29th July – 4th August
We left France behind today and we are now in Germany for who knows how long. We had a nice drive to Oberkirch which is a beautiful little town with flower baskets along the banks of the small river that runs through the town. The houses are covered with flowers as well and it looks like a toy town. We stopped for (zwei cafe und ein apfel kuchen) coffee and shared an apple cake before heading into the Black Forest, which today is grey due to a very heavy fog. The journey was very scary with lots of winding roads that have a sheer drop into the valley below with no barrier and soft edges and a really thick fog here you could only see a few feet ahead however Dave did a wonderful job and got us safely to our destination. We are parked just outside of Schliffkopf as there is a hike we would like to do in the morning depending on the weather. We will just sit tight in the meantime. Well we didn’t sit tight. The clouds cleared later in the afternoon and it didn’t look like the same place so after an early dinner and a music DVD, (at 7.00pm) we decided to go on a walk. It was only a small one, 3kms in total but we did have a lovely view over the ranges for 180 degrees. A nice way to end our first day in Germany.
A short drive this morning in clear skies to Ruhestein where our first wanderweg (walk trail) was up to Wildsee. We toyed with the idea of taking the ski lift up and walking down but given we haven’t had a decent walk for a few days, it seemed a bit lazy. The start of the walk was quite steep given it is an actual ski field but was made easier by the sound of the cow bells along the way. Wildsee is a lake down in the valley of the Black Forest but we didn’t go down to it as we had another walk planned for this afternoon. The forest is very dark in places with lots of ferns and lichens. We drove to Mummelsee to walk to Hornisgrinde along the ridge line. No ski lift here however the walk was lovely. The scenery along the path was breathtaking and we got a look at what we missed yesterday with all the fog. We stopped along the way for lunch, and the view again was amazing. We could see all the way to Strasbourg and lots of little villages in the valleys below. We climbed the lookout at the top which was used as a radar station and a base for the German airforce during the war. We had a beer at the hotel by the Mummelsee on our return and were shocked when charged €13 only to discover that €6 was a deposit on the glasses that we got back when we returned them. It is only day 2 in Germany and we have found the people very friendly, with excellent English in most cases. I’m sure they have a quiet chuckle at our German, but at least they are understanding us. I actually bought some German sausage today, all asked for in my broken German. We are going to stay in the car park here tonight and our neighbour is a Motorhome from Estonia, we think. I’m sure by nighttime there will be more parked here. We had another walk after dinner, with the sun setting the scenery was just beautiful again looking over the valley with hues of pink everywhere. Is this Nirvana?
Our destination today was Baden Baden however we stopped at Mehliskopf first to look at the ski station. This one was huge. Not only did it have the ski slopes (der!) but it had a toboggan run, bungee jump, grass trikes, ski school and the usual bars and restaurants. It was closed when we got there but we did manage a walk around. From there we went to Geroldsauer and had a 4km walk through the forest to a small waterfall. It was just beautiful, all the moss, ferns and the sunlight breaking through the dense forest. The pictures just don’t do it justice. We arrived in Baden Baden after travelling 2.5 kms through a tunnel at around 3.30 after doing the shopping and are comfortable in our home for the next few nights at the Aire with lots Italian vans and a couple of British ones next door. The Aire is right alongside the main road so we will see how well we sleep.
Had a really good night sleep. We rode into town this morning on another well maintained bike path which is about 3kms from the Aire. The town is lovely with lots of open air cafes, boutiques and gardens. We had a good walk around before going to the Lowenbrau restaurant for lunch. The serves were huge, neither of us finished our meals even though they were really nice. Dave ordered a schnitzel that was so big it filled the plate. The frites and vegetables came on separate plates! After lunch we hopped back on the bikes and rode the 2.3kms around the Lichtentaler Allee which is a huge park that is studded with fountains and sculptures and carpeted with flowers. Lots of gorgeous houses along the river Oosbach with their own private bridges. We were going to visit the Faberge museum but at €18 each we decided against it. Back home to Tilly to plan tomorrow’s outing.
On the road again, this time to Freudenstadt about 40 kms from Baden Baden through some lovely towns and back into the forest again. Had a walk around the town and visited the town square where there was a ceramic fair on. Lots of odd looking pieces. One of the pieces was the head of a man with a frog coming out of his mouth! Are we missing something? Anyway it was good to have a wander before returning to Tilly to drive to our spot for the evening. We are staying in the car park of the Langenwaldsee Hotel which was listed in our Bord Atlas (German aires book in German) as a free spot for the night. The hotel looks very comfortable and is alongside a swimming hole however it’s not hot enough for a swim just yet. We had a 6km hike up to the weir through the forest where there were carpets of ferns everywhere and some very big fir trees. A nice way to spend an afternoon.
Our travels today took us to Schiltach via Alpirsbach where we had a walk through town. The Klosterbrau brewery is there and they do a tour with two free glasses of beer however at 9.30 in the morning it was a bit early (some may say it’s never too early) plus the tour was in German so may have been difficult to understand with our limited German. Schiltach is one of those picture postcard towns where everywhere you look there are restored half timber houses with masses of geraniums in the flower boxes. We stopped at the Schüttesäge Museum which focuses on Schiltach’s rafting tradition with recon- structed workshops and a watermill generating hydroelectric power for many homes in the area. We hiked up the hill to see the old castle ruins and had a great view over the town. It is a warm day today so we stopped at the Gasthof in the market square for a quiet ale of Furstenberg, the local brew and it is lovely! On the way home, we stopped at the river and say for awhile with our feet in the river to cool off.
As it is so warm, we have decided to move on as there is little shade where we are currently parked. After driving through four tunnels which went through the mountains, we ended up in Triberg which is another picture postcard town. We are parked just off the Main Street where lots of shops sell cuckoo clocks and this town is famous for having the original recipe for Black Forest cake. Stay tuned! We took a walk after dinner to the Triberg waterfalls. They weren’t very high but nice just the same, set in a lovely forest area. Apparently there are lots of red squirrels in the area however we didn’t see any. Perhaps it was too late in the day.
We visited a number of the shops today that sell cuckoo clocks, the biggest one being the House of 1000 clocks. There were some beautiful clocks there, ranging in all sizes. They also sold lots of touristy things, scented candles, schnapps, bird callers carved out of wood, too many to mention. We stopped at a cafe and had a coffee and a piece of Black Forest cake which was absolutely delicious and low calorie too! Back to Tilly and our drive to Titisee-Neustadt where there is a glacial lake as well as more cuckoo clock shops and some nice forest walks. We are staying at a site called Camping Bankenhof for two nights and will visit the town tomorrow.