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The Black Forest (die Swartzwald)


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Living in Stuttgart meant that we were living on the northern edge of the Swartzwald, the Black Forest. The heart of the region, Triberg, was about an hour drive from our house. Triberg is famous for cuckoo clocks and the marvelous chocolate and cherry Black Forest cake, called Swartzwalder Torte by the locals. The Black Forest is named for its cover of dark pine forests, which have been diminished in recent years, so that it doesn't strike you as being exceedingly black or dark today, except in certain areas. It is bounded on the south by Switzerland (with Basel being the south-west corner), and on the west by France and the Rhine.

Most of our visitors got at least one day-trip into the Black Forest, sometimes more. Perhaps because it was so easy to get to, and we went so often, I did not write as extensively about our visits to the Black Forest as I did for other destinations. I now wish I had been more diligent!

The Vogtsbauernhof in the Black Forest Culture Park
Fresh Snow in the Hills of the Swartzwald
Building decorations in Triberg

 

December 1991

We had a wonderful visit from Lynn's mom just after last Christmas. Marga arrived on the 28th of December, and stayed with us through the 12th of January. We visited the Black Forest, France, Holland, the Alps, and lots of southern Germany.

 

October 1992

Our "big" trip of the visit (of my sister Joanne and her husband Dave) came over the weekend of the 2nd through the 5th of October. We took the kids out of school and did a looping travel vacation. First we went to the Black Forest, traveled a lot of twisty, windy roads, and visited Triberg, the cuckoo clock capital of the world. We stayed the night in the Alpen Post hotel in Neustadt, outside of Tittsee in the Black Forest. On Saturday we headed for Basel, Switzerland, via old windy backroads through the Black Forest. We dipped our toes into Switzerland (costing us SF40 to do that because of the Swiss Autobahn Tax), then we headed up the French side of the Rhine River to Colmar in France.

 

July 1995

We spent four years in southern Germany and never got around to buying a cuckoo clock, so the last week we were in Europe, I took an afternoon off and we drove down to Triberg to find a souvenir cuckoo clock! Silly Americans!! It now has a place of honor in our living room and has kept faithful time since we moved back.

 

October 1999 - Glatt & Haigerloch

Since we left Germany in July 1995, I hadn't had the opportunity to travel back for any visits to see the friends we left behind. I got my first chance in October 1999. After I surprised the heck out of my German neighbors Gerhard and Ursula on Saturday morning by showing up at their door unannounced, we visited for a while and then hopped in their car and headed off to the Black Forest for the day. Ursula had recently been to a cafe on the grounds of a castle (Schloss) in the village of Glatt, and both Gerhard and Ursula had been meaning to try an interesting restaurant in the nearby village of Haigerloch (which had its own castle), so we did both!

First stop was Glatt, where we had coffee and cake (küchen) in the cafe, then on to Haigerloch.

 

Glatt Castle
3 Amigos
Water Trough
Haigerloch Castle

 

April 2000 - Gene & Lynn

Lynn and I returned to Stuttgart together for a week's vacation that was part of a business trip for me. We spent one week visiting old friends and old sights, and then Lynn flew home and I spent another week working.

All throughout our week driving around, we saw the remains of the devastation that a holiday windstorm (25-27 Dec 1999) caused. Winds in parts of Germany reached 124 mph, which was strong enough to rip up entire stands of pine trees by the roots, and then snapping in half any trees left standing. We saw entire hillsides leveled. It will take a hundred years for the forests to recover.

This panorama of a section of wooded road in the Black Forest doesn't begin to show the devastation we saw all over the place.

On Saturday we drove through the Black Forest (lots more tree devastation) with our neighbors Gerhard and Ursula. First stop was the town of Bad Wildbad, which has a river running through the middle of the town center, and a cog railway up the mountain from downtown...... 

Bad Wildbad
Ursula, Lynn and Gerhard in Bad Wildbad
The zahnradbahn (literally: tooth-wheel-railroad), or cog railway, station

Then we were off to a town called Glatt, where there is a wonderful café on the grounds of a moated castle. The café serves slices of cakes and desserts (kuchen) that are about three times the size of the normal German serving, for about the same price as a normal German serving! Gerhard and Ursula had taken me to this same café back in October 1999 when I visited by myself....

The entrance to the castle grounds
The door of the cafe
Epiphany tradition (I don't know the details) of marking good houses with chalk
Inside the cafe
A piece of Schwartzwalder Kirchetorte (Black Forest Cherry Cake)
Lynn, Ursula, and Gerhard in the cafe
The view of the castle from the cafe
Gerhard and Lynn goofing around with the castle's cannon
An ancient horse watering trough - still working
Gerhard pretends to drink from a trough
Gerhard and Ursula Bruckner behind the watering trough in Glatt
A close-up of the trough
Walking off our dessert
An interesting old tree in Glatt
Strange pine needle formations
Half-timbered barn with a sunset behind it

After Glatt, we drove to Haigerloch (another destination from my October trip). We strolled around the castle at the top of the hill, then walked down the hill halfway to the church, but it was closed. Then we walked back to the car and drove to the Römer Restaurant for a spectacular meal. the Römer (Roman) restaurant has an interesting motif, Roman helmets for lamps and chariots for booths.......

The schlossbrau Brewery, as sen from the schloss (the castle)
View of Haigerloch from the castle
The wood on the door to the castle path was so worn, you could see cobblestones on the other side
The door to the castle path down to the church
The inside of a gnarly bush along the path
The church garden halfway down the path
The rest of the way down the walkway to the town center
Looking up the pathway back to the castle
Walking down the walkway
A little sitting area on the castle grounds
Lynn's dinner - a pork stew (Ursula had the same thing)
Gerhard's dinner - pork cutlet smothered in wild mushrooms and gravy
Gene's dinner - venison with wild mushrooms and preiselbeeren sauce
Gene liked his dinner!!
Ursula and Lynn in the "ship" booth
The "chariot" booths in the rest of the restaurant
A helmet-lamp
Lynn tests the local pils
....and so does Gene

 

 

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