Visiting my past — that’s what I did last summer when I attended a conference at the University of Freiburg: for the first time in 25 years I returned to the Black Forest, where I had spent a part of my childhood. During my primary school years my family lived in Waldkirch, a small town near Freiburg. I used the town as a model for Kirchwalden in Castle of the Wolf, and the Castle of Wolfenbach was partly based on the Kastelburg, one of the two castles overlooking Waldkirch.
It was strange and exciting and – gosh! – terrifying to go back to the town which I had loved so much and where I had been so very happy. It was a truly wonderful place to grow up: Waldkirch is surrounded by forest, meadows and fields — the perfect playground for a young child. With my friend Anja, I often went “on adventure”, exploring meadows, falling into brooks, discovering ugly spiders. Another friend of mine, Doro, lived on a farm in one of the neighbouring villages. A FARM! How cool is that?! They had cows and chicken, and the kitchen was directly next to the door that led into the cowshed.
This is the apartment house where we used to live on the fourth floor (American style of counting floors). The flat was huge and had several large balconies. Anja’s family lived in the same house, so we typically went to school together (we didn’t always come home together: indeed, when we quarelled at school, we made sure not to come home together *g*).
And this is the view from our old street. See how close the forest is? Back when we lived there, there was only one row of houses along the street and there were fields directly behind the gardens.
The next picture shows St. Margaretha’s, one of the Catholic churches in Waldkirch (I do believe that it gets a mention in Castle of the Wolf). The inside is decorated in the Baroque style — no wonder then that I’ve never liked the more puristic church in my current hometown. 🙂
Next, the market square (that one, too, gets a mention in Castle!). Apart from that ugly, blinking pharmacy’s sign on the right, it hasn’t changed much.
The Bayer-Sepple (a restaurant) still exists …
… as does the “Herrebeck”, a bakery.
And when you turn around, there is still this, of course:
In June I will attend another conference in Freiburg. Naturally, I will return to Waldkirch and will indulge in another trip down memory lane. 🙂