Baden Baden, Germany – August 2015
Jo & I started our day with a hike through the legendary Black Forest a few miles outside of Baden Baden. A thick mist hovering over the trail added to the spooky feel, drumming up visions of witches and wolves – the stuff of Grimm’s tales. We walked along a soggy trail, skirting past orange slugs, dense moss, velvety lichens, and vines growing skyward like ancient trees.
A mile or so into the hike, a huge castle rose out of the mist. Called Hohenbaden (Old Castle Altes Schloss), the fortress was built along a crest in the 12th century. An addition was added in the 14th century, but the castle fell into ruin after a fire in the 16th century.
In one section of the ruins, we discovered a surprise – a huge wind harp installed in a window. Wind harps transform gusts of wind into sounds. The stronger the wind, the higher and more resonant the sound. According to a sign posted nearby, the Baden Baden wind harp – with 120 strings and 13 ft. tall – is currently the biggest wind harp in Europe.
Jo keeps a journal where she faithfully charts each day of our travels. Her entry aptly describes our experience:
“We saw rooms for sleeping, an area that looks like a jail, climbed 203 steps to get to the top, and while thinking the top was just around the corner kept going and going. The view was quite remarkable. It’s hard to believe that something like this exists, standing the test of time over all these years…so impressive, it’s really hard to find words.”