Friday, July 14, 2006

Searching for open space in Germany


Last weekend we took a picnic on a real challenge in southern Germany: finding somewhere outdoors with no people. First stop - a cleared field atop a not-so-pretty hill - seemed quiet until two farmers decided to start up their tractors and motor around at 11am on a Sunday morning. A bit more driving through the hills near Heilbronn and a few more failures - really, people are everywhere here - and we finally decided on this meadow just off the road. Squint closely at the picture and you can see our car in the bottom right corner - this really was a big area of people-free space for Germany.

With 232 people per square kilometre, Germany's only the 50th most densely populated country; just the same, it's a big contrast for me when you consider that Australia ranks 224 with just 3 people per square kilometre. And there might have been a few less in our square kilometre last Sunday, but there were at least a dozen: it turned out there was a farmhouse right next door and a hiking path with a steady trail of visitors.

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