A balmy winter day in the Wald (woods).
Breakfast was at 8am or so after which Christa left us to go home to Meckenheim.
Christa would spend Christmas Eve, tomorrow, there with her daughter Carmen, her son in law and Carmen's mother in law and then return to Kleinvillars on Christmas Day.
Roland had some business to take care of this Monday morning, just before Christmas, so we put our shoes on and went for a stroll around the village of Kleinvillars.
Well, of course we wandered further afield than what we initially intended as follows:
First a few pics from the village of Kleinvillars.
Then we turned off onto a country path that followed the local creek and looked nice. Of course we had no idea where it went but assumed all roads would link back to something we would recognize (and there are no distances between towns).
Ahhhhhhhh we love to go a wandering along a mountain track...
Hans was very very happy to be outdoors and hiking again.
About 3km down the road we found ourselves in a little village called Ruit.
From a distance it looked very cute with all the chimneys and wood fires, but up close Di found herself coughing a bit with all the smoke as the morning was very still, no breeze to clear out the valley. Still, we found Ruit charming.
Based on the Runkeeper map we knew from here we needed to veer right and then south to get back near Kleinvillars and headed out towards the main road. What a find...we struck a bike/hike "weg". There are several paths around here that allow people to cycle quite long distances between and around the region. Most paths seem to be paved and well used, not that we saw anybody.
From here it was just a short stroll home again. Lovely morning with 5km of walking making us feel a tiny bit better about all the food we've been eating.
Once home, a bit of admin and housekeeping called, like wrapping Christmas presents for the kids, taking down the dry clothes from the line after our washing the other day and helping Roland rummage through the paper and plastics recycling bin looking for a bag of presents that he may inadvertently have thrown out (no success though).
For lunch Roland cooked pancakes for the 3 of us - a photo below of our MasterChef at work.
After a nice lunch we headed out for an exploration of Kleinvillars and the surrounding area with the weather being so nice that outside was better than in.
But first a quick inspection of the inside of the infamous van belonging to Di's dad, Günter. The campervan actually looks really good inside and seems very comfortable.
Then out the back of the garden we started our walk, shown on a map below.
Our plan was to walk into the woods and towards Aalkistensee, a small lake that was once part of Maulbronn Monastry and is now a nature park
Along the way, we passed the local Kleinvillars cemetery and very told by Roland of the very sad time in 2001 when Roland's wife died young (aged 59) and was buried here and then 3 weeks later his mother died
It was a lovely cemetery and well cared for graves for both, with family here that remember them well and take care of them, including Roland and his daughters.
From here we wandered onto the track through the farm land with the woods on one side and paddocks on the other. The weather was fantastic and surprisingly warm making everything look fresh and lovely yesterday's rain, as you can see in the photos below.
The tree of life.
Along the route are a few viewing towers, for shooters and observers. Wild pigs are common targets here but deer can also be shot from time to time.
Hans was on the lookout, not that he has shot a gun since a refresher of military service in 1982.
This sign made us remember fondly that we are in a small country town, with nothing but tractors are allowed on this road.
Roland points out our route around the "See", and we will walk the full loop.
A reminder of our tour of the Maulbronn Monastry, with this hill growing Elfinger Wine.
Further along the trail for a bit muddy but no problem with our boots.
Hans and Roland were discussing sustainability of the forest balanced with the need for timber for fires. In this region they can only cut the same number of trees as they plant each year.
Looking down the hill towards the Aaltkistensee. Beautiful scenery and nice to be back in the hills.
Kleinvillars has origins dating back to the time of Waldenser, a Frenchman who read the bible for himself, realised the church was twisting the message, and took bible stories to villages in France (this area was a part of France then).
This map shows the route Waldenser took, which is now a path (Weg) you can follow. The Huguenots also came into this part of Germany, after being pushed out by Louis XIV of France.
A famous house in the village...the old Rathaus and school but the most famous resident...Roland. He was born in the room on the second floor in the corner closest to us.
This inscription of the original residents and the date the house was built was on a wall just near the room where Roland was born. We thought his name should have been added.
We were home just before 4pm, perfect time for coffee, followed by an hour of rest. A lovely afternoon and relaxing quieter evening followed, with a simple bread and salad dinner, just what we needed before the Christmas festivities start.
Lazy evening just the three of us including Roland, with a short appearance by Catherine, Roland's daughter. Finally a low key evening with not so much food and drink, we needed it. Good night.