Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


31.7.08
  Harz Impressions

The Harz has some beautiful and even spectacular landscapes, from fir covered mountains and semi-Alpine meadows to charming little valleys with swift running rivers framed by birches, from windswept high mountains and cliffs to canyons with waterfalls and rivers whose brown waters gush over boulders in dangerous currents, singing louder than a Mahler symphony, from caves and abandoned mines to natural lakes, and reservoirs lying in silent beauty unmarred by boats. Not without reason has most of the Harz been declared a natural preserve, and the reservoirs are used to provide several towns with drinking water (hence the prohibition of any activity on the water).

Here are some impressions from my journey.

Cliffs at the Rosstrappe

The photos don't do them justice; you have to be there to see how steep those cliffs are and how far they go down into the Bode canyon. A place of myths and legends.

Bode river near Thale

That's one of the icy cold, very swift and wild ones. I found a place where I could get down to the shore, sit on a boulder and put me feet into the water. There's nothing better on a hot day. Well, save a cold beer.

Devils Wall (Teufelsmauer) near Blankenburg

It's a stone formation running over several miles like the giant version of an old Roman wall. The devil has been responsible for the messy look it has these days. *grin* He made a deal with God that all the land he could surround by a wall in one night would be his. Of course that didn't end well - it is a legend, after all - because an old granny who had bought a cock in a nearby town walked home to her little village at midnight, stumbled over a root (they are everywhere on the Harz pathes) and the cock got scared and started to cow. The devil thought it was already morning and smashed the wall in anger so that the boulders tumbled all over the place.

Teufelsmauer, ridge way

And that was the easy part of the way. The ridge path on the Devil's Wall is one of the most difficult I've ever walked, second only to Ben Nevis (and I didn't wear sandals there).

Thunderclouds gathering over Rappbode reservoir

The Rappbode reservoir is largest lake in the Harz and one of the technical wonders created by GDR engineers - a table on the wall says so. *grin* I think they kept that little piece of communist rhetorics for fun, or maybe nostalgia. There's a bit of that going on in the ex-eastern part of Germany.
 
Comments:
Man, I miss Europe. Sure, we have some beautiful countryside here in the US, but there are just some places that call to one's soul.

The Black Forest.
The Alps.
Castles and ruins.

My youth in Arcadia, indeed.
 
Library Rat, I can relate. I could not live anywhere but in the parts of Europe rich in history and beautiful landscape.
 
Wondeful scenery, and yes, putting one's feet into cold water on a hot day is pure bliss, apart from having a cold Heinikin.
 
Gorgeous scenery. What kind of rock is it? The gorge in the first picture looks a bit like limestone to me.
 
Carla, it's granite.

Lots of rain and lots of time made the cliffs into what they are now.
 
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Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK and Scandinavia.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.

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