Seduced By A Sign


I wrote this piece more than a year ago, shortly after we arrived in Germany. I planned on using it then, but there was something else scheduled the day after I wrote it, then I switched phones. It has languished on the old phone, and might still be there if I hadn’t had to turn it on to look up a Canadian phone number.

I’m a sucker for historic sites, and the sign made it look easy.

We were out for a walk in the Black Forest. Nothing strenuous you understand, just a Sunday afternoon stroll. We’d already hiked about a half-kilometre uphill when we came to the signs for the ruins.IMG_20171008_114457

So we abandoned our plans to head to Muggart, figuring that on a Sunday afternoon there would be nothing open. (Local legend has it that Muggart avoided the Second World War, there was a dirt road and the government didn’t know anyone lived down it. I don’t buy that, but it is a cute story.) The ruins were supposedly closer anyway.

You can take many different paths through the Black Forest to end at the same destination. Somehow we took the wrong one.

At the outset there were two signs for the ruins, which should have been either 1.2 or 1.8 kilometres away. After walking for more than  half an hour (uphill of course) we came to another sign telling us the ruins were  a further 1.8 kilometres away. At that point, what do you do?IMG_20171008_110203

We decided to press onward and upward. It seemed like the walk would last forever. Eventually we came to our destination. It felt like the short walk had been at least 10 kilometres.

The ruins themselves were modest, and there was a nice view of the countryside from the remains of the tower. There was also a plaque explaining that the building has been uninhabited since 1540, when, one night, eight people were murdered while they slept. That crime remains unsolved (and somehow I doubt it is still a priority for local police).

There were the remains of logs in the firepit. I suspect a rite of passage for local teenagers is to spend a night on the site. I’m presuming there are some ghost stories or similar legends surrounding the ruins.IMG_20171008_110720 (1)

I’ve been trying to get my wife to return, this time by what we hope will be a shorter route. It will still be straight up the side of the hill though, so she isn’t too keen on repeating the experience.

There are probably thousands of trails through the Black Forest – and you never know what you will discover when you ramble down one.



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