The train meandered through lush green meadows and dense woodlands . Lakes and streams dotted the landscape , lulling us into a deep sleep . A fairy with a magic wand appeared from nowhere and lo ! we were in land of Red Riding hood . All the characters of Grimm Brothers came alive, but there were no wolves or witches to haunt us . We were in Schwarzwald or the Black Forest . Dark and Dense , with pines and conifers, black is beautiful. Cuckoo clocks, the traditional Bollenhut hats and the sensuous black forest gateau filled with the most delicious cherry schnapps, strawberries , cream and chocolates …this is where we had landed .
Our journey into the Black Forest started with Freiburg, a pictureque medieval town flanked by the Black Forest mountains. If you are planning for a walk in the clouds or a hike in the mountains, Freiburg is the destination . The town itself is a beauty to behold. According to Wikipedia , the city was founded in the 12th century and I felt that it probably remains just the way it has been …Like Heidelberg, the old and the new merge – the old town – Augustine platz is quaint and yet bustling..several old monuments, churches, squares dot the town .
The city is filled with Bachle or water that fills the gutters and even small cobbled streets . We followed the sound of water and walked down a narrow alley behind a church and found it gushing .For a moment, I thought that its sewage, but it was crystal clear with no odour . Then one of the shopkeepers corrected me saying that its water from the Black Forest that flows down and its not sewage – apparently its been flowing since the city was founded .
It was late night as we walked to the city centre. We had just had our first meal in the last few days that started with wine and ended with a sumptuous desert . We were doing some window shopping and I was amazed that there were only trams that were allowed into this road. Bright and colourful, these red vehicles added to the beauty of the town . Besides them, there were cyclists all over. Even the trams lugged them . I saw a couple who tied their child’s pram to their cycle and ambled along the road.
Could we for a moment stop and imagine a Linking Road in Bandra or the Brigade Road in Bangalore being open only to cyclists, pedestrains and trams or buses ? No cars, bikes, autos … no noise pollution ..no pollution at all ! No wonder Freiburg , the eco city looks like its set in the middle ages….except for the young students and the modern brands, I thought for a moment, I was in a different world !
And now we wanted to explore the Black Forest . Tourists come here for a week , but for us, it was just a few hours . Unfortunately we just had a dekho ! So, we hopped onto a bus from Freiburg that took us to the cable car (Tal station – Tal means valley )and decided to go up the Schauinsland mountain at 4000 feet high.
Its one the longest and the most beautiful ride that I had ever taken , looking down to see just acres of verdant greenery . As the cable car dipped and soared, kissing conifers and touching flowers , we were breathless taking in the views .This is it ! we were in the famed black forest .The mist clouded our vision, leaving everything hazy and dreamy
And then we decided to go on a trek ourselves into the woods . We were amazed to find the energy among the old who were in their trekking gear . There were several routes , with information at every corner so that amateurs like us could enjoy the black forest without the fear of were wolves .
We wanted more, but there was no time . surprisingly our feet did not cry hoarse -so with the energy we had ,we decided to go to Lake Titisee to enjoy more of the black forest ..We were originally planning to stay there in a farm house, but accomodation was unavailable.
Its a great place to shop, trek, chill – go to one of the spas or a boat ride …But the weather cried foul…we landed there only to realize it was raining..but whats a holiday if you dont enjoy a bit of rain and shine !
Coming up next- Munich !