Close your eyes, take a deep breath and think of the Black Forest. What comes to your mind? Is it the southwest of Germany, a region of fairytale towns, surrounded by forests, lakes, and mountains with a tart flavor? Although the literal meaning would lead us to an inhospitable Forest in a secluded place, the truth is that we have it is a wooded region with a barbarity of firs, ferns and other species, a dark green color mossy type. It is so dark, that it looks black, and hence the name.

The Black Forest is one of the most attractive destinations in Germany, especially for people who want to be in direct contact with nature or who travel with children. To say that we came back in love is little. As the days go by, we gradually become enchanted of its charming villages, the intense green of its forests of towering trees or those huge lakes where the mountains and impressive valleys are reflected as if it were a mirror.

If you fit all the pieces of the puzzle, some landscapes are drawn that seem to be taken from the pages of the most beloved stories but without witches or stepmothers. During our trip by car through Germany, we spent several days in the beautiful Black Forest, a tourist region in the south-west of the country. More than a region, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald in German) is actually the popular name with which it has been historically known as a wooded area.

The name of our new destiny goes back to the time of the Roman Empire in what they called the Black Forest. They baptized it that way, impressed by the density of its forests and the darkness of its roads. It was part of the boundaries of the feared barbarians with whom they battled to exhaustion.

The impenetrability and darkness of an excessive population of fir trees were characteristics that defined a border too complicated to access. Although they did, since in some places there is a trace of their passage. This vast forest area is a huge mountainous massif located in southwestern Germany, more specifically in the State of Baden-Würtemberg.

It starts at the same point where the borders of 3 countries like Germany, Switzerland, and France coincide (perhaps the Swiss city of Basel is its beginning), and climbs 160 kilometers to the north (Karlsruhe).

In this post, we leave you some suggestions about places to see in the Black Forest so that you can explore it on your own.


My trip to Germany had two parts. The first was to enjoy cities such as Nuremberg or Ulm and the second in the southern Black Forest. It was a three-day getaway away from fumes, traffic jams, hurries and beeps breathing fresh air and knowing a different culture. Together with my friend, I prepared an itinerary during a series of holidays in which half of the world plans to take a break before Christmas.

With all of that, we should only entrust ourselves to luck and let ourselves be carried away by a few days of the road through unimaginable places. The best way to visit the Black Forest is through a road trip. You already know that we do not like driving too much, but to move around the Black Forest, the best thing is the rental car. We hired the car for the next 3 days.

It was like a summer flirt so it's nice to rent a car! It gives us a lot of freedom of movement, allows us to stop where and when we wanted and enjoy calmly the spectacular landscapes that we see there. The roads in Germany are excellent. Everything is well marked, and there is not much traffic. Driving through the valleys and the winding roads was a real treat for the eyes.

Many times the heart and the head asks us to stop to enjoy some dreamy panoramic views. We sigh with our eyes lost in the horizon of a thick forest that seems to have no end. From here you can read a chronicle-summary of what happened during the trip. Sit for a while, get on the flight with us and come for a virtual tour of a region bathed in the suggestive fog in which time is only measured by the hypnotic ticking of cuckoo clocks. Willkommen!

The beginnings are always difficult, and more so when one depends on the seriousness and responsibility of the airlines. A delay in the flight made us fear until the last moment to arrive or not to get the car we had rented as the office closes at eleven o'clock at night. Finally, they waited for us (charging us 30 euros) although with a surprise.

They had given us an automatic car when we had requested in advance and in writing to give us a "manual" one. Unfortunately, according to the people of the company they did not have more cars, so the saleswoman left with a smile and left us there a little stunned.

It may seem easy to drive an automatic car, but when you are used to driving a manual car for almost a decade, it is not so simple. The gear shift had different letters and numbers from top to bottom that we had to interpret. Obviously, there was no clutch, because that is the particularity of manual cars.

So in the cold and lonely parking of the airport, we did tests in the BMW that they had given us to be able to get out of there with security and to move us by highway to Freiburg. Little by little I was getting cozy with the car and understanding how it worked. Although the most complicated thing was to get rid of the manias to which one is accustomed.

After a few laps around the airport, we decided to leave and look for the exit to the German A5 motorway. We crossed the border and well past one o'clock in the morning, with a light rain, we had covered the 60 kilometers that separate Freiburg from Basel.

We found our hotel immediately as it stands visible in the same Train Station. We left the BMW in an underground parking lot and quickly accessed our clean and modern room to sleep as soon as possible, as we had an intense day. The key was to take advantage of the daylight hours, more rare than usual during the winter season. The morning began after eight o'clock and it was dark at around four-thirty.



Freiburg

An eclectic and squeaky cell phone alarm put us on our feet minutes before eight o'clock in the morning. There was already some light, corresponding to an incipient dawn that could hardly be seen by the clouds that covered the sky of Freiburg. At least it does not rain. Outside it was not too cold, especially to be in the month of December. We dedicate the whole morning of Easter Sunday to visit Freiburg im Breisgau.

With a guide in hand and the camera ready to take the images that were necessary, we started our trek into the interior of Freiburg. It is a university city with a lot of life and a historical center more than attractive. As is usual in the German cities, the most interesting in terms of visits is the Altstadt (old town). The best thing to enjoy this city is to walk and walk until we come to the Cathedral.

It seems to be taken from a medieval story, and the buildings around it. The Old Town is a succession of houses rehabilitated and cured to the detail. It is the same with the commercial premises and the mosaics of its cobblestones. In Freiburg, the most remarkable historical center is marked by Münsterplatz, which is how it is known as the Cathedral Square.

During the week the farmers market delights locals and visitors around the Cathedral Square. Freiburg stands out for its cobbled streets, its location at the edge of the Black Forest, its relaxed and young atmosphere, its commitment to the environment and its quality of life. From there the city opens up in charming narrow streets whose unblemished buildings do not seem to have witnessed a cruel struggle that never understood beautiful things.

To go to that point from the station we take the Eisenbahnstrasse, which we follow straight on. Without moving direction we agreed to what seemed the beginning of the old quarter. It is the previous street to the Town Hall Square (Rathausplatz), decorated with meticulous Christmas effects that adorned it to the highest levels.

This place has two really beautiful councils (the old and the new). The New (Neues Rathaus) is smaller and red. The old man is perhaps the most striking and the one who gives the Plaza great character. In the same, a Christmas market attracted the attention of numerous passers who were left wrapped by the proximity of magical dates.

After this place, we continue our way and cross what is undoubtedly the main artery of the city. There are not only in shops but also in wires since almost all the tram lines pass through there. I am referring to the Kaiser-Joseph-Strasse, always populated with citizens going from one side to the other. La Martinstor (Tower of San Martín) is one of the emblems of the city. We leave it to the right, but not before letting us be photographed by friendly Germans.

There are a few details of Freiburg that should be taken into account because they are simple to visualize. The first has to do with the existence of runnels in many of the pedestrian streets. They are called Bächle. Their original function was to transport non-potable water, taking advantage of the fresh springs of the surrounding mountains.

Nowadays they are the memory of past times and for many tourists, especially in the summer, they serve to wet the ground and tired feet. It is something very curious because it is a system that I had only seen before in some villages of the Comarca de la Vera in Extremadura. That it is preserved in a city is something truly admirable.

The other detail has to do with the cleanliness of the streets. It is difficult to find a paper on the floor or a graffiti on the wall of a house, which surely will have a splendid color (among the many existing shades).

And another of the easy things to find are small golden plates on the ground that lead us to remember that there lived people who were deported to the Nazi Extermination Camps in a bygone era but far from forgotten. Practically in all, you can read a terrifying name: Auschwitz. In those moments when I read these plaques, my visit came to my mind months before to this place near Krakow. Here it is still possible to breathe fear, suffering and also the most inhuman hatred and evil.

After crossing some colorful and ornate streets we finally found ourselves face to face with the majestic Cathedral surrounded by an animated Market Square (Marktplatz). Here fruits, vegetables, sausages and various riches of the excellent jungle cuisine were sold. The Münster, which is what is called the Cathedral, with reddish walls rises a little over 100 meters pointing to the highest point of the German sky.

The porch guesses the beauty of a building whose interior houses treasures converted into stained glass windows capable of turning light into a labyrinth of colors. One of the most interesting things that can be done there is to climb the steps of the bell tower and get a beautiful 360 ° panorama of the city. It is amazing the proximity of the forest and the mountain that reminded us vividly that we were in the leafy Black Forest.

Architecturally nothing escaped our view. Although above all stand out the Towers that once formed part of the walled enclosure that surrounded Freiburg. The aforementioned Martinstor and the Schwabentor is a long door from the 13th century that led us to imagine the splendid Middle Ages. Looking towards the train station we could distinguish our hotel. Looking beyond we had the opportunity to appreciate the French Vosges. It was very little the distance that separated us from the Gallic country, in what is a region of great cultural richness: the Alsace. Another route worth preparing someday (Wow, there are so many).

But in the Münsterplatz besides the Cathedral and the multiple stalls stand out some properly restored buildings. For example, the one that at the time had the function of "granary" and distinguished by its stepped façade. More spectacular to my liking is the "Baroque house" built by Christian Wentzinger in 1761. It today houses a museum of municipal history. It is clearly visible by its color that seems to have been obtained from the clay, in addition to some beautiful sculptures on its front.

From this baroque house, there is an alley that for very little exceeds a meter in width. We took the same to go to the Augustinerplatz, where they were restoring the Museum of Medieval Art. Freiburg seems like a fairy tale, and more so when you find the channel that characterizes the Fishermen's Quarter. Going up beyond this channel we reach the Schwabentor, which as I mentioned before is one of the most representative Doors/Towers of the city.

The other is the Martinstor, further south, in the Kaiser-Joseph Strasse. Very close to the first, there is a wooded mound that serves as a park in whose interior stands a small fortress of French origin (Schlossberg). We have nice views of Freiburg climbing the upper part of the Slos Schosberg on foot. We take the opportunity to have lunch in the restaurant with nice views. We made this route in about three and a half hours, and we went to our next stage.

Lonely Planet, in addition to other guides, recommends its ascent if you want to appreciate some wonderful views. We started the job but when half-way we saw that we did not reach the top, we thought more than once if we should continue. We had the answer when we saw a man perfectly equipped to do a mountain walk. Wow, it imposed a little and I think that to reach the top of the watchtower takes much more time than we had planned to invest. Still, at the half height, we can see the whole of a beautiful city surrounded by nature. Enough elements stand out to give a very good grade and my most sincere recommendation to all travelers.

We enter again in Freiburg. It is increasingly lively, mixing in the streets overflowing with youth, happiness and of course good food. It was in the Plaza de la Catedral where we paid homage in terms of food at a great price. The stalls of sausages and hamburgers (the good ones, the traditional ones) are the best option for small pockets and big stomachs. In addition, soft drinks and beers are much larger and cheaper. Wow, that's what bottles are.

We returned to the Kaiser-Joseph Strasse, where there was an impressive traffic jam, as it is the only public transport that passes through there. Infinite shops and franchises known by all took both sides until we reach the San Martín Tower, which crosses at the bottom. Going to the right of it, we accessed the university district. The renovated buildings still have traces of shots and shrapnel suffered in World War II. All you have to do is look at the red walls to notice. Nowadays it is a garden full of life and bicycles in which young people come and go.

After more time walking, observing and photographing, we decided to go to the car to continue our trip. The next objective was to reach Lake Titisee where we would spend the night. It was to the east, thirty kilometers away. But we wanted to reach it by going around it. With a map in one hand and the guide in the other, we agreed to go by another lonely road through the mountain and thus being able to check with our eyes the exciting landscapes that bathe the Black Forest. After all, that's the most interesting thing in the region.

With an exemplary signaling, we began our ascent to the Schauinsland, a mountain of 1284 meters where the clouds played at half height. The normal thing is to climb it in the funicular. But as it was closed, we penetrated in the sinuous and narrow highway from which a Paradise was seen in all rule. Schauinsland is known as "the Mount of Freiburg". The thermometer of the car went down, grade by grade until we were approximately at 0º.

The excessive humidity prevented it from falling much more. But on the contrary, the cold was more harmful, the one that penetrates your bones. We leave the car on the shoulder and walk through the solitary and silent trails dyed ocher of earth and leaves. The fog favored an environment in which getting lost can be easier than you think. In the background, there are the green valleys dotted with farms and old houses. Its chimneys blew smoke from the evergreen bonfires that give something more than warmth.

Despite being a little after one o'clock, the light had already fallen significantly. We could see that we were caressing winter, a dark and cold period that is accentuated as we ascend to higher latitudes. That is why we took the car to not entertain too much, lest it gets dark before reaching the lake.

We continue, therefore, through our meandering valleys and hills, leaving behind unforgettable panoramas in which I would have stopped again and again to take photographs. It is difficult to avoid the click of the camera, with which I try to reflect what my eyes see.

The first area of relative importance was once we crossed the Mountain Pass at Todtnau. It is a Climatic Station of little more than 5000 inhabitants where the first ski club of Germany was founded. Due to the high temperatures for the time in which we were, the lifts and chairlifts, just in front of the town, were standing. It was waiting for better times to attract the many lovers of skiing both in the country and elsewhere in the world.

The town itself apart from silence does not have too many attractions. Perhaps the church with two towers with an onion-shaped dome seems to mix with the lush forest that emerges from them. In the outskirts, the Todtnauer waterfalls, form the best of the natural museums of the area.

We continue along highway 317 in the direction of Lake Titisee. Although before arriving we expected another of those mountainous climbs that take away the hiccups. Mount Feldberg (1419 meters) is the highest point of the Black Forest. There it was not strange to find ourselves with the snow and with a temperature of -3º in which some skied and others made snow with their colorful boards.

The slopes shone whitishly that was made up of pines and firs with an impossible Christmas appearance. It would be one of the two occasions when I saw a total winter landscape. And at the top of my head came that splendid trip to Finland a year before, on whose most arctic borders we enjoyed the snow in a big way.

Not many kilometers away, and after getting lost a couple of times, we finally reach Titisee, whose lake of the same name is one of the busiest destinations in summer periods. It is a very tourist area, where the main attraction is the Lake. It is very difficult to find parking since from early in the morning, there is full of Japanese tourists. Around the Lake, there are many Souvenir shops.

It seemed like the Benidorm of the Black Forest. The vegetation of dark fir trees in this area is absolutely spectacular. So it is a more than appropriate torque to see trees closely. We do a ziplines activity climbing through the trees. Despite the rain, as we had already booked, I did not want to waste the opportunity. It was something I was going to do for the first time and I was very excited. With the inestimable help of my instructor, I could barely complete the first circuit that he said was for children. Of course, I had a great time.

In this "baby" zip line, I just had to sit down and throw myself into the void. I appreciate my life but my honor was at stake so I swallowed and I did! After such a show of courage, what will be the next extreme challenge? It was something that I love and recommend. We go around the lake in Kayak. We spend the rest of the day trekking on one of the hiking trails around the lake. We climb up to the highest natural ski jump in Germany, where jumping competitions are practiced (Hochfirst Schanze)

We stayed in a family hotel with a rural and traditional character, located just 300 meters from the lake. It has a quite quiet and cozy atmosphere, ideal for relaxing a weekend and fleeing from worries. There was not even an hour to go at night. So we left the room as soon as we dropped our luggage. We went straight to the lake, on whose edge the hotels and rental houses shine with the Christmas decorations. There were hardly any tourists. Those little crazy people who think of going there at the dawn of winter.

Titisee, with its 2 kilometers long and 700 meters wide, is the largest natural lake in the Black Forest. Its name remembers Emperor Tito, who passed through there with the Roman Legion two thousand years before. Two millennia later, there was me, who witnessed the closing of lights on the icy waters in which swan and ducks splashed that always give a touch of elegance. Although the cold, the humidity, the wind and the gray of the sky did not help much.

We ate Kebab in a Turkish restaurant near the shore, one of the few that opened at that time. The empty stomachs were grateful for the food, although so did our few current accounts that benefited from this choice. After lunch, we walked around the lake watching the darkness cling to us in the same way as an incipient rain that would not leave us for a second until the next day.

There we took pictures like crazy, and the weather started to get worse. One of the things that you cannot forget in your suitcase is the raincoat. In the south of Germany, the weather is always hotter than in the rest of the country and it rains less. But we must not forget that there is a humid climate.

The downside of being at night so soon in such a lonely place is that it limits the "what to do" quite a bit. Although it did provide us with a tranquility that was good for getting rid of the stress of the city that is with us all year. We had slept a few hours and it was good to have so much time to rest a lot before starting the second stage of the trip. Because the plan, if time did not prevent it too much, promised a lot.



Triberg

The rain had not stopped for a single second throughout the night. The water hit the floor of the terrace and even the window, supported by a wind that made it very difficult for us to leave for eight thirty in the morning. We took it easy and went down to breakfast at the hotel's free buffet, well prepared and charged for energy. A roadmap on the table served to dot our goals for the day we would go north through the wildest heart of the Black Forest. A group of Spaniards sat at the next table and they took with resignation the horrible time that morning. It did not look like they were going to move too much from the hotel.

Even so, I had faith in my usual luck with meteorology. Well, I even managed to have a sunny blue day in London a month before. This could not be missed for anything in the world. And as if my wishes were orders, the rain stopped for the first time in more than 15 hours as soon as we put the suitcases in the car. I could not be more surprised. It was a small truce, a wink that we did not intend to waste. We put the soundtrack that we listen to ad nauseam. And here are our visits of the day with some comments about it:

In the heart of the Black Forest, with 6000 inhabitants Triberg constitutes one of the most important bastions. Triberg is one of the most touristic villages of the Black Forest. As we move along the road, the forests darken and the atmosphere becomes more dramatic. We change context. It stops showing as a story for children, and could well represent the setting of the next mystery thriller. It is famous for having the highest waterfalls in southern Germany. The paths allow us to enjoy wonderful views of forest and water until sunset.

In Triberg there is the Museum of the Black Forest, which perfectly explains the particularities of a region with a lot of tradition and character. The operation of the watches, the typical clothing, the curious Bollen shades, a huge model of the train that runs through many towns in the area, a large collection of minerals obtained in some of the jungle mines. Not bad if you want to learn the culture and the history of the place.

We visit the Black Forest Museum to learn about the culture and tradition in the Black Forest. We see the typical costumes, the way of life in the Black Forest throughout history, as well as the craftsmanship of the cuckoo clocks. In Triberg we also want to see the biggest cuckoo clock in the world. We went running, exhausted. We did not want them to close. We tried to see it in the distance in case the giant cuckoo stood out among the mountains.

In the end, it turns out that it was like another house, in size, but with the operation and mechanism of the cuckoos inside. It's funny, but the inside visit, if you do not have time, is dispensable and you save the 4 euros of the entry fee. From outside and for free you can see the same. What if it is worth arriving shortly before 18.00 to see the little bird go out (leaves every hour) and make CU-CU-CU-CU-CU-CU (6 times). (It leaves every hour singing as many cu-cus as the hour is).

This invention that has several centuries of antiquity is one of the Patrimonies of those who boast the most in these places. The soniquete cu-cu has become an art for which you pay and a lot. But Triberg does not only live on the pendular mechanics of these devices since the passage of the Gutach River offers a natural spectacle worthy of any visit. I refer to his masterful Waterfall, whose seven steps constitute the largest waterfall in the country. Nothing more and nothing less than 163 meters.

To enter to see them you have to pay, although when we were there was not even that possibility. Because during certain periods of the year, aware of the heavy rains and the powerful wind, they close the trails or walking trails. But since we were there we could not leave without more. So we took advantage of a small break in the protection fence and made the way aware that it was something not allowed.

We went following the riverbed down a slope that could be exhausting in its return, especially. With a superlative humidity, we end up arriving at a series of bridges where we can see the foamy and wild waterfall in its very strong pass. We were alone witnessing, listening and feeling (because it splashed water) the Gutach's fury.

No matter how many photos I took, I did not know how to reflect in the best possible way what I was seeing at that moment. And I have to admit that that minimum breach of the rule turned out to be one of the most successful things we could do. That fall of water is not seen anywhere, no doubt.

As I mentioned before, the return was more than hard. The steep slope that led to the car left us really safe. Near the end, it began to rain copiously. Luckily he had respected us down there in the Cascade because otherwise we would have had puffs to the bowels.

After the exuberant Wassefälle (water jump in German) we went to Triberg itself, surrounded by 3 mountains as indicated by its name. We left the car in front of the Town Hall (we have to pay to park) located on the main street (Hauptstrasse). It crosses the town, dividing it into two parts. From here walking we see the attractions of this place, which to a greater or lesser extent are the watch shops.

In one of them, there are more than a thousand devices and it has an enormous one in its façade (although not the biggest one, for that we had to move more). I was looking at models and prices but I did not dare to buy any because to start talking (and being a non-electronic mechanic) you have to overcome 150 euros. There are cheaper ones, it's true, but they do not reach the sole of the shoes of many others that represent phenomenally large houses of the Black Forest. There is a business, and apparently, it pays well.

Here I also taste the famous Black Forest cake in one of the many pastry shops. I do not like sweets that carry too much liquor, but I cannot leave without tasting a piece of cake. Surprisingly, the taste has nothing to do with the appearance. It was incredibly light. Although in Triberg I end up paying more and was much more expensive than in Freiburg or Gengenbach. We left Triberg for our hotel in Freiburg. It was a journey of just over an hour between rain and forests. We were very happy, with the treatment and the recommendations made by the staff in places to visit and restaurants.

Schonach is the rival of the neighbor Triberg for almost everything, but more for the size and grandeur of its Cuckoo Clocks. They boast of having "the greatest" of all. A half-truth because that title has been taken away from another located in Schonachbach, at the exit of Triberg towards Hornberg. The moment we arrived in this town the rain turned into a flood.

On the B33 road, as soon as we leave Triberg there is a narrow detour to another one of those stores that have built a Cuckoo Clock on its facade. It appears in the Guinness Book as "the largest in the world". So it has become a tourist attraction and "business" due to the waves of buses that park in the vicinity to see it and if you can, buy something.

Just when we got to Schiltach, the strong downpour that stopped us from stopping in other towns of interest like Gutach, Haslach or Wolfach stopped. And I think it was a sign of fate that had left us the best of the day for this point. Because Schiltach has all the ingredients that are part of a fairytale town. Each and every one of the houses has wooden frames. It's roofs in peak rise towards the sky as well as the forests upholstered with millions of fir trees among which the fog made a feint to join the party.

This population framed in the valley of the Kinzig River perfectly reflects the stereotypes of a typical village in the Black Forest. There is traditional architecture, silence, pure air, nature in abundance. And of course, there are a few markets with Christmas decorations and good food. It was here, sitting next to the bridge through which the Kinzig River passes, where we decided to eat something. And to top it all, the sky painted the clouds of blue bringing us the long-awaited Sun that had been hidden for a few days.

In addition to each and every one of the traditional houses, we see the Marktplatz (Market Square) located on the slope where the stepped 16th century Town Hall stands and a small fountain.

To walk through Schiltach is to return to the Middle Ages or to the books written by Grimm brothers. Without a doubt a place marked with an x ​​in which is missing by not assist.

At just 15 kilometers north of Schiltach, Alpirsbach is a town of 7000 inhabitants whose origin comes from a convent with almost a thousand years old. The Klosterkirche St. Benedict is one of the most visited of the Black Forest, in spite of their capricious schedules that prevented our visit. According to Lonely Planet, it opens daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from mid-April to November, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from mid-March to mid-April and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays from November until well into March.

We did not adjust to any of these bands. It was a shame because, in addition to the nearby brewery (which makes the Alpirsbacher Klosterbräu), it is the town's only point of interest. The convent is recognizable by its reddish color and the stepped roof tower, whose bells have been ringing for almost a millennium. Its Gothic interior appears in many art books, which focus on both the sacristy of the thirteenth century and the cloister,

Lossburg was the place chosen to leave our belongings and stay at one of the best-recommended hotels. All you have to do is look at its façade covered with wooden trusses to realize that we are in an old house that is more than 400 years old. A luxury in which perhaps its proximity to the main road fails. The reason for his choice came in large part to be close to another of the most important cities in the region: Freudenstadt. Here we went to at night to walk, dine and drink in a traditional Biergarten (brewery).

Otherwise, Lossburg is a transit site that hardly has any attractions. With just over 23,000 inhabitants, Freudenstadt capitalizes on the district of the same name. This city is another of the key points of the Black Forest since the main tourist roads of the region pass through it. Among them, we would use it as a link to go to Baden-Baden.

Freudenstadt was a project of Duke Frederick I of Württemberg, who commissioned his architect Heinrich Schickhardt. He after a study of Rome and especially Bologna, designed a structure of streets in the form of a spider's web. Its splendor did not pass from the beginning of the 16th century, but at least it has kept its heart, which is the Market Square right in the center of the city.

As a curiosity, it must be said that this is the largest in Germany, which is even cut by two roads. On the sides arcades with renaissance imitation arcades, in the center "The House of the city", in the southwest an evangelical church, and in the northeast the Town Hall. Although what impresses most is locating in the center of the Plaza and see how much space there is.

At the time we went we had set up a Christmas market and not a few booths selling hot wine, sausages or typical products of the land. There was special entertainment both there and in the streets. And especially in one of the busiest places in the city, the Turmbräu, a traditional brewery that turns into an improvised disco at night. We could not help but take something there and check the fuss and crowds of the youth who got the beer jars two by two. We took advantage even to have dinner before returning to our hotel in Lossburg, crossing the dark forest where we had to turn on the car's headlights so we could see something.



Schwarzwaldhochstrasse

It was one of the "peak stages" of the trip. A tour that would have a bit of everything and with a purely international color. It is not that it was planned in advance but due to the geographical situation of the place where we were we arrived to touch 3 countries in a single day. Even so, the key point was marked for the morning when we made the journey between Freudenstadt and Baden-Baden. We would continue to get the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse or, so that we all understand, the High Black Forest Road.

This stretch belonging to the B-500 has an approximate length of 65 kilometers between the points just mentioned. It was the first tourist road in Germany. The places that it crosses enjoy a great ideal attraction for those who seek dreamy landscapes and a good dose of nature. The ideal is to take deviations to go to some of the many destinations accessible from the road, although it is the time that determines the final route. Although you know that it is best to enjoy driving through that sea of ​​mountains in which you feel unique, lonely and a little more traveler.

From Freudenstadt, it takes a few kilometers to take the famous road, after passing through Kniebis, a mountain pass with a ski station where we could already account for a notable drop in temperatures that approached -4º. The earth changed its green tones to others increasingly white and the scarce rain hardened to give us a good snowfall. Against a blinding fog made us slow down enough speed and even stop at a service road (there is every kilometer) to play with the snow and witness a beautiful white blanket covering the landscape.

With a little less fog we move forward in a directly proportional way to the descent of the grades. The computer of the car alarmed us of the danger of the ice, reason why it was convenient to be more attentive to the steering wheel if it fits. Only the music from the car competed with the soft and incessant peeling of the snowflakes on the front glass.

Although this one ended when we made the first detour to the left, not too many kilometers from the start of the picturesque Schwarzwaldhochstrasse. We go to another of those places dotted with mystery and the unquestionable passage of time, more than ever reflected in the old Convent of Allerheiligen. Already after 15 minutes by a narrow road descending the mountain, everything had been worth it.

But the best was our solitary passage through the ruins of the 11th century mixed symbiotically with the wild vegetation offering a more than valid image for a horror story. Fog, loneliness, the stones of an old abbey, forest, and the swift passage of the Lierbach River mowing the valley make this a special place that recalls old legends. Walking to a while from there are another one of those Waterfalls that are so lavish in the German Southwest, although to go there we did not have time.

We stepped back and did the same with our vehicle to continue the stretch of the panoramic road that ends in Baden-Baden. The fog did not allow to observe carefully (apart from conveniently photographing) the various natural panoramas on either side of the road. We headed with our BMW to Lake Mummelsee.

Not even Lake Mummelsee itself was visible in its entirety. We had to settle for walking steadily on the snow to skirt its shore. we turn back around the lake, then go up the trail to the lookout tower, which is on top of the mountain. It takes an hour approximately for the 2 km. Once up we have views of those that remove the hiccups of the Black Forest, the Rhine Valley and mountains of Alsace.

We stay for the night in Sasbachwalden. The landscape of the vineyards is amazing. We are very happy to have chosen Germany, as a destination during Easter.

We woke up in Sasbachwalden, very excited with these views. After a breakfast, we took a walk through the town. The Tourist Office provides us with the maps and the route. We walk around the vineyards to have a panoramic view of the town. There are numerous trails of different difficulty levels to travel the mountains and vineyards. The paradise of the All of Goth, without a doubt the wine that we liked the most in the area. We visit the winery following the tracks between the vineyards.

The wooden houses are decorated with flowers in detail. There is a festival of flowers and another of wine, where the whole town is dressed up in gala celebrating the harvest of the Grapes. With two Michelin star restaurants, and a dream setting, Sasbachwalden is without a doubt, a must of the Black Forest trail and the one I liked the most.

We continue on road to Durbach (30 minutes from Sasbachwalden), continuing to Achern and Oberkirch. And we went directly to visit the castle, Schloss Staufenberg since the surroundings are spectacular. We park just before Durbach in "Brandstetter Kapelle" and from there we walk 20 minutes up to the highest part of the castle. The path of vineyards and forest enchants us.

When we arrive at the Schloss Staufenberg, we order some wine and a piece of sweet Tarte flambée, in the same restaurant. Going up and down that curving road surrounded by vineyards is priceless, even though it's raining. It's a breathtaking landscape.

We left for Gengenbach, on a journey of 30 minutes from Durbach. It is a wonderfully picturesque village between mountains and rivers, a small gem in the center of the Black Forest. Besieged and almost destroyed by the wars and fires that devastated in the last century, it was rebuilt and for me, it is another essential.

We walk through its old town to the streets of Höllengasse and Engelgasse, and the historic set of wooden houses, which are the most picturesque. We also visit the Church of Santa María, with its colorful interior paintings and the two watchtowers of the city. It had to be many kilometers ahead, already in a downward direction when the snow and thickets disappeared giving way to the lively countryside that precedes Baden-Baden, our last destination in the Black Forest.

Baden-Baden, of no more than 55,000 inhabitants continues living from its splendid aristocratic past. The well-known "city of spas", which takes advantage of the invaluable properties of its thermal waters, was the seat of summer and the rest of very important and influential people like Tsar Alexander or Queen Victoria of England.

Although the Romans were the first to launch what would be proclaimed "summer capital in Europe" thanks to the construction of thermal baths. The nineteenth century, palpable every inch of the city, attracted the nobility and the wealthier bourgeoisie who settled in luxurious buildings, and mansions. But with them came the shops, and Baden-Baden settled into this new way of ostentatious and unobtrusive life.

In this city, we cannot talk about monuments and "essentials". If you go in search of this, Baden-Baden is not the right place. But it is if you want to enjoy your hectic commercial life or instead look for "relaxing moments" in one of its many Spas. The most classic and famous is close to the charming Marktplatz, just behind the main church (Stiftskirche).

Its name is Friedrich Bach and if its Renaissance exterior façade has a remarkable elegance, you should imagine its interior that seems to be taken from a television ad. There are pools with columns, massage rooms and is very much like in Budapest. But the corner of relaxation that most caught our attention was Las Termas de Caracalla, a much more modern style but at the same time surprising and affordable. We regret one and a thousand times of not having tried their outdoor hot water pool and knowing what it is to take a good bath with the cold outside. For the next one, it does not escape us.

The old town does not even reach far from other German cities. But it is interesting to walk uphill to the New Castle (Neues Schloss), which has been converted into a luxurious hotel. Leopoldplatz is good and perfect for a stroll in the Lichtentaler Allee, parallel to the river.

It was worth finishing our route between the bubbles of spas. The enormous thermal richness of its waters made it a place of refuge for soldiers during the wars, and for the German bourgeoisie. After relaxing in the spa, we plan to try our luck at the casino, one of the most luxurious in Europe.

And to touch a little more glamor with our hands, we take a look at the Casino, which requires entering with a jacket and tie (in the case of men, of course). As you suppose, we did not carry it and we could not enter the Poker Room. Next to it is a beautiful pavilion (Trinkhalle) whose portico rests splendid frescoes that revise the legend and tradition of the city. Inside it is the Tourist Office, as always useful to obtain material or make reservations for hotels/spas.

The last hours of our day are dedicated to strolling in Baden-Baden. We see places and heard stories from our guide, without whom we would never have guessed. We ate at the Christmas fair that was in front of the Casino. Not to vary it is the German sausage. I think that if our visit lasts a few more days we end up with all the business. With all that, we were ready to take the Autopista A-5 and stop at some point before moving to Switzerland.

And so another trip ended in which we learned what we could from an area where you can do one and a thousand circuits. Historic cities, charming villages, snow-capped mountains, closed forests, ideal roads to drive, good food are some of the baits to fall back through the Black Forest and many other sites that are close by. And so our break ended. And so I finish this Black Forest travel guide of our short journey for those who can take advantage of it. We dream to return here because there is much more.

There the verdant forests are bathed at the same time by impetuous rivers, picturesque lakes, and sometimes covered with white snow. But not only does it have an eminently natural character. The Black Forest has retained its centuries-old culture and tradition. It is reflected in the architecture of its cities and towns, in its cuisine and even in the way of seeing the lives of the Germans from this place that bases hundreds of stories that sometimes we have heard as children before sleeping.

So we can mix in a single idea terms such as pure nature, white peaks, wooden houses, skiing, rural accommodation, old customs, haze, cuckoo clocks and baskets full of cherries with which to make a delicious cake. The Black Forest is that and much more.

After having visited it, with a tight schedule to see as much as possible, I can conclude that it can be a top destination for all types of travelers. It is for relax-spa, adventure, children, wine-lovers, gastronomy, and lovers of nature. Well, there is everything for everyone. There is no need to stick around in the car because the distances are rather short. So it is ideal to go with children.

We have found a German land much warmer and more open than in the North of the country. Here prices much cheaper than in its Swiss neighbor. It gives me the desire to continue to know much more in-depth this part of Germany. Who will not like to lose the look in the bed of trees and dark forests that goes to infinity and beyond, among charming villages of wood? And who will not like a three-tiered cake of cream, chocolate and cherry jam?

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