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Posts Tagged ‘Black Forest’

And after April,when May follows,

And the whitethroat builds,

And all the swallows!

(Robert Browning)

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 Zeitgeistlyrik: The Schwarzwald in May (Satis Shroff)

 

Ah, the Black Forest,

Whether you’re in Triberg

Or in Feldberg,

The smell of the lush green grass,

After the April showers,

In the gentle glaciated meadows,

Where the calves and cows

Are grazing peacefully with horses.

 

Now and then you discern a moo,

Like an Alpine horn,

In the tranquil landscape.

Along the gushing brooks,

The toads and frogs greet you,

With their croaks.

The Spring begins blossom for blossom.

May, the merriest month,

When lusty hearts begin to blossom.

Ah, it’s the sunshine,

The fresh air and the hormones released.

 

 

 

Apple-trees in bloom,

And daffodils flourishing

Alongside wild grass.

The leaves flapping like wings,

As the Höllentäler blows.

 

I sit in my Schwarzwald terrace,

 With its stone walls,

Hares and birds around me.

As I sip my morning coffee,

A brown squirrel dashes past,

For he’s the new inhabitant

In a blackbird’s nest,

And lives on freshly hatched eggs.

 

A one-legged blackbird comes by,

Hopping on one leg,

Only to fly away clumsily.

 The brown squirrel isn’t

The only nest-plunderer,

The beautiful feathered jay

Is fond of it too.

 

Hovering above are

A pair of Mäusebuzzards,

Scanning and scrutunizing

The Black Forest and meadows below,

Searching for even

The faintest movements,

Of mice in the fields.

 

Above the terrace is a palisade

Of dark pine trees,

With a clearing below the slope.

A solitary deer comes by,

Stoops, relishes, chews and swallows

The wild berries and buds.

The deer is used to humans.

An old, fat fox appears occasionally,

His mouth waters when he espies

The rabbits in thick fur,

On a sunny day in May.

There are humans around,

Perhaps another time,

Thinks the fox and vanishes

In the undergrowth.

 

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Health Region Freiburg: Feel Your Own Health (Satis Shroff)
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Die „HealthRegion Freiburg“ präsentiert sich erstmals auf der „fit for life.“ Die von führenden Einrichtungen aus Gesundheitswirtschaft und Tourismus gemeinsam getragene Initiative „HealthRegion Freiburg“ wird auf der „fit for life“, die im Rahmen der cft auf der Messe Freiburg stattfindet, vom 09. bis 10. März erstmals die Kompetenzen der Gesundheitsregion Freiburg einem breiten Publikum präsentieren. Dem interessierten Besucher bietet der Gemeinschaftsstand die Möglichkeit, sich aus erster Hand über die zahlreichen Angebote und Dienstleistungen der Partner zu informieren. Ergänzt wird das Informationsangebot durch kos-tenlose Gesundheits- und Vorsorgechecks, Demonstrationen und interessante Beiträge im begleitenden Vortragsprogramm. 

Auf dem 150 m² großen Gemeinschaftsstand, werden neben dem zentralen Infostand der „HealthRegion“ mit dem Universi-tätsklinikum Freiburg, dem Universitäts-Herzzentrum Freiburg-Bad Krozingen, dem RKK Klinikum, dem Zentrum für Ganzheit-liche Medizin Dres. Karner, dem Gesundheitsresort Freiburg, der Theresienklinik Bad Krozingen, dem Labordienstleister MVZ Clotten sowie dem PACs Verlag aus Staufen auch renommierte Einzelaussteller vertreten sein. Das Angebotsspektrum reicht von der erfolgreichen Therapie mit integrierten Angeboten über Rehabilitation bis hin zu Präventionsprogrammen für Privatper-sonen und Unternehmen. „Die Premiere dient interessierten Besucherinnen und Besuchern aus Deutschland, Frankreich und der Schweiz als regionales Schaufenster. Hier können sie sich aus erster Hand über individuelle Angebote zur Erhaltung und Wiederherstellung der persönlichen Lebensqualität und Leistungsfähigkeit informieren“, erläutert Bernd Dallmann, Vor-sitzender des Vereins HealthRegion Freiburg e.V. 

Thematisch im Vordergrund stehen die Themen Herz-Kreislauferkrankungen, Arthrose und Osteoporose, Minimal-Invasive Neurochirurgie, Ganzheitliche Medizin, Rücken-gesundheit, Medical Fitness, Betriebliches Gesundheitsma-nagement, Medical Wellness & Beauty sowie orthopädische und kardiologische Rehabilitation. 
Von den angebotenen Aktionen findet sich inhaltlich vieles in den begleitenden Vorträgen wieder: Von Bewegungstherapien zu Themen wie „Schmerzfrei: Natürlich!“ und „Rückenschmerzen ganzheitlich behandeln“ über den Check der Gleichge-wichtsfähigkeit am Posturomed bis zu Medical Wellness-Aktionen und Untersuchungsangeboten. Die Vorträge reichen von „Erfolgreiche Therapie bei Arthrose“ und „Behandlung von Wirbelsäulenerkrankungen: Neue Entwicklungen in der minimal invasiven Wirbelsäulenchirurgie“ über „Die Bauchspeicheldrüse – das vergessene Organ“ bis zu „Aktiv und gesund trotz Zucker-krankheit – Optimale Behandlung des Diabetes mellitus“ und „Den Arzt in der Westentasche -Diagnose und Therapie via Handy und Internet“. 

Der Verein HealthRegion Freiburg e.V. begleitet und ergänzt die Aktivitäten der für drei Jahre aus Mitteln des Europäischen Fonds für Regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) geförderten Cluster-initiative „Healthcare & Economy – Region of Competence Freiburg“. Ziel ist es, die Innovationsstärke und die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der Region Freiburg in den Bereichen Gesundheitswirtschaft und Tourismus nachhaltig stärken und die landesweit geförderte Clusterinitiative HealthRegion F

Invasive Neurochirurgie, Ganzheitliche Medizin, Rücken-gesundheit, Medical Fitness, Betriebliches Gesundheitsma-nagement, Medical Wellness & Beauty sowie orthopädische und kardiologische Rehabilitation. 

Von den angebotenen Aktionen findet sich inhaltlich vieles in den begleitenden Vorträgen wieder: Von Bewegungstherapien zu Themen wie „Schmerzfrei: Natürlich!“ und „Rückenschmer-zen ganzheitlich behandeln“ über den Check der Gleichge-wichtsfähigkeit am Posturomed bis zu Medical Wellness-Aktionen und Untersuchungsangeboten. Die Vorträge reichen von „Erfolgreiche Therapie bei Arthrose“ und „Behandlung von Wirbelsäulenerkrankungen: Neue Entwicklungen in der minimal invasiven Wirbelsäulenchirurgie“ über „Die Bauchspeicheldrüse – das vergessene Organ“ bis zu „Aktiv und gesund trotz Zucker-krankheit – Optimale Behandlung des Diabetes mellitus“ und „Den Arzt in der Westentasche -Diagnose und Therapie via Handy und Internet“.

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(The author in Berlin’s War Memorials..)

 

SVETLANA GEIER: The Woman Who Understood Dostoyevsky (Satis Shroff)

 

Svetlana Michailowna Iwanowa was born in 1923 in Kiew. She came to Germany in 1943 with her mother and was awarded an Alexander von Humbolt scholarship. She did German studies and Comparative Language Sciences at the University of Freiburg.

 

Svetlana married a violinist Christmut Geier and gave birth to two children. She did her first literary translation in 1953, a tale written by Leonid Andrejew. She gave lectures at the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg to acquire a regular income and gained a reputation as the legendary translator of all the great works of Fydor Dostoyevsky.

 

The Russian writer liked reading all of Walter Scott and even recommended the father of a girl on August 18, 1880 to allow his daughter to read all of Dickens without any exception. Dostoyevsky also recommended that the girl should read Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev and Goncharov.

 

Back to Svetlana Geier, the octogenarian lady who lived in Freiburg, and who internalised the great works of Dostoyevsky and who had a special way with the language so that the essence of what was written by the great Russian writer was not lost in translation from Russian into German. She had the ability to delve into Dostoyevsky’s innermost thoughts and question the relationship between the means and end in matters pertaining to the writer’s works and Russia in those days where freedom was a crucial issue.

 

‘Who am I?’ is the central urge of all the characters in the writings of Dostoyevsky. Much like the great Russian writer’s protagonists, we have to ask ourselves: who was this woman, how was her life and her works? For people who are interested in knowing more about Svetlana Geier, there’s a 94-minute German-Swiss documentary DVD written and directed by Vadim Jendreyko released in 2004. You can read Dostoyevsky (hardback) in German translation by Svetlana Geier published by Amman Verlag (Zürich). The paperback version has been published by S.Fischer Verlag (Frankfurt am Main).

 

Svetlana was an active mediator between Russian and German literature, and she translated Dostoyevsky’s five big novels big novels which she fondly called ‘the five elephants’, which were the milestones in her literary career.

 

Among the most famous works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky Crime and Punishment has a stellar position and the author was a contemporary of Charles Dickens. Crime and Punishment was first published in 1866 in a periodical named Russkii Vestnik. Other titles are: Notes from the Underground, The Idiot, The Devils and The Brothers Karamazov. In Crime and Punishment

an ex-student Raskolinikov  lives in poverty and chaos and eventually kills an elderly woman, a pawnbroker, and her sister. He believes that he has devised the perfect crime. A wonderful psychological novel about Raskolnikov’s psyche. Dostoyevsky shows how a person is formed by his mind and his thoughts.

 

For Svetlana Geier, her world became Dostoyevsky and she started translating his works at the age of 65. She was fascinated by the fast rhythm of Crime and Punishment and the author’s message to the reader. An act of aggression can be swift but life trudges on gradually. According to Svetlana, the correct German translation of Crime and Punishment should have been ‘Verbrechen und Strafe’ and not Schuld und Sühne. The English translation of the title is thus appropriate because the Russian words ‘presluplenije’ and ‘nakasanije’ mean exactly the same as in the English title.

 

A language has to be spoken and is not confined to a piece of paper, according to Svetlana in a Spiegel-interview carried out by Claudia Voigt. That’s why she always dictated her translations, because all thoughts have their origin in the recesses of the mind. In Creative Writing, we also say: read your poems and texts aloud. When you hear the spoken word you know whether there’s rhythm, style and beauty in the text you’ve brought to paper or recorder.

 

Dostoyevsky had used the word ‘suddenly’ (Russian: wdrug) very often in his Russian texts. The word suddenly suggests a turn of event, something’s happening and this is an action and device which moves the story forward.

 

The translation work of Svetlana Geier shows a great sensitive knowledge of language and her respect for the author is immense and she took pains to capture and translate the right spirit of the author’s work and the quintessence of author. She was also conscious of the fact that every translation remains an attempt to reach the absolute, which in turn is slippery as mercury. In this context, I think about Michael Hutt’s translation of Nepalese literature, as well as my experience with two other German translators in Freiburg. When you’re translating you can’t get into the psyche of the writer, what moved him or her at that moment in time and life. We can’t experience the circumstances the writers lived in. We can only imagine it and the question is: is your imagination precise? Dostoyevsky for instance possessed little money and often had no candles for work at night and sat hungry. And yet what he wrote was world literature about his country, politics, economy, characters and their innermost thoughts. Time also influences the choice of words that an author uses and even the language changes with the passage of time.

 

‘When you translate, you have to keep your nose high,’ was her teacher’s admonition to her when Svetlana was at school. You don’t translate from left to right, like the flow of the language, but the way you’ve read the sentence. It has to reach your heart. When she reads a  Dostoyevsky  text a day comes when she hears the melody of the text. To translate the works of the Russian literary giant, she studied his manuscripts and travelled to the original places described in the novels in order to understand the Geography and learn to see through the eyes of the author. Goethe also held the same view and said if you want to understand a poet’s verse, you have to visit his country. She was a painstaking translator of words, sentences, books, even searching for what lay beyond the written words.

 

Although she lived in Green City Freiburg and had seven grandchildren and 10 great-grand children, cooked for them and loved them, she had what we call a Russian soul (russische Seele) and the legendary Russian spirit. Her life was overshadowed by Europe’s fickle history and her fate was extraordinary. She worked as a translator during the occupation of Ukraine, and in 1943 she and her mother were interned in a work-camp in Dortmund (Germany). Later she studied, raised a family and began to translate Russian literature into German. She lectured for 40 years in different universities. Svetlana passed away last year.

 

 

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LINDENBERG (Satis Shroff)

 

Lindenberg is a serene and tranquil 700m hilltop nestled between the Black Forest and the Rhine Valley. From the hilltop you can overlook the Rhine Valley, the Kaiserstuhl and even the Vosges Mountains in Alsace (France). It got its name from a big birch tree which grew on the hill (‘linde’ means birch).

 

Since 500 years the name Lindenberg is associated with a place where you can pray, light a candle, think about life and be at peace with yourself in the quiet surroundings. Birch and pine trees that tower above you giving you a sense of reassurance. Nearby is a chapel dedicated to Maria Lindenberg which a spiritual haven for people who want to do a retreat and meditate. The view from Maria Lindenberg is lovely for a see the blue surrounding mountains and the valleys and spurs in-between with their picturesque Schwarzwald hamlets, each built around a church. From the spacious Lindenberg chapel you peer over the Iben Valley below and the hilly panorama of the Black Forest.

 

From Lindenberg you can make excursions into the High Schwarzwald to such trekking destinations such as the 1493m Feldberg, the highest hill of the Black Forest, the 1284m Schauinsland and the 1241m Kandel. Around Lindenberg there are small walking trails that lead you to St. Peter, St. Märgen (please read the author’s article on ‘Rossfest’) or the township of Kirchzarten. The  peaceful Schwarzwald and the green meadows invite you to undertake walks in the countryside and picnic or visit the many taverns and inns called ‘Gaststätte’ strewn  in the Black Forest. If you want to see more than the Black Forest, you can always head for nearby Freiburg and the neighbouring countries of the three-country triangle with towns like Basle (Switzerland), Colmar and Strassbourg (France). If you don’t want to drive all the time during your sojourn in this part of Europe and enjoy the landscape of sweet little town, fat cows, goats and sheep grazing in the lush green meadows, the quaint Schwarzwald homesteads decorated along the balconies and window-sills with colourful geraniums, then I’d advise you to take a bus or the bahn (railway).

 

Much like Lourdes, the Maria Lindenberg chapel was constructed in 1498 after Maria appeared in a vision and has been an attraction for pilgrims seeking divine help and strength. It also reminded me of Mariahilf in Morschach (Central Switzerland) with its picturesque and serene surroundings near the lakes of the four cantons. You can observe an old ‘Bildstock,’ which is a part of a tree sculptured like a tall house and a picture of the shepherd-boy and the apparition of Mary.

 

Once upon a time a farmer named Pantaleon Mayer, who lived in the Lower Iben Valley, was losing his stock of cattle through disease. A knowing person is said to have told him to erect a picture of Maria on a wooden pillar. He had it made and the cow disease disappeared.

 

Shortly thereafter the farmer’s sheperd-boy had a vision: Maria had spoken to him and told him to have a chapel constructed in the holy place on top of the Lindenberg which belonged to the Galli homestead. Another story related to Lindenberg has it that an old farmer named Hans Zähringer was treated badly and molested by his own family, and became almost blind. In his helpless situation he sought solace on the birch hill. In a vision he cut a small cross out of wood and requested farmer Pantaleon Mayer that he should extend the chapel and complete it. Farmer Mayer fulfilled this wish and built a chapel out of stone. This has been documented between 1486 till 1515. In the archive of cloister St. Peter, the farmer carries the name ‘Bantle Meyer.’

 

Lindenberg’s reputation among the people grew and the pilgrims came in great numbers. Then came the Farmers’ War (Bauernkrieg) in 1525, during which the pilgrims were cursed and ridiculed and the Lindenberg was regarded as a place of idolatry, heathen and pagan deity. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of evidence left by the people, in the form of votive boards, whose prayers have been heard and answered by Mother Maria in many difficult and emergency cases. In the old days there were only footpaths leading to this place of pilgrimage. Now you can drive comfortably to the top of Lindenberg and get home in time for your coffee with the Schwarzwäldertorte or cheese cake (Käsetorte).

 

It’s saddening to note that a cultural war (Kulturkampf) ensued and the nuns who ran the Lindenberg cloister were banished in 1869 on a cold, wintry day. Kulturekampf is the war waged by the Catholic church for more freedom and independence that was threatened by the state which mixed in clerical matters.

 

In the pilgrim’s chapel hangs a board showing the engraved names of sixteen priests who were killed during the Third Reich (1933-1945) and whose only sin was that they prayed to God. Some were executed and others deported to concentration camps and gassed with Zyklon B, a nerve gas. There’s a book about these stories written by Richard Zahlten bearing the title ‘Die Ermordeten’ (The Murdered).

 

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The Männergesangsverein Kappel with their standard

THE KAPPEL CHRONICLE (Satis Shroff, Kappel-Schwarzwald)

Lambert Weis: Whisper Words of Hope

It was a bright sunny day on the 6th of July 2010 and you could hear the birds chirping merrily in the adjacent birch and oak trees. We, the men of the Männergesangsverein were attending the funeral of Lambert Weis who was born in 23rd of August 1920. Almost ninety years and the picture above shows the house where he grew up as a child.

It was a funeral in the presence of the community in Kappel where he lived. His wife had preceded him fifteen years earlier. Ach, the suffering of this world, the darkness that befalls death. A life that death cannot tear away.

Lambert Weis had a special relationship to the Männergesangsverein where he was an active member for fifty years. We all knew him as an amiable, bespectacled man, who used to go around Kappel wearing his schieber-cap and a wandering stick, with emblems as reminders of the places he’d been to with his dear wife. It is in such times, when a soul departs that we think of the friendliness and sympathetic behaviour of the departed, and the signs of love a person has left behind. Such was the case of Lambert Weis, who died on the 29th of June 2010, who had a fall and succumbed to his internal injuries.

The paths are abandoned and we’re alone in these grey lanes, where no one comes.

Bless us Great Mother every day. Bless all hearts and every hut and town where people live. Spread your holy hands and whisper words of hope in his mouth. Blessings in death and dying, and in the life we’re living.

The ceremony began with a song ‘Wir sind nur Gast auf Erde’, that is, we’re only guests on this earth—sung together by all present at the St.Peter and Paul. Then followed ‘Sanctus’ and ‘Agnus Dei’ from the Deutsche Messe (Franz Schubert) sung by the colleagues of Lambert Weis from the Männergesangsverein (men’s choir) ‘Liederkranz.’

When Lambert Weis came from the last World War II, where he was detained as a prisoner of war, and had lost his index finger, he looked frail and had a haggard expression on his face. He knew what it was to be hungry during, and especially after the krieg. There were a lot of difficulties to be overcome and quite a few people in the Kappeler community thought out loud and said he wouldn’t survive. But Herr Weis showed them all that he was made of sterner stuff and outlived a lot of his colleagues. He built a home after what had been a long journey towards the end of the war and thereafter.

Due to the Second World War the activities of the men’s choir were reduced and almost came to a stop because most of the able-bodied men from the bergwerk and the Black Forest farmsteads had to do work as soldiers under the Wehrmacht in different fronts. They were replaced by prisoners-of-war from Poland,Later France, Russia and the Ukraine. Since there were very few men left, the men’s choir came closer with Littenweiler’s ‘Frohsinn’ and Herr Weiss was the conductor then. World War II brough a heavy loss to the Männergesangsverein because seven singers didn’t return. It was August Dold who brought the old and young singers together in 1946.

The new men’s choir ‘Liederkranz,’ which means a wreath of flowers, was founded on July 13,1947 after the then French government gave permission to the men to sing officially. The first chairman was Pius Trescher, who held his office till 1959. After that Herr Weiss, a senior school teacher, took over with twenty-four active and 67 passive members.

Comradeship and socialising together have always been important to the men’s choir, and excursions were undertaken together to the different towns and hamlets and the neighbouring countries: France, Switzerland and Austria.

The 16th and 17th of July 1950 was a special day for the men’s choir flag inauguration, and it began with a festival mass and honouring of the dead. And in the afternoon there was a big procession with the Kappeler verein. The people rejoiced and it took on the character of a folks-festival. On the following Monday there was the children’s and family-festival.

After the choir had sung the Grablied and the priest had sprinkled the holy water and bestowed a small spade of earth and spoken the words ‘from dust to dust and ashes to ashes,’ it was the turn of the men’s choir to do the same. Richard Lindner, the standard bearer of the Männergesangsverein, lowered the decorative flag of the verein into the open grave and marched out in two in their blue and black uniforms, after having spoken words of condolence to the sons and their wives of the deceased, waiting below the arcade to the graveyard.

He was a loveable person and that is why his love shall remain in the places and the hearts of those who knew him, for love goes beyond death. What remains is something eternal and becomes a part of eternity.

The epitaph goes thus:

Wenn die

Kraft

Zu Ende

Geht,

ist die

Erlösung

Gnade.

Autor Biographie

Satis Shroff ist Dozent, Schriftsteller, Dichter und Kunstler und außerdem Lehrbeauftragter für Creative Writing an der Albert Ludwigs Universität Freiburg.  Satis Shroff lebt in Freiburg-Kappel (poems, fiction, non-fiction) und schreibt über ökologische, medizin-ethnologische und kultur-ethnische Themen. Er hat Zoologie und Botanik in Nepal, Sozialarbeit und Medizin in Freiburg und Creative Writing in Freiburg und UK studiert. Da Literatur eine der wichtigsten Wege ist, um die Kulturen kennenzulernen, hat er sein Leben dem Kreatives Schreiben gewidmet. Er arbeitet als Dozent in Basel (Schweiz) und in Deutschland an der  Akademie für medizinische Berufe (Uniklinik Freiburg). Ihm wurde der DAAD-Preis verliehen.

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OBERRIED: Schwarzwälder Torte, Speck and Sausages (Satis Shroff)

Oberried is a wellness place, tucked away on the highest Black Forest mountains. From here you can trek to Feldberg and Schauinsland. There’s a church with a big, the Heimatmuseum called ‘Schniederlihof’, the mountain museum Schauinsland and for young and elderly the amusement park Steinwasen located on a hillside. The reason I went there with my friend Klaus Sütterle was to pay the local butcher Peter Reichenbach in his Metzgerei.

It was a short drive past beautiful Foret Noir scenery. Up there it was still winter and there was snow all over the slopes, spurs, hills and rooftops of the Black Forest farmsteads. The vegetation in this area Dreisam Valley is subalpine and you see numerous ski-lifts, ski tracks and trekking trails paved by a bulldozer on the mantle of snow covering the Black Forest.

Peter Reichenbach is a stocky guy with a moustache, short hair and an excellent sense of Schwarzwälder humour. He had two ladies working with him. In Germany you are allowed to open a butchery only if you possess the Meisterbrief, which is a certificate hat you receive after a strict exam. You have to work as an apprentice under such a master and then are allowed to take the Meister examination. The two ladies didn’t have any ambitions of doing the Meisterprüfung, as exam are called in German. Germany has a dual system of education and the brighter ones are allowed to attend the Gymnasium after the fourth class, where you can do final exams that are equivalent to the General Certificate of Education ‘A’ level in the UK and the Bacculaureate in France. The others can take up a profession after the tenth class in a Hauptschule or a Realschule. So the German society still sorts out the best scholars early and the parents sit with their children and help them with their homework or if they don’t have time they send their charges to institutes specialised in doing homeworks for the kids.

Since the biting Black Forest wind was still howling outside the Metzgerei, the metal door had to be closed shut if, and when, someone came in or went out.  You could instantaneously discern the aromatic smell of the scores of sausages hanging from the low ceiling: blood sausages, liver sausages, speck and schinken, the famous Schwarzwälder speck, chicken, geese and other dairy products. In England you hear that Germans don’t laugh or don’t crack jokes. But here you could see and hear them laughing and working with their clients. And Klaus, my laughing, good humoured companion, seems to know almost all the people in Oberried, Buchenbach, Kappel and Kirchzarten. He grew up here, you know, and is actually an IT-specialist and also the chairman of the MGV Kappel where we sing together as second tenors.

He who knows the Black Forest also knows the famous speciality: Schwarzwälder Schinken. And Peter Reichenbach smokes his own Black Forest speck according to an old recipe handed down to his father from his grandpa. The Schwarzwälder aren’t a tall folk and are similar in stature to the Nepalese from the hills. The pork speck and wine from the areas are traditional dishes. The speck has to be cut in very thin slices and eaten with fresh Bauernbrot, which is a big round bread smeared with Black Forest butter. A jug of the Schwarzwälder milk and you’re ready to do the day’s work. Ah, the wonderful smell of speck with the aroma of elderberry. There’s also an elderberry-wine. The speck belongs to the staple food of the farmers since centuries. The longer the pork speck is smokes in the Black Forest homesteads, the more it loses its water content and becomes harder and more intensive. That’s the reason why you have to cut it in extremely thin slices. Peter Reichenbach’s motto and logo is: Gut zu wissen, wo’s herkommt. He’s absolutely right. It’s good to know where it comes from in these days of adultration where people only want to make fast money.

Easter falls normally in the month of March, which is actually a Roman month named after Martius in Latin. In olde Rome it was named after the God of War: Mars, and it had 31 days and was the first month of the Roman calendar. In the Holy Week (Passion) it was  a religious tradition to eat a ‘green’ meal. Green cabbage and nettle (Nepali: sisnu) with cress and hop. As an alternative the Swabians still cook dumplings filled with minced vegetables called ‘Maulschellen’ to remind the people of the slap in the face that Jesus received from Caiphas.

We bade Peter Reichenbach and his team adieu and drove down the scenic landscape to a local conditor. If you like cakes and coffee you ought to try the Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, a sumptuous cake decorated with cherries, cream and almost immersed in the excellent and fiery Kirschwasser schnaps. It’s not for small children, you know, with all that schnaps. It is thought that the torte came from Switzerland, although with biscuits, cherries and nuts, combined with cream. The Schwarzwälder Torte sold by the Swiss chain Migros has a generous portion of chocolate. In 1915  the confectioner Joseph Keller of the prominent Café Agner in Bad Godesberg, near Bonn, said he’d created the torte. But there’s no proof of it. It was mentioned for the first time in 1934 by J.M.Erich Weber (Dresden) in his book: ‘250 Confectionery Specialities and How they are Made.’ In those days this speciality was offered in big German, Austrian and Swiss cities. After 1945 the Black Forest Torte became the most popular cake in Germany and is relished in all parts of the world.

Guten Appetit! And welcome to the Black Forest.

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