Apr 142013

This was quite seriously the first sunny day we have had here since October.  I have been so ready for spring I haven’t known what to do with myself.  Apparently everyone else was, too, because we noticed that everyone seemed to be out and about today!  Yesterday, the stores were open.  Things were a little bit warm, but also a little rainy.  I bought some plants to welcome Spring.  The local nurseries were over-run.  Local Germans want out of their houses as much as I do!

Spring Flowers

Flowers are sort of a bittersweet indulgence. They are a great pick me up and add beauty to a room. But, I know their life expectancy drops through the floor the moment I purchase them. My thumbs are perpetually black.

Today, was Sunday.  Almost nothing is open on Sundays.  BUT, zoos are open!  David found one we have never been to before about 45 minutes south of us in a little town called Waldkirch.  What the heck, let’s go!

Everyone seemed to acknowledge it was a gorgeous day for a ride.  Some opted for cars, many others bicycles.  Those with convertibles, converted!  The autobahn was full and folks were in the mood to drive fast.  Unfortunately, we still have our winter tires, so 100 kph was our limit.  David is off making the arrangements to switch back to summer tires as I type :)

Perfect day for a drive

Top down and everything!

We drove down to Waldkirch, which turns out to be a charming little town.  They had a sprawling SICK campus there.  That is actually a technology company here- they sponsored DS’s science fair last year.  But, the name is still pretty amusing. Waldkirch also has a lot of picturesque houses, a stream, the Elz river, a lot of wonderful Schwarzwald hiking paths, a ruined castle, and, of course, the teeny tiny wee bitty zoo.

Honestly, the zoo was a little disappointing- I have been to many a zoo and this one only barely qualifies.  They had quite a few owls, goats, llamas, alpacas, chickens, pigs, koi, ducks, swans and their most exotic offering, some coati (‘nose bears’ in German).  I think that is a complete list of their animal residents.  Many of the exhibits were simply empty, others made some humorous attempt to fill themselves with things like molded concrete dragon hatchlings probably bought at a local Home & garden store.  The place seems mainly designed as a location for parents to take their kids to tire them out.  It is entirely vertical in design, built into a hillside.  At the bottom is a park.  At the top is a petting zoo (goats only) and another park.  The space between exhibits is filled with long, winding, hilly paths.  We had exhausted its appeal in about 40 minutes.  But, were still glad we had made the trip.

At the base of the hill is a mini-lake with a Biergarten and ice cream stand- also some rentable paddleboats, though they were all in use when we were there.  There was a petite man with a hurdy-gurdy machine winding out toons- The theme from Godfather, the theme from Dr. Zhivago, and Guantanamera.  We grabbed an ice cream, watching folks splash in the lake, and then decided we might as well make a day of it and check out the Kastelburg Ruins. (see the next post)



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