Justin and I hosted his parents earlier this month, and they treated us to an excursion into the Black Forest of southern Germany. We rented a car in Zurich and set off for a relaxing afternoon of countryside driving and leisurely exploration.
The Rhine Falls (Rheinfall)
Europe’s largest waterfall is lodged between the Swiss and German border. Less than an hour from Zurich, the Rhine Falls are a popular day trip from Switzerland’s financial capital. Below the castle battlements of Schloss Laufen, millions of liters of water crash through gigantic boulders every minute in an awe-inspiring display of natural power.
The Black Forest (Schwartzwald)
Southwest Germany is covered with the rural woods of legend, the Black Forest. With miles and miles of forested and low-mountain terrain, the landscape served as a source of inspiration for the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. The narrow roads wind along the hillsides and dip into valleys, passing quaint German towns.
We were told by some friends to visit one such iconic village – Triberg, a small spot on the map with romantic waterfalls, peaceful hiking trails, regional cuisine, and cuckoo clock shops galore.
Kookoo Clocks of the Black Forest
Taking advantage of the abundant natural resources during the cold winters, men of the Black Forest began building cuckoo clocks in the 1700s. With great skill and craftsmanship, the carpenters and clock makers worked together to fashion unique time-keeping pieces.
In Triberg, Gerald Burger explained the process of making these intricate artifacts, and he demonstrated how to tell the differences between “real” and “fake” cuckoo clocks. (Half-carved figurines and battery powered ticking are dead giveaways.) My favorites were the chalet clocks, and in particular Gerald’s patented invention of the turning-chalet, which features a summer scene on one side and a winter scene on the other.
Black Forest Cake
No trip to the Black Forest would be complete without indulging in its signature dessert. In Triberg, Café Schäfer claims to have the original recipe to Black Forest Cake – chocolate cake layered with whipped cream, cherries, and flavored with kirsch, a cherry liquor.
An Effortless and Enjoyable Day Trip
An easy car ride from Zurich, southwest Germany is a pleasant area to explore for a day or two. Had we more time during our excursion into the Black Forest, we would have lingered in Freiburg, the largest city in the region. Even so, we enjoyed our family excursion from Switzerland into Germany with the time we were given, and I’m still dreaming of that sunset.
Hallo friends! Would you fancy a car ride through the Black Forest? How much would you spend for a handmade, original cuckoo clock? Have you ever tried Black Forest cake?