Friday, 23 September 2016

Cuckoo Clocks and Black Forest Cake

While our stay at the Gasthaus Zur Staude was a very pleasantly rural surprise, we did specifically choose to stay in this particular area of the Black Forest for a reason – we wanted to visit the town of Triberg…

The cuckoo clock capital of the world.  Sitting right on the main street that passes through the center of town is the House of 1000 Cuckoo clocks.  It’s quite a sight as you can imagine, and hard to miss as the outside of the store is a gigantic and adorable real working cuckoo clock.  Every hour the bears dance, climb up and down the rope, music plays, and as you would expect, a cuckoo bird pops out of the little wooden door at the top tweeting the hour. 

Inside, there really are hundreds of cuckoo clocks of every shape and size. It’s a noisy place, but it’s fascinating for both the young and old to see all the different scenes that decorate these fine clocks which were introduced to the world from right here in the Black Forest.  I thought long and hard about getting one of the classic wooden chalet style clocks, but I wondered if I would drag it all the way back to the USA with us, put it up on our wall, step back and wonder, “Now why in the heck did I think a cuckoo clock was a good idea?”  Now that I’m back home, I sort of wish I had one of the beautiful clocks hanging on my wall keeping me company during the day.  

But there is more to find in the charming Black Forest town of Triberg than just cuckoo birds…

This region is also home to the Black Forest Cake (hence the name if you didn’t catch that), or Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte as it's known in German, and there are signs offering up thick slices of this deliciously sweet and tart dessert everywhere.  Beautiful signs I might add.

The day we visited Triberg it was rainy.  But that didn’t really dampen our spirits.  We walked around the small town enjoying its laid back, charming and welcoming atmosphere.   

The little shops were full of all kinds of Germany trinkets, lots of cuckoo clocks, and colorful traditional Germany dresses.  

It's funny and I'm not sure why this is (my own naivete I guess), but when we traveled to Italy and France and Spain, I fully expected to find ornately decorated churches, but I wasn't expecting it so much here in southern Germany.  As we walked up a hill towards the steeple we could see above the town and saw the exterior of the church as we approached, it fit with this expectation.  

It is beautiful in it's simplicity, but very modest in it's decoration.  

But then we went inside...

and I was blown away by the exceptionally ornate interior of this church which is relatively small in size compared to many others we have seen in Europe.

After lunch and exploring the town a bit more, we started on a hike, following a trail through the forest and up a hill high above the town.  We passed a small but powerful waterfall that gave testament to the fact that this Black Forest can be a rainy place, as it was that day.

The girls and I took a break on a soggy bench that was conveniently perched on the side of the path while we waited for Eric to take his photographs, using our raincoats to keep our backsides dry.

As we reached the top of the hill and emerged from the forest into an open field, it started raining and it just got heavier and heavier as we tried to continue. 

We turned back.  But all was not lost because as we dropped back into the town of Triberg, we found a cozy restaurant to stop in, and there we had a nice warm cup of coffee…

And a thick slice of creamy Black Forest Cake.  There were smiles all around.

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