After our stop in France it was back to Germany, a place neither of us were really used to, me being a tourist and Carlo a recent transplant. I had suggested visiting the Black Forest, kind of our original purpose for getting a car, so it only made sense that was our next step. The problem with this decision is that the Black Forest is a big place and we had no idea where we should go. I did a very minimal amount of research and tore a few pages out of an old Lonely planet, but other than that we didn't have much to go off of. Given our current location we decided to give Freiburg a shot, thinking we could drive through a good portion of the other cities on our way back to Stuttgart the following day.
We once again had no plans of where we'd be sleeping, but figured if we arrived by mid afternoon we shouldn't have trouble finding a place. Maybe I should mention, Carlo had recently finished a trip through Cambodia and Vietnam, so I think we were both playing off our SE Asia experiences, unfortunately those rules do not apply in Europe. We dropped into the Black Forest Hostel, confident they'd have something available, but were quickly turned away with a, "we're book for two weeks, maybe you can try one of these" and handed a list of nearby accommodation. Google told us there were two other hostel options in town so we decided to check those out, but took a snapshot of the list they gave us, just in case. Option 2 was no where to be found, instead only an Asia grocery story at the address listed, and 3 like the first, was fully booked. We returned to our car and contemplated what to do, expensive hotel in this hippy little town or drive somewhere else and hope for the best?
I was in favor of moving on, if we were going to pay for something why not make it something in the Black Forest. Carlo's only concern was that we'd be bored in a small town with nothing to do, but to be honest Freiburg wasn't looking all that promising itself. There was also contemplation of sleeping in our car but that eventually got vetoed and we made our way towards Triberg, another of the small towns stared on my map. I googled guesthouses in the area and found one for a reasonable price, so without much else to pick from we made a reservation and hoped for the best. So long Freiburg, thanks for the hippie sightings, but I'm not sure I'll be returning anytime soon.
We arrived at our guesthouse as night fell, once again hungry and also wondering just where we were, it didn't seem there was much in this town, in fact, I think our guesthouse was the highlight of the block. We walked in and were properly stared at by both the man behind the bar and the two customers he was serving. Carlo mentioned we had a reservation which was answered with fast Germany and a "No English" gesture. About the same time a younger man (the son) came out of the back room welcoming Carlo and immediately launching into Italian. Upon hearing this the old man sputtered what I understood to be "Why didn't you tell me you were Italian" and we were quickly welcomed.
We were right that there wasn't anything to do within close reach of our guesthouse, but aside from eating dinner we didn't desire much. I had been craving pizza for a few days (Italy spoiled me) so it was a pleasant surprise that our guesthouse owners were Italian, surely they would know how to make a proper pizza. I was wrong, so wrong, never in my life have I been served a veggie pizza with carrots on it, and never again do I hope for that to happen.
After leaving the guesthouse it was time to explore Triberg, highlights included a waterfall and the worlds largest cuckoo clock, surely we wouldn't be disappointed. We ventured first into the city, only a few minutes from our guesthouse, and walked around. Unfortunately, aside from buying cuckoo clocks, kitschy trinkets or an awesome hat, there wasn't much to do there. The waterfall was an hour or so walk into the forest and Carlo didn't seem too thrilled about it, so instead we moved on. Driving for about 10 minutes brought us to the top attraction, the cuckoo clock, and yeah it was cool, but we failed again, we should have planned our visit about 15 minutes sooner so we could have seen the cuckoo in action.
We decided to just keep driving, the views throughout the Black Forest must be impressive, right? Our final stop was in Schiltach, another notable small town, however I don't really remember why. I'm pretty sure it was the jumping off point for a few good walks through the forest, but we didn't partake. Instead, a quick stroll through the small town, and a stop for cake. I mean you can't stop in the Black Forest and not eat the cake, right?
Our Black Forest adventures ended with an impromptu roadside photo shoot before returning to the city. This write up probably makes it sound like we didn't do much (maybe because I'm writing it 5 months later), but it was worth it. We saw the sights, ate the food and caught up on nearly 10 years of "I'm coming to visit" promises. Upon returning to Stuttgart we had dinner plans with yet another Greendale High School alumni, same grade, who just so happened to be living in Stuttgart, I'm telling you this world is getting smaller and smaller everyday. Now to get Carlo to come see me in Korea!