I take a trip to Pforzheim today but walk the long route down to the local train station. It's a steep zigzag descent through shoulder high ferns that have overgrown the pathway, having rarely been used since the lock down. On the plus side, when I reach the forest track much of the grass verges have been left uncut so there are plenty of wildflowers and butterflies.
Once I reach the edge of the town my route takes me through the 'kurpark', a sort of wellness park of paths and benches for the elderly and patients recovering from operations. On the train, which follows the picturesque Enztal (Enz valley), it is much like any normal day, other than people wearing masks.
I have no particular reason for visiting Pforzheim other than having a day out and I notice that the train ride feels more like an amusement ride, in contrast to normally when I am taking the train to do something specific and the journey is then something to be endured. This demonstrates how living in the moment changes perception. The journey to Pforzheim only takes just over half an hour and when we arrive everyone tumbles out into the hot air and bright sunshine.
I visit Karstadt to buy some plastic pastry rings with the crinkly edges before walking down to the river. However I cannot find any and while I am reeling at the Le Creuset (cast iron Dutch oven) prices, a shop assistant asks if she can help. 'I am just looking', I say but decide to ask her if they have any pastry rings. They are not easy to describe in German but she soon gets what I mean. She announces, 'Oh we don't sell those in GERMANY!'
Meanwhile down on the river the swans have three cygnets in tow and high above me a hawk is mobbed by what appears to be a flock of swifts. I take some photos but in my haste, shoot with the wrong speed and settings, so disappointingly the hawk photo does not come out too well. After wandering all over town, mostly through parks and along rivers, I am back at the station. The return train journey is almost as packed as pre Covid days and many (mostly young guys) are not wearing masks. I cannot really blame them but I keep mine on, if only to set an example.