Stopover in Karlsruhe

I’ll readily admit that I don’t know much if anything about Karlsruhe, although my cousins have lived there for years. In general, we will just pass through or hear something on the news, but it was never a city high on my radar. How perfect, then, that my stop over this year was conveniently the same night as the Museum Night and the Light festival. Although I was only there for a few hours, I was able to enjoy a taste of the place that had me happily contemplating a return trip.
I arrived late afternoon, and my uncle and cousin took me straight to a lake. It wasn’t particularly warm and sunny, with the water temperature being warmer than the air, but it was glorious. After a few hours of driving, a dip in the lake was a perfect way to wake me up again and and relieve all the stiffness in the muscles. After a dinner on the terrace, my aunt, uncle, cousin and I then all drove into the city. Armed with blankets to sit on and some to curl up in incase the temperatures plummeted, we made our way past the crowds of people who had congregated in front of the Karlsruhe Castle to watch the annual light show. The show featured six different short displays, with different music and themes. Projected onto the wall of the building, the most interesting project came from the group Maxin10sity, which focused on the theme “structures of life” exploring both biology and architecture, this theme was broad enough to variate between pleasing geographical shapes and colors, and massive images, such as an underwater or jungle scene.
Noticing that we were all getting tired, we used the opportunity to stop off in the museum within the castle as well. Here I got a small introduction to the city- the original hunting grounds, the structure of roads and buildings organized to imitate and honor the sun, and some of the notable former inhabitants. Unfortunately the tower was already closed, but I imagine the view from there would have been spectacular.
The following morning, hoping to jumpstart myself before getting in the car again, we headed out for another mini adventure. Grabbing our bikes we cycled along a forest path (the kind of easy bumpy that always makes me think that I want to try mountain biking, figuring that it must be fun, not terrifying) to another local lake. There are dozens of lakes in the area, all former spots where industrial development removed earth and water reclaimed the space. Clean and constantly filtered through exchange with the groundwater, and sometimes even deep enough to go diving in, these lakes seem to be the lungs of the surrounding suburbs. Again, we took the chance to have a long swim, this time almost to the other side of the lake- then we stopped for an ice cream on the cycle back.
Thanks so much to my aunt and uncle for hosting me. Even if I’m not going to make it back anytime soon, I’m inspired to search for local lakes to swim in here in Italy- it will be a good change from the pool! I even almost joined the swimmers at the St-Bernard rest station on the Swiss-Italian border; until I realized I had forgotten my swimwear on the terrace in Karlsruhe…

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