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Walking at Schönbrunn and to the Saalfelder fairy caves and Ilmenau

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Tuesday 25 September, walking at Schönbrunn and to the Saalfelder fairy caves and Ilmenau

Walking around Schönbrunn Walking around SchönbrunnToday we stay in Schönbrunn, another super relaxed day. It is a good thing that we have so many books with us and very occasionally we have a wifi signal so we can use the internet.
What we do in the afternoon is a long walk through the valley. Now, in September, it is a lovely and green area but in the winter it will often be snowy because we are at a reasonable height. The whole sloping area around the Thuringian Wald is very nice for walking.
Our cottage in the distance View from our cottage, SchönbrunnIt is an elongated valley on the south side of the village and we first walk up the slope behind our house and then southwards where we cross the valley and on the other side we go up again. We are not experienced or enthusiastic walkers but it is nice to be outside.
On the other side we see a large flock of sheep walking and a shepherd who is constantly working with his dogs to move the sheep to a different part of the field, wonderful to look at.
Sheepdogs, Schönbrunn Sheep herd in SchönbrunnThe sheep dogs have noticed us before we see them when we come near the sheep herd and the shepherd has to call them back to let us through.
From close up we now see that the shepherd has rollable pieces of wire with which he can put down new fences on another part of the slope and then the dogs chase the sheep towards it. It looks pretty labor intensive while I thought shepherds had such a nice arcadian and lazy life! Just wandering with sheep on the moor seems nice to me but this is really hard work.
On Thursdays we go out again, we are done resting and staying at home for the whole day. Our first goal are the dfairy caves at Saalfeld
Saasfelder Fairy caves Saasfelder Fairy cavesApart from the fairy-like caves that are very colorful because of the large amount of minerals, a park has been built around it with an adventure forest and fairy world for children and a small museum. We only take the tour through the caves and try to take some pictures but that remains difficult in caves. According to the Guinness book of world records, these are the most colorful caves in the world. The tour lasts about an hour and is definitely worth it.
Ruin in Ilmenau View over IlmenauThen we drive to Ilmenau, where we see some more of the rural surroundings. Ilmenau itself is a university town that is hidden in a valley. Nowadays a lot of technical research is done, in the past it was mainly a mining town where silver and copper were mined until the stocks were exhausted.
In the neighborhood of Ilmenau we encounter a ruin of some castle, but we do not know exactly which one. In the city itself you can still see remains of an old castle.
A small memorial in the town recalls that Hendrikus Clijn, a Dutch politician, died here after being taken prisoner by the Germans for resistance.


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