Frozen Beauty – Taking a break from reality

When I was a child, I never really took much notice of the beauty of nature, and hiking was everything but a pleasure. However, my passion for being outdoors and exploring beautiful places got bigger and bigger over the years.

January 2021. Even though it was a new year, it didn’t feel like it. All restrictions remained, and there was no light at the end of the tunnel indicating that things would go back to normal soon.

I did some hiking on my own or with a friend during the lockdown, but I was longing for a change of scenery. On a grey and misty winter day, my cousin Sophie wanted to show me a place nearby I had never been before: Altenburgturm – a modern tower structure on top of a beautiful wooded area. Despite our scepticism regarding the weather, we headed out for an adventure.

Sophie and I hadn’t seen each other often during the lockdown, not even for Christmas or New Year‘s Eve. We had a lot to catching up to do, and we were looking forward to spending the day together.

As soon as we got out of the car, the freezing wind hit us. But it couldn’t stop us. When we turned the corner and stepped out of the trees, we were stunned by the sight of this man-made structure over-towering everything yet blending in perfectly.

While walking up the steep incline, we were in awe of the giant structure that was so grounded but at the same time felt so light. Due to the open construction, it’s not a typical building with an inside and an exterior. Everything is exposed to the elements. The metal and wooden structure of the tower seem to float around the central staircase, there’s no obvious connection. Experiencing the strong wind and the movement of the structure while ascending gave us a thrill. With every step we took, the view got more and more spectacular. Having climbed all 201 steps, we reached the top.

It wasn’t the view you might have expected as there was very low visibility, but the fog and the snow had turned the surroundings into a surreal endless winter wonderland detached from the rest of the world. The freezing wind had left its marks on the structure. Everything was covered with ice: the handrails, the beams, even the stationary telescopes. The frozen crystals and the structure became one.

Zooming in with my camera, the overall beauty became even more detailed. We didn’t talk a lot and just soaked in the atmosphere. The only sound came from the wind whistling through the structure of the tower. After a while, I realized that I could hardly feel my fingers anymore from the cold, so we descended. And to be honest, we were kind of looking forward to having solid ground below our feet again.

To warm up, Sophie and I headed out on a hike to explore the landscape we had just admired from above. And somehow, being on safe ground made space for all the conversations we were holding back earlier. We talked about everything that came to our minds, made plans for further expeditions and things we wanted to do after lockdown. I can’t tell if the temperature actually rose or if it was the familiarity with my cousin that let me forget about the cold. I realized how much I had missed her company over the last months.

Looking back, it felt like time was standing still on this cold and grey January morning, like the world was catching its breath. And yet, I could feel the promise of spring.

Spending time with soulmates and capturing the beauty of nature is one of the best combinations ever. Photos like these are not only a visualization of the actual event but my way of conserving emotions and feelings. The freezing weather definitely turned this walk into an unforgettable experience.

"Memories have to be made – Pressing the shutter not only triggers the technology in my beloved camera, it also triggers my enthusiasm and creativity. I love being in nature, exploring new horizons and foreign countries. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, I consciously search for little valuable moments and try to capture them. I am Miriam Rein, a freelance photographer and graphic designer from southern Germany."

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