The drive from Heidelberg to my next destination was estimated as around one and a half hours, but as I was cruising along I saw a sign pointing to Strasbourg which said it was only 44km away! Some friends of mine had recently visited this town and said it was beautiful, plus I thought it would be fun to just ‘pop into’ France!
It was nice driving through the streets of Strasbourg. The difference in architecture was immediately evident. So was the deterioration in driving etiquette. Holy mackerel. I feared for Mariah’s wellbeing (as well as my own) so I decided to just drive around for a short while then head back on main route… to Triberg in the Black Forest!
As nightfall is so early, I was driving in pitch darkness at 6:00pm. It wasn’t actually too bad and the drivers seemed to be considerate (unlike the French!)
Just when I thought I had witness the most beautiful villages of all, I drove into Triberg. It was like I had walked into a fairytale about a Winter Wonderland. Driving up the streets I could see pretty fairly lights in the windows of cafes and garland strung across the main street between buildings. Oh my goodness, the beauty was too overwhelming and I shed yet another tear (that’s Heidelberg and Triberg that have done it to me now!)
Thanks to Gloria the GPS I was able to easily navigate my way to the Pension (hotel) which was about a 5 minute drive from town. I was greeted by Stefanie, the proprietor, who gave me a lot of information about Triberg and the location (details of buses etc.) and then told me that the adjoining restaurant’s rest day is Wednesday. I decided that I would, after settling into my room, eat at the restaurant.
Boy am I glad that I did. I had the BEST meal of my entire trip at Restaurant am Bergsee (it overlooks the Bergsee Lake, however this is currently covered in snow!) I had a meal consisting of homemade dumplings, mushrooms, spinach and a mushroom cream sauce, as well as a salad on the side. To accompany this I of course enjoyed some German Riesling… something I am thinking I might need to buy at Munich Airport in bulk on my way to the UK!
I was disappointed to see the restaurant was empty besides me. It really isn’t their busy season and many other shops in town repeated this. I highly recommend the restaurant, not just because the food is amazing, but because it is family owned and operated and has been for over half a century! As I was the only customer and obviously willing to chat, Stefanie told me some of the history of the Restaurant/Pension and explained it had been previously operated by her parents and her uncle before them.
After a good sleep in my cozy room, which truly felt like a cabin in the woods, I woke up and went to look out my window. Remember that when I arrived it was pitch black. Wow. Words cannot express the amazing view that was outside that window. I had no question where I was, for surely it was the Black Forest! The pine trees are so tall and stand out with the beautiful white covering they gain in Winter.
I walked into town and took twice as long to get there because I frequently stopped to take photos, or make videos for my niece Casey who I am missing so much (as I am everyone else of course ).
I had breakfast at the Bakery/Café which I actually went back to again for lunch, due to many of the other coffees also being on a rest day. For breakfast I had a salad and cheese with a bread roll. Kind of weird, but as it was 10:30 and I hadn’t eaten anything yet, I was okay with it. The coffee was also really good as was the service. There were so many cakes but I was sensible and only bought one… which is still a bit naughty, but when in Rome…!
I then walked to the waterfall which is quite an attraction, as it is one of the highest waterfalls in Germany, with a descent of 163metres.
The waterfall flows from the Gutach river which plunges over seven major steps into a rocky V-shaped valley. I was only able to walk a certain way into the forest to see the falls, as the path was covered with snow and became very slippery. Especially in the areas that had signs which must have said something like “do not pass”…. But they were in German, so I wasn’t doing anything wrong. (Actually I asked the park attendant and she said it was fine but to be very careful and to turn back if it got too slippery.) The route I walked had a lot of other people on it, but as they dispersed onto other paths and I was by myself again I decided to turn back… after taking a few hundred photos of the magnificent falls. This would probably be right up there as one of the major highlights of my travels. The falls were magnificent and it was amazing to see how some sections had iced over, with crystals hanging over the edge.
I had a salad sandwich from the bakery/café for lunch and then spent 2 hours in Oli’s Schnitztube which is a shop where cuckoo clocks are made, as well as other carved pieces of art. This is a family business which is dedicated to the preservation of cuckoo clocks which are famous in the Black Forest. Many cuckoo clocks are mass produced and these are destroying an industry which people worked very hard to get into.
Oli (Oliver Zinapold – one of the Master Craftsmen) and Gudrun spent time with me explaining how cuckoo clocks work and explaining the intricacies of the construction process. I have also read on the website that Oli studied for over 5 years to become a Master Craftsman. The clocks are made by a team. Oli is the Master Craftsman who is experienced in wood carving. Oli founded the Master Carvers Club which I am sure was inspired by the number of shops popping up selling mass produced clocks and taking business from him and his fellow craftsmen! Each and every one of Oli’s clocks is unique and individually made.
As I loved it so much in Triberg I made the decision to spend another night, before journeying to Munich for the next instalment in my holiday!
Updated map of where I have been!