The Schwarzwald (Black Forest) is approximately 150 kilometers by 50 kilometers which is situated in the south west corner of Germany, east of the Rhine between Karlsruhe and Basel. There are 7,000 kilometers of marked trails and maps are readily available everywhere. There are lakes and ski slopes and lots of shops full of cuckoo clocks - the Black Forest is the home of the cuckoo clock. It is also the home of the Grimm Brothers fictional characters Hansel and Gretel (see the Land of Fairy Tales page for more information about the Brothers Grim). It gets its name from the dense evergreens that fill the forests. A short walk into the densely forested woods will show you that it is aptly named.
We visited the area in August, 2001. Our first foray into the area took to the town of Baden Baden and the surrounding area. Baden Baden’s natural hot springs has become Germany’s fanciest health spa. Hotels abound and we found the town to be quite nice. Interestingly, the main highway that runs through the town actually runs under the town. A tunnel has been built that runs approximately 2.5 kilometers under the main part of town. We were told that residents need a permit to drive their car in the town center. We did notice that there was not much traffic in the center of town but there were numerous parking facilities to accommodate all the visitors.
Just south of Baden Baden is the Mummelsee. Rumor has it that the lake is inhabited by an evil sea king. Mummelsee is quite pretty but beware that there are many tourists attracted to the area and the lake is quite small. We stooped here for lunch on a day trip that was spent riding about many of the beautiful small roads that had very little traffic on them. The picture at right was taken looking away from Mummelsee into one of the many valleys that permeate the area.
The natural beauty of the countryside is the main attraction for the Schwarzwald but swimming or paddling a boat in the lakes, hiking, or a bit of skiing are the main attractions. While downhill skiing is available the majority of the area is suited to cross country skiing. Titisee is the focal point for winter sports. We spent several days in the Titisee area and it is quite peaceful. The lake (left) is quite popular in summer. We saw several large trout swimming in the shallows in one of our many walks about the lake, and only one fisherman.
Everywhere we have stopped their are shops with cuckoo clocks. They have everything from the inexpensive tourist clocks that are only painted and have a plastic bird at the top, to the exquisitely carved masterpieces. At left is a particularly detailed (and expensive) clock that can be yours for a mere DM4980 (about $2,260 US).
On one of our day trips we visited the town of Niedereschach where the after market motorcycle company Touratech has its headquarters here. We feel like we own a piece of their business because we have so much “stuff” on our bikes that they manufacture and sell (see The Bikes page for more information). The staff was very helpful and of course we did not get out of the door without making another contribution for some map cases.
One morning we took a ride in the hills near Neustadt and were rewarded with views of rolling green hills dotted with farm houses. The picture at right is quite typical of the area, broad green fields and the dark green pine forests surrounding them. You can easily understand the name Black Forest because from any distance, the dark green forest looks quite black.
What was not typical, but somewhat amusing, was the personalized advertising for a local holiday apartment, at left. At least someone has a sense of humor! And, the hat is shaped from a sheet of copper.
At right is another, more expansive view of the Swarzwald area near Neustadt. The roads often run along the edge of the woods, as can be seen at the left of the picture. Or they meander gently over the hills and through the valleys. Overall, quite a pleasant way to travel!
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