Because we love Freiburg and all the people in it, we decided to repeat our little trip from last year, effectively making it an annual tradition. This time we moved it to December, so that apart from all the food and people and places we like, we could also enjoy the xmas markets and snow. Unfortunately, the snow was not quite there (that only came a couple weeks later after new year’s, dammit!), but everything else was in place. We stayed with our great friend, which was amazing, and we also rented a little car this time, so we were super flexible. We did it all – Schauinsland over the clouds, Feldberg, Titisee, flammkuchen in Goldener Sternen, Feierling with friends (they have a new annexe and it’s pretty!), gluhwine, Turkish and Thai. For markets, we explored not only the usual Freiburg ones, but went also to Ravennaschlucht outside of town, where the market is nicely located in a gorge under a tall train viaduct, and we also swung by the Basel markets on our way back to the airport. So the only bother on the whole trip were, traditionally, the UK trains which were on strike, causing us to get up at 4am on the way there to be able to make it to Gatwick, and further stress on the way back. I am done with complaining about UK trains on this blog, but if they don’t nationalise this omnishambles soon, my head might explode. But we did not let that spoil anything, and we enjoyed ourselves a lot.
We wanted to get up real early and go for a long hike but of course that idea didn’t go down so well with people who wanted to have a ‘proper Sunday lie-in’ cause they never get to sleep in, so there we were, stuck in a traffic jam quarter to noon on the road to the HÃ¶llental valley. Oh well, it cleared up quickly, and the drive through the valley was pretty as ever.
We arrived in Saig, and despite Henry trying hard, we couldn’t find parking in the village. Eventually, we just left Claude in a little clearance by the forest behind the village, hoping noone would tow him away. But the village seemed pretty sleepy and quiet, so we didn’t really think anyone would bother. Of course, once we started walking, we found the parking place in Saig all ready.
Saig is a very small and traditional schwarzwald village, couldn’t be more stereotypical if it tried.
From Saig we took the steep hill up to Hochfirst. From there we had a beautiful view down on the Titisee area.
But that was not enough for us, we decided to go up the watchtower as well! The watchtower looked like a mobile transmitter or something like that but had a nice double winding staircase inside, and a platform up on top with legend for identifying mountains and hills around. Unfortunately, the horizon was quite hazy, so we could not see the Alps. We did have a nice chat with a German dude, who started talking about the tower falling over as soon as he heard from Iest that he does not enjoy heights.
When we had enough of disaster scenarios we decided to go on with our trail, which led us along the Beerwaldhauptweg. This was all through the forest, which Iest found nice, since they don’t have forests where he comes from, I found it a bit boring, although quite bearably. We also found one nice hut with an autumn view and forgotten digital camera on the inside (curiously, with some antipodean pictures on it), we left it there.
We were looking forward to seeing the Francosenkreutz commemorating the fallen in a battle between the French and the Austrians in the aftermath of the French Revolution in 1799, but we were kind of disappointed.
However, the village Kappel was really nice with beautiful old farmhouses and spunky cows.
We were happy to find Claude where we left him, waiting for us all good. And we headed home after a nice little walk, looking forward to our yum cake, also waiting where we left him.
One evening, Gina bought home a couple of books about the Black Forest. One’s full of day trips that we can do with Claude the Auto, and the other if full of hikes in and around the Hills of the Black Forest:
Saturday: So, over the weekend, as the weather was beautiful, we decided to combine both books, by taking a nice drive up the valley, then depart on a short walk. The drive took us up the beautiful valley of Â HÃ¶llental (Hell’s Valley) – one of the most impressive valleys in the Black Forest. The valley isÂ richÂ in history and legends, whichÂ our book proudly describes to us, and was beautifullyÂ narrated by Gina as we drove along. Our first stop was by the ‘Hirschsprung’Â (“Deer’s Jump”) – the narrowest Â part of the valley, and was originally only 9 metres wide. Thus a common tale is existing about a red deer jumping across the 9m wide valley to escape from hunters, and in commemorative to these fine red deers, they’veÂ erectedÂ a lovely statue on the (now wider) part of the pass.
After some serious hairpin turns, and an almost full 360 degree corner around a pointed cliff peak in the middle of the road, we arrived at the top of the valley, which we were rewarded with some fine views of theÂ HÃ¶llental.
WeÂ continued East for a few more Kilometers, until we reached a nice lake called Titisee. Here was our walk for the day – a 7km gentle round circuit of the lake. It was indeed a really easy trail, as people from all strokes of life wandered around the lake with us. I enjoyed theÂ leisurely stroll, but we now know, that the blue colouredÂ Â routes on our walking book is indeed aimed for old people :)
After filling our bellies, we decided to take another route home, and do a circular trip with Claude. We headed West towards the village of Todtnau (where we went to before), and then up theÂ Todtnauberg Valley, where Germany’s highest natural waterfall crashes at 97m high, the “Todtnauer Wasserfall”. It’s a pretty area, where you can climb up above the falls, dip your feet into the water, and look down the valley. Located above the waterfall, there is a bridge, that you can cross the falls, and go hiking up and around the woods.
And from there, we headed home to Freiburg.
Sunday: Late on Sunday evening, we decided to go for another trip, this time exploring the North. Our destinations were the village of Waldkirch, and the peak of Kandel. WaldkirchÂ looked like a very sleepy village, and is quite famous for creating the musical Organs. Here also, there is a castle – the ruins of Kastelburg. We headed up the ‘KnightÂ Trail’ and was awarded with a beautiful view over the whole village, and the pretty Kandel sitting high above.
The castle is a fine castle. Built right ontop of a rock. There were stairs going right up to the top, but, as I can’t stand man made heights, I found it very hard to go up two levels. Gina on the other hand, made it all the way to the top without any trouble, and manage to take a few pretty pictures of the view (like the one of the village above).
After pottering about a wee bit, we set our eyes on the peak of Kandel. Claude the Auto took us all the way to the top, just over 1200m high. We had spectacular views of the Black Forest from the summit, but it was a shame the haze of summer was closing in, and we couldn’t see beyond the Forest, it’s said that on a fine day, you can see as far as the Vosges, and even the Swabian Alb. There’s some pretty epic legends about this hill. In earlier time, the Hill was known as ‘The Witches Mountain of the Black Forest’ – and to this day, the cliff is called ‘Teufelskanzel’, which translates to ‘Devil’s Pulpit’.
And that concludes our epic first trips around the Black Forest. There will be plenty more to come in the future!