Valborgsmässoafton abroad

Valborgsmässoafton, the day before the Walpurgis Night is a quite important feast in Sweden and uses to be celebrated with a big Bonfire.

Personally I connect the 30 April and the 1 May to last seasons snowfalls. It snowed on 1 May 2014, it snowed on 30 April 2015, so it didn’t surprised my that quite a lot of snow fell in Skelleftehamn today – round 5 – 10 cm.

But something was different this year.

I’m not in Skelleftehamn. Nor am I in Sweden. I’m about 2000 km south-southwest in Freiburg near the Black Forest.

I love mountains because you can look far and I love snow. After hesitating a bit – I can be quite lazy! – I picked myself up, packed some clothes, equipment and food, walked to the main station and took the train to High Black Forest to “climb” the Feldberg, Germany’s highest mountain outside of the Alps. The Feldberg has been already free of snow this spring, but the cold weather with high precipitation brought a lot of new snow to the mountain tops this week.

But today it promised to be warm and sunny.

Already from the train you could see some of these snow-covered tops and patches of snow everywhere, but the trees were green and many flowers were blooming. The same in Feldberg-Bärental, where I left the train and started my hike. The path itself was bare of snow, but the slopes beside the path were covered with wet snow.

Soon I arrived at the Feldsee, a lake formed by the last Ice Age. Here I made a short stop, drank some water, took some photos and continued up through the forests, where the path not only got much smaller, but much snowier as well.

I went up the snowy and slippery path through the forest and came first to a Hotel with a parking place. That’s exactly those things I don’t want to see, when I’m outdoors to enjoy nature. Anyway it was just a short interruption, now another way climbed uphills. I wasn’t alone at all and so many people had used the same way before me, that it was almost completely snowless.

Soon (but a bit out of puff; we don’t have mountains in Skelleftehamn) I approached the first top. Not the Feldberg but the Seebugg (1448 m). I guessed that the very top of the Feldberg itself would be quite crowded and took a rest between these two tops.

You see the rubber boots? Quite good for snow but too warm when not cooled by the snow. I put them off while resting right after having taken this photo.

But the Feldberg (1493 m) was near and I continued my tour on the broad snow-ploughed street-like way.

From the top I had several views.

First of all I saw many other people. Then the snow covered slopes other white mountains nearby. Behind them the green springlike lowlands.

And far away in the south I could recognise the faint snow covered mountains of Switzerland, some of them are almost three times as high as the Feldberg!

Many people had sneakers on or flat shoes, but down jackets that I considered much too warm. Since I had left the forest I only had a t-shirt on because I found it really warm, even on the top. On the other side I was probably the only one with rubber boots on today. They belong to my usual baggage, while mountain boots don’t. Anyway the rubber boots have one advantage when combined with a waterproof camera. You can make pictures like these:

You might have guessed it. This photo was taken at/in the Feldsee not on the Feldberg.

The descent was quite unspectacular and much shorter, since I took another way. A bus brought me back to the very same train station were I’d started the tour four hours ago.

Travel remainders

This article is part of the series “2018-03: Varanger peninsula”.

Some unpublished photos from my winter journey. I want to show them as long it is still wintry here.

2 February – Jokkmokk

While the grown-up huskies are doing their job the puppies have to wait in the trailer. I guess it is very boring for them. There are curious and seek contact.

21 February – Kirkenes

While Chris, Annika, Ørjan and I are enjoying the gorgeous breakfast in the hotel Thon an asian tourist is waiting outside. She seems to be well protected against the elements but why has the fur to be pink …?

1 Mars – Ekkerøy

On the way to Kiberg Annika and I make a stopover in Ekkerøy where we enjoy a beach walk. Here we meet H. who invites us to visit her. We will make that true some days later. I take a photo of Annika’s and H.’s footwear. Tradition, meet modern world.

1 Mars – Ytre Kiberg

Cape East Arctic Adventure, our stay lies directly at the beach. I could spend weeks with only watching the tides and the changing weather.

4 Mars – Ytre Kiberg

There’s hardly any commercial fishing left in the small former fisher villages and the large drying racks for drying cod remain empty. Some people however still dry cod for personal usage.

5 Mars – Ytre Kiberg

A view through the window of Cape East Arctic Adventure. Today we will continue our journey.

10 Mars – Berlevåg

We hardly have the time to explore Berlevåg, we only buy food. Two images of Berlevåg anyway. Just for the records …

11 Mars – Kjølnes Fyr

This snowstorm shaken rocky shore appears more arctic than many other places of this journey.

14 Mars – Hurtigruten, near Øksfjord

A woman has found a wind protected place and watches the Norwegian winter landscape.

16 Mars – Saltstraumen

On our long car trip back from Ørnes to Skelleftehamn we pass Saltstraumen, a small strait with one of the strongest tidal currents in the world. We are too early to see the strongest maelstroms and I’m too eager to continue home. It’s still 500 km to drive.

Now I finally can erase my “later” folder on the computer.