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Die ringbolzen des Nibelungen

Heidelberg's periphery nears. Streets fade into morning mist that's thick as syrup. Through this we carry a pineapple, potatoes and a zucchini – gifted by Turkish wedders last night.

*Destination arrived*

We are at one of Schriesheim's first outer hills. Our fourwheeler will take us further up. Soon our engine revs 4.000x/minute, conquering slope by slope. Streets must be far down after a while. A fortress tower passes but all we see is a thick gray veil concealing everything that's more than 5m far. By foot we continue.

Autumn leaves ringle, the trees are cold. Vines wait for sun on slopes beneath, or at least so a plate says, but we only see gray fluffyness. Our journey sends us up heavy fog in the forest.

We guess our way between beech trees.

Eventually the slope softens with trees less concerned with balancing. Sudden turmoil tingles our senses. Can you feel it? Something wooshing and thinning high above our heads.

*March on*

Inexhaustible steam excitedly moves up, hurriedly passing by. A glimpse of light crosses our eye and we largen our steps, we hike into mist that's being plucked up by higher skies. A little window opens in the feathery white and grey. We vaguely notice a sunlit hilltop-forest sticking out faraway. Did we set foot in the Odenwald range? What's happening? Suddenly the first beams of light and gentle warmth fall into our arms.


*Sneak-around a fence*

A cliff's edge! Below, a sunlit amphitheatre of golden porphyry strikes up! ...The way a philharmonic orchestra starts off a Richard Strauss. We're airplanes looking over a woolen world. "Nett.." a guy approves and laughs.. "ohne BASF..".

Indeed we find no trace of the chemical gigant BASF, producing plastics, colors, once even Zyklon-B, anything, any bright color in any product you see, and for the whole world. The chemical business concern's complex probably has no match elsewhere in the world(*). Yet today it's verschwunden.


Up here we easily find rock routes pierced by countless cracks, equiped German-style: first bolt at least 8m from the ground and next bolts only where mobile protection is strictly impossible. But take your time and you'll be fine.

A friend hosts us in Heidelberg. Then it's Poppy Day, remembrance of the absurd World War of Trenches and the masses send out by otherwordly traditionalist militarized governments.

Odenwald opens up. We visit two tall cracky sandstone crags where forests put the first leaves down as to make themselves a warm blanket for the dark winter.



PHOTO: Drone footage made by local kids.

(*): The BASF-Ludwigshafen-am-Rhein industry infrastructure probably has a scale no other single chemical actor in the world reaches. Yet there are even more extended chemical industry terrains when we look for clustered actors, like in Houston (Texas) and Antwerp (West-Europe). Another fact-of-the-day: Ludwigshafen is where Wolfgang Güllich grew up (known for being part of the international club of crushers like Jerry Moffatt, redpointing impossible routes in the 1980's and early 1990's, moreover Wolfgang was asked to be stunt double in the Hollywood joke Cliffhanger, earning him big money and a car (an old Italian climber told me a Porsche, an article claims BMW.. sources all color it in themselves) in which – weeks later – he fatally crashed)).