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The Black Forest, Feldberg, Germany
Who knew that snow could fall so early? It’s been unseasonably cold in the southwest of Germany this time of year, but I did not expect to find myself in the middle of a snowfight.
In the mountains outside Freiburg, the unusually early blanket of frost has turned the Black Forest white. By the morning, the trees’ branches are supporting a healthy layer of snow.
As the sun crosses the sky, it all starts to melt. Trekking through the forest, it drips constantly onto my head.
The clouds are dry but it feels like it’s raining under this sky of heavy leaves.
Local Sabrina Roseler is guiding me along the track, towards a lake at the bottom where we’ll stop for lunch.
She’s patient as she waits for a million photographs to be taken along the way. I can’t help myself – there’s something about the snow, the way it catches the sun, the contrasts it forms against the tree trucks, and the sharpness of all the images containing it.
“It’s the beautiful moment when you know everything is going to calm down,” Sabrina tells me when I ask her about the snow.
“The plants are not growing anymore, everyone’s getting kind of in the winter sleep, so it’s all about silence and coming down. I love being out in the nature when you see the change between the seasons.”
We’ve started walking from the town of Feldberg, about 1200 metres above sea level. The town shares a name with the Feldberg mountain, which is looming above us. This is the highest peak in the Black Forest.
Feldberg is accessible from Freiburg, first by train and then by a short bus trip. Making my way through this region up to our agreed meeting point, I pass through little towns nestled between mountains.
This is not a remote area, as such, but it feels so isolated from Freiburg or any other large towns.
It’s a little world of its own amongst the dense foliage. And this is the little world that Sabrina grew up in.
“Growing up here you play in the woods all the time,” she says.
“You build your own little treehouses, and of course in winter you can just start skiing from your house. You don’t have to drive to a ski resort.”
It sounds like heaven for a nature-lover. Trekking through this region, I can see why you might never want to leave.
I’ve put together a few photos from my walk and I hope you can appreciate it too.