Friday, May 27, 2011

Mountain Road

The Bergstrasse is a scenic stretch of road that lies deep in a German valley and is surrounded by gentle slopes everywhere one glances while ruined castles, vineyards and old town centers beckon all for a visit. Running North to South this route is visually pleasing as it winds pass elevated picturesque towns, these establishments were built amongst the forests with very few cleared areas around them, and it’s obvious why the name Bergstrasse translates to "Mountain Road." Partially hidden amid the dense foliage are entire towns, fruit orchards, and sheep farms often oblivious to those driving past; that is unless you own a dog that loves to run and frolic in nature :) Turning towards Weinheim, the narrow road snaking uphill dictated the drive be deliberate thus Erin's head remained outside the vehicle where she observed the ongoings with great interest, her broad smile and rapid tail wag told me all I needed to know.

The twin castles of Weinheim Schlosspark dominated the skyline thus our destination was reached with relative ease and many visitors were enjoying the beautiful April weather upon our arrival. With Erin leashed at my side we set out to explore the botanical gardens town center, and anything else of interest, other dogs were spotted but they were not roaming freely and it quickly became apparent why as the castle grounds came into view. A well maintained lawn stretched for an eternity while blooming flowers of every color drew crowds of admirers, fountains spraying refreshing streams of water tempted children while statues added a sense of nobility to the entire scene; no one would ever permit their pets to deface such a magical place. Wide paved paths provided avenues to stroll around while wooden benches were situated throughout the arboretum if one wished to relax, Erin would nudge me onward if I became too comfortable in one location so our exploration continued at a steady pace.

Foliage from across the globe was flourishing inside greenhouses while protected frogs utilized a designated pond, Erin had an urge to enter the water to investigate but quickly became distracted by a hare sneaking around the outer perimeter wall. Under any other circumstances she would be off-leash acting upon her instincts but a more regal creature was required today thus he remained tethered to me despite the obvious angst. Locals with their dogs often said "Guten Tag" on our journey of discovery and while communication was an issue due to my lack of speaking German, Erin and her fellow canines had no such problems; tail wags and sniffing butts is a universal language across the globe :) Further ahead a mausoleum was discovered hidden amidst vast trees; too well hidden judging by the lack of visitors but that didn't stop us from admiring the ancient structure from a nearby bench. Detailed images of angels, owls, and bats were carved into support columns but unfortunately the entranceway was locked so a peek inside didn't occur.

A gate separated the castle park from a forest arboretum that contains a collection of trees from all over the world and here Erin was released free to run as she desired. Spotting or smelling something of interest produced a dash down a trail or into the underbrush where a minute later she appeared at my side with a toothy smile that declared "almost had it" and our trek continued with her out front. Furry inhabitants ensured her time in the preserve would not be boring, she scampered off after something unseen then repeated the process over and over. There was never any chance of Erin getting lost as she never dared to venture too far from me and I absolutely refused to allow her to that option; we both knew the limit of separation and anything beyond was uncomfortable. An impromptu game of hide and seek took place in that sacred locale, it's a game which we played many times over the years in numerous countries especially inside our home :) Concealed behind a tree a distinctive whistle was emitted in hopes of luring Erin towards my direction while she scanned the area for any subtle sign of movement, racing from tree to tree she attempted to locate my hiding spot. Peeking around the side of a broad tree, a huge smile was plastered upon my face as her tail wag is noticed, finally spotting me she rushes over where she's congratulated with a hug and kind words... “You found Daddy You found Daddy"

Eventually Weinheim's city center was reached but it was much too crowded and hectic for us to maneuver though, seems some type of festival with food, music, and merriment was ongoing so a leisurely stroll back to the castle park took place. Unexpectedly a bird sanctuary was discovered near one of the towers, colorful birds of all sizes were making a racket inside a fenced enclosure, they seemed oblivious to the interested crowd but Erin wasn't impressed so we wandered away from the squawking to find solace upon an isolated bench. All good things must end including this special day thus we headed home and exhaustion hit quickly as sleep overcame her within minutes of leaving the park so I knew she had a great time; sneaking peeks at her in the back seat I could imagine her chasing squirrels in her dream... RIP my Angel In Fur!!!


  1. Beautiful pictures. I love reading about your adventures. Looks like the perfect place for a scenic walk and perhaps a picnic! :)

  2. Thanks for visiting!! It was a serene lovely place and folks were enjoying picnics; another reason Erin remined leashed :)

  3. What a glorious place for you and Erin to wander around and explore. Sounds like a place as close to heaven as a dog can get on earth, especially after she was released and allowed to run free. She probably was dreaming of chasing squirrels as she slept in the backseat!
    Enjoyed the trip with you and

  4. Debra, it was a peaceful beautiful place and I'm glad I shared it with Erin. She probably dreamed of squirrels and rabbits constantly :)

    Thank you for visiting and sharing in Erin's story!!

  5. The bucolic setting of this place remind me of B.C. I visited Germany a very long time ago and was reminded of home and how clean Germany is. Again, beautiful Photos to re-iterate your story David. I always feel the energy within the story..that playfullness between both you and Erin ever present..yet never too far from each other..always connected by some other worldly force. You were connected on a Soul level and it plays out in your Journeys together...Wow...another great story. I bet her feet were moving in the back seat...still running and exploring..exhausted from another day with Dad...

  6. These are places I will probably never see in person, so I thank you for bringing us along to enjoy the experience.

    Yes, she was an angel in fur. You were truly blessed, and so was she.


  7. @Raven I'm sure B.c is very similiar to Germany and Europe as a whole from the pics I've seen. You are correct about the cleanliness as Germans thrive to protect their natural resources unlike America :( We were connected in ways no one can ever imagine, we knew each others thoughts and actions before the other. You're correct about feet churning when sleeping, she often did that :) Thanks so much for visiting!!

    @Orea I'm glad I has the opportunity to travel as I did and Erin certainly enjoyed our excursions. My traveling days are probably over but I'm thankful for those exciting days. Thanks for your kind words and visiting my little blog. Take care!!

  8. Wonderful post, lovely pictures.

  9. Thank you Karen for the compliments and visiting my blog :)

  10. I loved the guided tour you gave us, along with the special moments with your fur kind that you shared. "You found Daddy!" just made me smile. I envy you your travels, I must say, and this is now on my list of places to visit in the not too distant future. I daresay that Erin placed her paw print of approval on this post. I grew up with an American Eskimo dog that, although he has been gone for 20 years now, frequently still makes his presence known, visiting me in dreams, or showing up for an invisible moment or two. Something tells me this happens with your Erin girl also. :)

    Love your work, David!

    ~ Dawn


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.