May 17, 2014
Fuerstenlager Statepark Bensheim-Auerbach
After seeing several pics of this location I wanted to visit there for quite some time. Today I finally managed to do so.
"Located near Auerbach on the Bergstrasse (Mountain Road), the Fürstenlager is a unified work of art and retains much of its original character. It owes its existence to the discovery of a mineral spring in 1739, however it failed to establish itself in the long term as a spa resort. From 1783 onwards, Ludwig X of Hesse-Darmstadt and his wife Luise had a summer residence built here as a rural retreat, far removed from the strict court etiquette of their royal seat in Darmstadt." (Source: English Flyer on Schloesser Hessen's website)
While I spent a few hours in the park I still have not managed to see all of it - so I look forward to another visit to take it all in.
There are several trails one can follow - I decided to enter the park area by walking across this beautiful bridge.
I just had to take several pics from different angles, because I really liked the setup of the bridge across the little rivulet. It was looking different mood-wise too depending on how the light fell on it.
Below the little waterfall there were a lot of tadpoles in the relative calm of the pond.
The water and the rough stones also were a nice contrast to this plant.
Along the so-called swan lake there are quite a few spots that invite visitors to sit on a bench and enjoy the peaceful environment.
Across the lake and a meadow you can just see the little lake that is the home of several ducks.
The second pic shows the view down to the swan lake from the duck pond.
Following the steps up the hill through the forest...
... I found a trail that had beautiful meadows to its sides.
The path then opened up to a little alley...
... which led to a small village. The houses there gave off a near-mediterranean feeling.
Here you can also find the Gesundbrunnen, a mineral spring around which the Fuerstenlager was developed.
I started up a hill - passing an aviary...
... and a small hole where a snail had found a hiding place...
... to the top of the hill where the Temple of Friendship, built by Princes Ludwig and Emil, is located.
From there you also have a beautiful view down into the valley.
Throughout the park there are many benches that are either looking down at scenic views or are located in a peaceful location. Both types invite the visitor to sit down and enjoy a moment of contemplation.
Once you made it up on one of the hills you are rewarded by stunning vistas across the valley and the neighboring hills.
Across the valley you can see Castle Auerbach.
What I really enjoyed were the trails that are leading through the park. They are built in a way that pleases the eye and make it a pleasure to walk on them.
This dandelion caught my attention with its seeming imperfection. Rather than the fluffy head that usually comes with a dandelion it had only a few seeds left that clung to the pistil with all their might. It was exactly this state though that made it look perfect to me.
All over the park many plants can be found, be it rhododendron, wild roses or others.
Moss or dried leaves are nice motifs too.
While trying to capture a wild strawberry blossom I got photo-bombed by a bee.
And on the leaf next to my actual motif this ladybug appeared all of a sudden.
The view from one of the stone bridges.
A small fountain inspired me to take some pics of the bubbling water.
Due to the steep hills there are sheep that are responsible for keeping the grass at bay.
I turned a few pics into black-and-white shots. It will never cease to amaze me how the lack of color can change the mood.
Conclusion: I will definitely come back to see the rest of the beautiful places the statepark has to offer.