Black forest, autumn colour

In October with leaves falling everywhere we went south to Basel and the Schwarzwald. It turned out to be a good region to look at colours in nature, as the following mini-series of ’photos is meant to illustrate. We spent two days exploring the Altstadt and the Rhine region on the Swiss-German border before hopping a northbound train to Freiburg-im-Breisgau.

By the second half of October the Christmas machine is starting to swing into action in the commercial districts. There’s a shop in the centre of Basel stocking all you need for the festivities. My translation of the business description is: ”special Christmas tree decoration supply company” (six words instead of one…).

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Many houses in the city are decorated with colourful pictures of people together with short slogans or names. It was fun to spot the writing on the walls. I particularly liked the cherry tree painted on the facade of a block close to where we stayed. At a clothing store next door the owner celebrated new designs by offering snacks and wine to the customers: that we liked too!

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An attractive feature of the region is the many fountains and springs. In Basel there are lots of small squares and backstreets where the water bubbles quietly…

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On arrival in Freiburg we bought tickets for the extensive regional public transport. The highlight is Germany’s longest cable car, the Schauinsland, a twenty-minute ride climbing to almost 1300 metres. But we were unlucky; there was thick fog that defeated the sun’s efforts at the top so we couldn’t see the panoramic vistas towards the Alps and the Vosges.

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Titisee is a Black Forest resort about forty kilometres east of Freiburg. We took the train, which winds through a steep sided valley dotted with Alpine style farmhouses. Then we walked from the village on a path sloping upwards through the forest, hoping to see mountain goats or wild boar or maybe both…

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The second half of our walk was along the lakeside. The sun was shining and the colours were extraordinary. In the autumn the Black Forest isn’t black but green, gold, red and yellow.

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Not far from a little jetty some tall trees grew from the water’s edge. I had to look twice before I could believe the colour and that the tree was real. It seemed artificial, but wasn’t.

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On the last day of our trip we visited a couple of Freiburg museums: the Augustiner where impressive statues, gargoyles and paintings from the Cathedral are on display; and the contemporary art museum exhibiting paintings and woodcuts by an impressionist named Hermann Scherer. Then we stepped into the Münster to see the stained glass windows.

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Fantastic colours, but I wonder what the socks signify?

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