows a red diamond and the Sign of the Red Deer – the only hiccup being the Deer is in fact green! As there is a significantly high proportion of German men who are colour blind, I guess it’s not so much of an issue, to Germans or  one was still walking at night. Here I must confess that I did become mildly lost ( if there are indeed degrees of “lostness” ) and faced the prospect of finishing in the dark.

The other totally unanticipated bonus was my accommodation! Again if the first two hotels are to be the standard for the week, then I could spend months in the Schwarzwald living like a decadent movie star. The Germans call them “wellness centres”. 

hotel langenwaldsee at Freudenstadt

my room hotel oberwiessenhof at Besenfeld

One was greeted at reception by a buxom wench dressed in German national costume who would have passed muster for a Bavarian Beer Hall and made Vivienne jealous. Sadly I have yet to be welcomed by Kurt in leadenhose. 
At the hotel in Besenfeld at reception I was asked if I would be in for dinner and breakfast, of course I replied. Here is my reserved table for dinner and breakfast!

the dining room

my reservation at dinner.

breakfast again with quaint place name

The wellnes centres of both hotels were dazzlingly decadent and could have been lifted out of an ancient Roman bathhouse or the public baths at Budapest! Spas, saunas, steam rooms and swimming pool with showes that shot water out of multiple orifices at every few centimeters around the wall!  Marble, slate and terrazzo added a final Greek touch! 

So here are a few pictures of the first day -24 km easy! The rest of the week is truely a walk in the woods only about 15 km a day! Even Pamela could cope whilst Michelle would surely approve of the accommodation!

the start!

Tegel airport 

I had forgotten the hell that is Hall D of Tegel airport Berlin 

This queue is simply waiting to check in! The futility of “on-line” check in is obvious! One may as well bounce one’s bum on the moon. It should be renamed to “in-line” check in

 Berlin and Amsterdam 

A few pictures of Berlin and Amsterdam. Berlin i visited three years ago whilst it was 40 years ago for Amsterdam! 

the Berlin Dom

interior of the cathedral


Has it  changed in 40 years… I can’t remember! 

looking across the canal from the Rikjmuseum

I am sure that Juliet owned a bicycle! eveyone else does.

the oldest church in Amsterdam !