As we touched down in Basel, Switzerland, we thought that we had left the snow storm in England behind us. It wasn’t long before we realised that we were wrong and we were heading to a much colder and snowier Black Forest town!
We arrived in Triberg on Saturday evening as the snow was falling fast and after a quick stop in town for some dinner, we checked into our hotel for a much needed night’s sleep. We woke the next morning to a thick blanket of sparkling white outside our window, made even more beautiful by the frosted fir trees that lined the roads.
As we were a little cautious about driving through the hills in the thick snow, we decided to stay in Triberg for our first day. With plenty to offer, this little hilltop town is a great base for a Black Forest trip. Germany’s highest waterfall runs from the top of the hill down through the centre of the town providing a beautiful backdrop. The streets in Triberg are lined with traditional wood working shops, restaurants and bakeries. In the centre of it all is the ‘House of 100 Clocks’ with its life size, moving bear characters above the doorway. The shop is a haven of all different types of Cuckoo Clocks, traditional and modern, as well as a Swarovski Crystal-encrusted version complete with three 24-Carat gold plated bear figurines. There’s plenty of Black Forest treats to choose from here if you don’t fancy a Cuckoo Clock, you could pick up a bottle of Kirsch or a handmade music box as well as a postcard or two.
After a morning of browsing the shops we decided we needed something sweet. We headed down the hill to Café Schäfer, a family run bakery famous for its Black Forest Cherries dipped in chocolate and, of course, its original recipe Black Forest Gateaux. We devoured our slices of ‘Schwatrzwalderkirschtorte’ and relaxed in the busy atmosphere of the little café before heading back up the for our final excursion of the day: the world’s largest Cuckoo Clock,
just a couple of miles outside of town. This impressive structure really shows the dedication of the woodworkers to their craft and taught us the history of the Cuckoo Clock in the Black Forest. We even managed to catch the Cuckoo calling on our way out!
The next day, the snow had settled and the roads had cleared, so we made our way along the winding roads and through the trees to Titisee. This lively town was animated even in the off season. The frozen lake looked stunning against the dark mountain backdrop and no one seemed to be put off from taking a selfie next to the icy water! After a much needed coffee to warm us up, we walked over to the park for some even better views of the lake and a visit to the glass sided band shell, a fantastic spot to play or listen to some music in the summer months. Just a stone’s throw from the town is the ever popular ‘Badeparadies’, a giant indoor swimming pool, spa and water park unlike any other. The gigantic glass building is filled with tropical plants, water features, cocktail bars and high-tech slides. The roof even slides open on hot days for a spot of sunbathing!
We headed to Freiburg for our final morning, a university town bustling with continental market stalls and busy tram lines. Little waterways, or ‘Bächle’ in German, run throughout the city. Once used for transporting water and fighting fires, they are now used by locals to cool off in the summer. Here we visited the stunning Freiburg Minster, set in the heart of a market square and surrounded by traditional brightly coloured buildings. The minster is just as colourful, with painted figures set into the arch of the main doorway and stained glass at every turn. Seeking a break from the cold wind whipping through the streets, we slipped into one of the many museums Freiburg has to offer and marvelled at a beautiful collection of statues and stained glass gathered from all over the Black Forest.
Before we knew it we were headed back along the motorway and into Switzerland for our flight home. If only we’d been able to fit a Cuckoo Clock into our carry on!
Written by Sara Marquis
Concert Tour Co-ordinator