The Black Forest. Miles and miles of dense evergreen forest.
Germany is one of my favourite countries to visit. I’ve been to Germany a few times before but never managed to visit the Black forest. I finally decided to go and we based ourselves in the small picturesque town of Gengenbach. It is located on the outskirts of the Black forest and less busier than Freiburg, which is one of the more popular Black Forest towns.
We stayed at the Weinhotel Pfeffer and Salz (Pepper and Salt) hotel, which is located 20 minutes walk out of town. The hotel has an on site restaurant that serves good local speciality and regional Black Forest dishes. The restaurant is very popular with locals and tourist alike, and some staff speak English. The hotel has a large terrace, perfect for sundowners in the evening, where we spend most of our evenings. We had a room with a balcony and view of the valley, so I felt like I was living in an episode of Heidi, rolling green hills, awaking in the mornings with cows mooing and bells sounding as their made their way to greener pastures.
There is a forest close by, perfect for walks. There is local art pinned onto the trees, which creates an outdoor gallery feel and quite a few beehives at the forest entrance. I did however manage to get stung by a wasp in the forest, which shortened our walk. But I was in my favourite country, so it did not really bother me, nothing that cannot be fixed with some German chocolate.
We tried some Flammkuchen (flame cake) a south German dish, very similar to pizza. Thin dough rolled out in a rectangular/circular shape with a crème fraiche base instead of tomato and topped with meat and or vegetables.
The old medieval town is one of the prettiest towns in Germany. The town hall is turned into the largest advent calendar at Christmas time.
Some of the day trips from Gengenbach: We made use of the Black forest train, and saw a lot more of the Black forest this way.
Gutach: Open Air Museum: Some insight into how farmers lived. I found the farmhouses and traditional structures quite interesting. The local café serves traditional german apfelkuchen.
Mountain Roller Coaster ride: This is located close to the open air museum. The Luge ( mountain coaster) is a lot of fun, and you can reach speeds up to about 55 km/hr.
Triberg. Our trip to Triberg started off as a bit of an adventure. We were on the bus when we spotted a large cuckoo clock and got so excited and we jumped off the bus. Caught up in the moment, we forget there are only 2 buses to Triberg. We were subsequently stranded a short while, 18 kms away from our destination. We were very lucky to catch another bus ( a different one and it happened to be the last bus of the day) which saved us from a very expensive taxi ride to get to Triberg.
Triberg is home to the largest and oldest Cuckoo Clocks in the world. You can also hike to Triberg falls. We found this to be quite an easy walk. We had black forest cake and cherry brandy in town after our walk.
Baden Baden Spa town: We spent a day relaxing in the Caracalla Spa, hot springs and mineral pools. There are indoor and outdoor pools of varying degrees with jet spas, perfect for recharging your batteries.
Visiting one of the oldest beer gardens in Germany.
After stocking up on enough German chocolate to last me a year, we made our way north, by train. We travelled with the ICE train, which had wifi onboard. Booking online is essential if you want to reserve a seat as the trains get very busy. I loved that the trains run like clockwork and were always on time. The last surprise as we had as were leaving Germany, was finding the train line runs parallel with the middle Rhein river. We got to see quite a few castles on the river, from the train, which we did not get round to doing, as we had run out of time to a book a river cruise.
Bis zum nächsten Mal!