Last weekend we were invited to a gardening opening. I jumped when I heard garden and felt honored when I heard opening so I said yes right away without doing any research about where we were actually going. When I read the name, Baumwipfelpfad Ebrach, I actually thought there might be a typo- so many consonants.
One of the things about being immersed in a second language is that you are constantly kind of scanning, filtering what you know and what you don’t know, what you can remember and what you can’t, in that moment. I could see that it was something about trees based on the first part of the word Baum and that was good enough for me.
On the way we stopped in Ebrach for a coffee and a croissant. Croissants, specifically chocolate ones, have become a weekly indulgence for me. Please don’t bring this up if you hear me complaining that my post-pregnancy belly just doesn’t look like it did pre-pregnancy. Anyway, getting back to the point–Thorsten said that he thought the chocolate croissant in Ebrach was the best he ever tasted! I don’t know if I would go that far but I would say that it was better than the chocolate croissants at our normal bakery. Just across the street from the bakery was the beautiful Kloster Ebrach, a monastery built about a million years ago. We took a look inside and appreciated a few minutes of peaceful solitude among the marble and gold leaf.
The garden opening was at 10am and by then I had learned that it was the opening of a tree top walk through the woods. Upon arrival we saw group of protestors. Oh wow, I thought–not only a garden opening, but a controversial one at that! In actuality, some people were there protesting the fact that the land is becoming a national park, and some other people were there with signs in support of the national park. I’m not sure how things will shake, but they did bring awareness to an argument that I didn’t know existed.
So, moving past the protestors we spotted what would later be the opening party. I hadn’t even thought about lunch so I got pretty excited to see everything that they were preparing. Our names were on a list and I felt like I was back in graduate school again. I felt like a garden V.I.P. only this time with my sweet little family in tow.
We had to walk through a type of revolving door to get in and out of the garden but there was a normal door as well to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs. The entire garden/structure was wheelchair and stroller friendly.
The whole walk way is on the same level as the tree tops. Sometimes the level rises, sometimes it gets lower to the ground but it’s engineered so that you hardly notice the changes. I imagine it will be really wonderful in the summer time when the leaves have filled out.
All the way down the walkway are activities. Fun and interactive they help people to learn something about the forest or the trees and force you to stop and appreciate what you’re seeing. One is a metal “nest” of sorts that lets you climb out over the woods and feel a little like you are hanging over the edge of a tall tree limb. Another structure was made from the wood of various types of trees and marked with the names so that you could see the difference. I tried all of them as if I were a kid.
The gem of the structure is the tower. It stands in the center of the walkway, 41 meters high with a tree growing through the center. This is the where the opening ceremonies took place. There were a few groups of people in traditional garb playing blass music. There were two woods princesses, a priest and a pastor to bless the structure and to complete the group there were a few politicians and a representative for wheel chair users. Sadly I don’t have any photo of the tree princesses, but they were wearing traditional bavarian clothes and crowns made out of wood. It sounds funny but truly here they are queens and princesses for every event or fest and it seems to truly be a respected position of honor. There are queens and princesses for many events here. In fact I’m having dinner tonight with one of the beer queens from the Annafest!
We climbed to the top of the tower during the ceremonies and strolled back down before meandering along the rest of the walkway and back to the festivities for lunch.
I have previously visited two other tree canopy walks, one at that Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia and one a Kew Gardens in London. Each one is magnificent because its gives you a new perspective and a chance to see things you’ve never seen–and isn’t that the best way to ring in the Spring?
Hope your week is off to a great start.