Grusse von die Schwarzwald!

15 Aug

Greetings from The Black Forest!  Well, not exactly from there since we just got ‘home,’ but you know what I meant!  And I gotta be honest right outta the bag…it wasn’t our best weekend… 😦  The best part?  We’re ‘home’ now! Ha!  OK, here goes…

Do you ever have days- ahem, weekends- that feel like nothing goes right?  Yeah, well…From the time our feet hit the floor Saturday morning- I take that back, I did get in a good workout before things went south, so from the time the sun was above the treeline…- the stars just weren’t lined up for us, with the exception of the occasional glimmer of sunshine- figuratively AND literally!

So, as we were loading the car getting ready to embark on our road trip, John realized that his passport (no, he didn’t need it for this trip) had mysteriously disappeared into the thin air- either that or I must’ve done something with it…or the maids…or the dogs.  He frantically ran from the car to the apartment and back, as if it would appear in a spot after he checked it 3 times.  But, no.  So he got on the phone to the previous landlord (see the last post if you somehow missed that we moved!)- no, he hadn’t found it- and to friends at work- no, they hadn’t stolen it- and to the US Embassy- yes, you’ll have to come into our office…in Frankfurt. During said phone calls, we managed to get our Party of 4, plus bag (we’ve become pros at consolidated packing!), into the car, the address entered into the GPS and on our way- me at the wheel and John in frazzle mode in the passenger seat.  Now for those of you who truly know John, you know that he’s generally a laid-back affable fellow…But you let him succumb to his own pessimism, and you can hang it up.  Grrr…The pups and I- OK, they were more interested in their Oinky Chews in the backseat, so just I- was thinking how fantastic this tense start to the day would likely foreshadow the entire weekend ahead if he didn’t find that damn passport!  So after the phone calls ended, we rode in silence for a good 20 minutes, when I decided to pull out one of my mom’s tried-and-true secret weapons- the retracing your foot steps game.  To make a long story short…EUREKA!  ‘I had to scan it into the computer at work the other day and I left it in the scanner!  Whew!  OK, I’ll get it Monday…’  I tell you, men have the rebound rate of a goldfish!  And like that, all was right in the world for the next few hours!  Ha!

Onward to Triberg, known as the birthplace of the cuckoo clock and for having Germany’s tallest waterfall.  We decided to stop just before town to let the pups frolic a bit.  It was probably one of my favorite stops of the weekend, actually.  Just so vast and green.

You can see forever...

'The hills are alive...with the sound of music...' 🙂

So we made it to Triberg and if we didn’t know better, we would’ve sworn we were in Gatlinburg, TN!  Seriously, lots of lumbered buildings, lots of restaurants, lots of shops and lots of people from all walks of life!  But no putt-putts 😦  (However, there is one in Stuttgart about 1 minute from our apartment!)  Anyway…

Downtown Triberg...Everything Tudor style and with colorful window boxes...

Triberg Church steeple across from our hotel room. Its bells began chiming every 15 minutes from 7:30a onward... 🙂

Very pretty, huh?  They say that Triberg is ‘quintissential Black Forest’ and it’s definitely true.  The main drag was alot of fun. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for our hotel…In a word?  Ugh.  Definitely not going to waste time with the drawbacks like 1970s decor, stained carpet and mothball/cheap mens’ cologne lingering smell, so I’ll give you the positives- it was a bed, a shower and the perfect location overlooking Main Street :).

View from our balcony looking northward...

And southward...We ate lunch underneath the yellow umbrellas...

Finding food in this town proved to be a challenge- and that’s putting it nicely.  Now those of you who truly know me realize that feeding time is not a good time for things to be challenging.  It was lunchtime and- of all 2 bazillion restaurants to pick from!- nothing was even the slightest step above a Western Sizzler!  I’m talking Shoney’s, folks, and not ‘best breakfast bar with cheap french toast sticks/eggs with nacho cheese/pink jello fluff EVER’ Shoney’s, but ‘bad neck of the woods for a beef jerky and lard fries’ Shoney’s…*Sigh*

Germans believe that the perfect beer should have at least 3" of head...The saving grace for John at lunch was that, at least, his beer could be deemed 'perfect.'

Sustenance for our hike up the mountain to see the country’s highest waterfall.  The Triberg Waterfall is actually a series of shorter waterfalls in the Gutach River- the vertical drop is 496 feet.

Starting up the mountain...

First platform of the falls...

Halfway up the falls, looking back toward town...

John and Big D crossing over the top, looking down the falls toward town behind me...

Resting at the bottom 🙂

Because the clouds started rolling in, then the thunder and lightening (I told you very few things cooperated with us!), we decided to hop in the car and explore the Forest.  We took the scenic route across the southern region to the university town of Freiburg, which is situated near the French and Swiss borders.  What a BEAUTIFUL drive through woods, meadows and hills…Some of the sites…

Largest cuckoo clock in the world!! (And yes, it's a working clock- the inside of the house has its 'guts.' Yowza!

A funny sidenote for those of you who know John well…As we were walking back to the car from the giant clock, John started chuckling.  I looked at him, convinced I had a booger on my face or something, when he said ‘Did you see that kid back there?  He’s got to be the ugliest thing on two legs I’ve ever seen!’  I turned around to look (you would have, too!), zeroed in on the subject in question, then continued walking.  ‘He’s a mentally handicapped, albino 10-year-old with a deformed foot and leg,’ I said.  ‘Oh,’ replied John.  ‘Oops.’  Yeah, I’m married to him…

Gazing out the window...

We passed so many quaint little towns, all centered around the stateliest churches...

Right about this time, my camera battery started flashing(See? I told you…), so we have very few pictures actually in Freiburg, which is a shame because it really was a great college town!  If it makes you feel any better, the pictures probably wouldn’t have been great anyway because of all the rain!  We looked like drench rats by the time we walked to the main plaza, ate dinner, and made it back to the car!

The main ‘attraction’ in Freiburg is the Freiburger Munster, the Cathedral.  The last duke of Zahringen had started the building around 1200 in Romanesque style, the construction continued in 1230 in Gothic style. The munster was partly built on the foundations of an original church that had been there from the beginnig of Freiburg in 1120. In 1827 the munster became the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Freiburg and thus, a cathedral.

One of the most AMAZING churches we've ever seen...and we're from the Holy City!

It is the only Gothic church tower in Germany that was completed in the Middle Ages, and has lasted until today, surviving the bombing raids of November 1944, which destroyed all of the buildings around it.  The tower has 16 bells, the oldest being the “Hosanna” bell from 1258, which weighs 7200 lbs. This bell can be heard on Thursday evenings, on Friday mornings, on Saturday evenings, and each year on 27 November in remembrance of the air raid.  The best part?  We just happened to make it to the plaza as the bells started tolling.  It was a moving experience, which is actually an odd statement in itself in that every single person stopped in their tracks.  They stood still for the entire 5 minutes, just as we did, facing the munster and listening in sheer amazement.  There are no words to describe the power and magnitude of those bells…

Sunday got off to a better start- I woke up just before dawn to enjoy my 3 glasses of water and 3/4C of high fiber cereal (yes, I travel with breakfast- always) and Will & Grace Season 3 episodes 2-5 (we have the whole series saved to John’s computer for all those moments we need English TV- thanks again, Sam and Chuck!) in the peace and quiet of our hotel room.  Ah, Erin time…Before long, we were headed up what is considered the most scenic route in the Black Forest, to Baden-Baden.

Coming into Baden-Baden...Is that a castle in the distance? Why, yes. Yes it is.

Baden-Baden is known worldwide as a luxurious bathing town.  There are spas (more on that whole concept in a later post) all over the city.  The springs have been known for more than 2,000 years, and their composition resembles that of the Roman baths of the 3rd century. The water at the baths is rich in sodium chloride, and comes from artesian wells 5,900 ft under the Florentiner Mountain. Just being there is like Beverly Hills- so prim and proper, so elegant and regal…Really a neat place. And while we played hit-or-miss with the rain during our walk around the city, we did manage to enjoy ourselves.

Coming into the main plaza...

At lunch 🙂 Freezing our tails off!

At our lunch spot...

Baden-Baden's cathedral. Gorgeous, but it ain't got nothin' on the Freiburg Munster! 🙂

So there you have it!  Our weekend getaway to Hansel and Gretel land!  And yes, our patience was tried and the elements of the universe weren’t always in our favor, but now that we’re ‘home,’ we had a pretty darn good weekend seeing new places. 🙂  I think the key here is being ‘home’- having eaten a good homemade dinner, taken a nice hot shower, and now curling up with the pups and a blanket on the couch to watch illegally-streaming Netflix on the 60″ flatscreen. Ha!  Guess tomorrow will be the perfect day to start planning next weekend’s adventure…We’re thinking Prague, Czech Republic!

Hope everyone had a good weekend!  I leave you with a picture that sums up a jam-packed weekend…Cheers!


4 Responses to “Grusse von die Schwarzwald!”

  1. megan August 17, 2010 at 11:46 AM #

    I love reading this blog! I think you could do a travel show or something! They are great and I look forward to reading and looking at the pictures…I usually catch myself laughing out loud! I wish you could’ve come to the shower…it was great to see Aunt Robin and Granmamma! FOUR weeks to go and then I can give you all the details!

  2. granmom August 16, 2010 at 4:02 PM #

    Hi Erin and John. I anxiousaly await your blogs and enjoy them a lot.

    Erin it was good to hear your voice yesterday. We missed you at the

    shower for Megan. She is very big but looks so good. Her husband is

    very nice. So down to earth and very attentive of Megan. Keep your

    posts coming. Love you both!

  3. Heather August 16, 2010 at 3:31 AM #

    WOW love all the pics Erin. Glad you guys had a great weekend!

  4. Margaret August 15, 2010 at 10:30 PM #

    The Beechly ancestors are from Baden-Baden area of Germany. We have records of them in the mid 1700.

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