Monday, February 20, 2012

Day 20 - Black Forest, Germany (2011)

Full day of adventure yet again. This time to explore the beauty of the Black Forest. We expected to see the Black Forest, the cake and the cuckoo clocks.

our hotel for 2 nights at Germany's Black Forest area.
Privathotel Zur Freystatt am Wasserschloss
a 3 star hotel located just across a moated caste. We couldn't have asked for a better location. We booked this hotel because it was the mid-point of sorts to explore the Black Forest (97kms) and to visit the Hohenzollern Castle (38kms) as per hubby's request. Unfortunately, on this trip, we were not able to even have a glimpse of the Hohenzollern Castle. Proof that we really couldn't squeeze everything we wanted to see and do, even if we have a planned itinerary. Things will happen unexpectedly.

We just had to comfort ourselves with the fact that, upon getting out of the hotel, we were welcomed by the site of a moated castle just across the road. We didn't really notice the beauty of this place, and the castle across, since we arrived quite late last night.

Wasserschloss Glatt (Water Castle)
said to be one of the best-preserved castles within the land of Baden-Wurttemberg.One of the few remaining water towers in Germany. Also one of the oldest Renaissance castles in southern Germany.The castle has been opened as a museum and cultural centre since November 2001. - wikipedia
another view of the moated castle with a cross

our route for the day covering around 270kms of the Black Forest area

First stop was at Freiburg which was about 1.5hrs drive from the hotel. The city was the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain, famous for its ancient university and medieval minster. (wikipedia)

I didn't really expect to see the city as it is - booming with trade, a mix of the ancient times with it's architectures, and modern world (with the shops and restaurants surrounding the town centre).

We looked for a parking space and a place to have lunch. We ended up with a pizza place, grabbed a quick bite, and walked around the city.

approaching the medieval minster

Freiburg Minster
the cathedral of Freiburg
The last duke of Zähringen had started the building around 1200 in romanesque style, the construction continued in 1230 in Gothic style. The minster was partly built on the foundations of an original church that had been there from the beginning of Freiburg in 1120. In 1827 the Minster became the seat of the Catholic archbishop of Freiburg and thus a cathedral. - wikipedia
Surrounding the minster were several flea-market-sort-of-stalls (mobile booths). Some were selling flowers. Others were selling wooden toys. There was one which sold native woven bags. I was tempted to buy one, but I knew we still had a long way to go so had to give up that "want" :)

From the minster, we headed to the visitor information centre located at the Altes Rathuas. The kids stayed near the shops where there were benches, while the other adults shopped around for footwear (Birkenstock was cheap in this area) while my sis-in-law and I went to the visitor centre. We asked for a map and suggested itinerary to better explore the Black Forest. Even though we already have an itinerary in mind, it was still best to ask for the experts in the area.

this was a map given to us which highlighted the route we should take to see the best of Black Forest with the limited time we had. It was actually the same route we had planned, but additional directions from the tourist office people helped a lot.

The tourist information centre also sold some postcards and souvenirs. We bought several postcards and mailed them to our hosts from Germany, as well as to the grandparents in the Philippines.

There were some magnets and mini cuckoo clocks on display at the counter. I was particularly interested in this one:

a wooden mini cuckoo clock which really cuckoo. Cool! I was still wondering whether to take it or wait for another shop along the way where I may find a better one. But this looked too cute (and the cost was reasonable enough at Euro 6.95) to pass so I bought it.

We walked back to where the rest of the group was, had the kids write their messages on the postcards, mailed the postcards and headed back to the carpark to start our Black Forest expedition.

Second stop, Todtnau (31kms away) to see the falls. 

a few minutes walk from the carpark to the falls itself.

There was a path leading to the falls. You can choose to go the longer but flat route, or the slightly shorter but steeper, staircase.

Todtnau Falls
97m drop, the highest in Germany

what's good about this place was that there were several benches/sitting areas where people could take a break and admire the falls.

this bench in particular was a reclined bench. I had the chance to lie down, close my eyes for a while, and listen to the sound of the water falling.

the kids were brave enough to climb into the boulders to get closer to the falls

this was as closer to nature as you can get

happy, cold feet 

maidens of the waterfalls

After spending sometime at the falls, it was time to move on to the next leg of the Black Forest exploration drive.

 bidding farewell to a wooden statue at Todtnau

 had a chance to see a mountain goat while walking to the parking lot (which was just located along the highway)

we came upon this area with wind turbines

couldn't resist the photo opportunity

a glimpse into the Black Forest

what a nice day to capture this mirror image from the lake

We actually just parked across the road.

Final stop of the trip was at Titisee-Neudstat. We were hoping to walk along the shore and then check out some shops selling cuckoo clocks. Unfortunately, we had to drive around, like 4 to 5 times, and couldn't find the exact spot where we should take a right turn to get into the town area. Once we took the left side of the road, we exited the town area into this vacant parking space and couldn't go back the same way since it's a one-way street. Somehow, after several tries, we were able to get the right turn and made it to town just before it got dark. 

a view of the Lake Titisee 

the town of Titisee

It was getting late, the breeze was getting colder. And we were getting hungry. It was time to find a place to eat. Most of the shops were already closed (one of the bummers in Europe cause shops close early). We walked around to check which ones were still open and ordered pork knuckles, pizza (yes, in Germany!), pasta and Black Forest cake (with rum).

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