Searching for Fliegenpilze

I always look forward to this time of year in Germany when summer dwindles down and Bavarian culture is a little more present. As Octoberfest approaches, dirndls are in all the shop windows and motifs of mushrooms and hunting themes are everywhere.

When the temperatures become this mild I find hiking through the forests to be a perfect Sunday afternoon activity. Something I absolutely love about German forests is sighting the varieties of mushrooms and fungus growing everywhere. I really enjoy taking photos and identifying what I found later on. 

Since living in Germany I have been on the lookout for Fliegenpilze (or the fly agaric mushroom as they are called in English). Their vibrant red coloring makes them unique among all the other mushrooms I have encountered and I wanted to catch a glimpse of their beauty. I was told they grow in pine forests in the fall time, but after many disappointing searches I started to believe they were only a myth. I gave up on trying to find them until one day last October I unexpectedly stumbled upon a whole array of Fliegenpilze growing in a local cemetery in Meerbusch. This sighting, so full of surprise and chance, felt like I was given the stroke of good luck they are known to bring.

A Snowy Stroll Through Friedhof Büderich

A stroll through Büderich's cemetery can be quite tranquil, especially when it's covered under a thick blanket of snow. Usually I miss Chicago winters here in Germany (the snow, not the temperatures), but over the past few weeks I have had quite a few chances to brush my car windshield clean in the mornings.

I often enjoy visiting local cemeteries to draw or take photographs. Here's a watercolor sketch I did in the late summer of the cemetery's chapel.