A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest

Tripoto
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 1/19 by Amit
Meadows in Black Forest
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 2/19 by Amit
Meadows
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 3/19 by Amit
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 4/19 by Amit
Train entering in Blackforest
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 5/19 by Amit
Hausach castle
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 6/19 by Amit
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 7/19 by Amit
A demo train at Triberg
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 8/19 by Amit
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 9/19 by Amit
Schonachbach cuckoo clock
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 10/19 by Amit
World's biggest cuckoo-clock
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 11/19 by Amit
Clocks for sale!
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 12/19 by Amit
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Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 13/19 by Amit
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Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 14/19 by Amit
Gutach falls
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 15/19 by Amit
Serene upstream
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 16/19 by Amit
Triberg city
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 17/19 by Amit
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 18/19 by Amit
Cuckoo-clock at Schonach
Photo of A Day Well Spent in Germany's Black Forest 19/19 by Amit
Cuckoo coming out of the clock

This was another solo day trip of mine from West Germany to the southern part of Germany. It was the winter of 2011 when I was moving to Konstanz, a small German-Swiss town on the border of Switzerland, Austria and France.

I took a high-speed train from Cologne to Offenburg and was fascinated to note that the double-decker train which was supposed to bring me to Konstanz wasn't an ordinary local train. This train is named Schwarzwaldbahn or the Black Forest train. That sounded pretty interesting to me, so I asked a co-traveller whether there were other trains with the same name. He simply smiled in reply.

Offenburg means the opening of castles (thanks to my German skills), so I thought that it was so named because of a series of castles which would be visible en-route. The prediction wasn't incorrect though, as I could see small stations passing by along with many small and beautiful castles at Gengenbach and Hausach among other places. However, the landscape was changing fast. I could easily sense that there were mountains all around. A small canal ran parallel to our train as it progressed towards the hilly region of Black Forest.

When I first crossed Triberg, a station up in the mountains, it was snowing heavily and I wished I could get off the train at that moment (which of course I couldn't). I decided to visit Triberg some other time next year. Later while googling, I found that this is a great place to explore especially because of the world's biggest cuckoo clock (that also has a Guinness book entry) and utterly delicious Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (that's pretty much a tongue-twisting word which means Black Forest cake). So one fine morning in autumn, I boarded the Black Forest train from Konstanz to reach Triberg.

A model steam-engine train is kept at Triberg station. As a matter of fact, for purely historical reasons, these trains are functional even today. These trains look picturesque with black smoke spewing out amidst snow-capped trees in winter, like in a Harry Potter movie. The city of Triberg is small and one can easily walk around the entire city on a sunny day.

A river named Gutach beside the town creates several waterfalls as it flows downstream. The river is a photographer's paradise!

There are many souvenir shops around that sell cuckoo clocks. The local restaurants were decent and I quite enjoyed the food, especially the cake with cherries.

Outside the station, one can walk or take a bus to Schonachbach's Eble Uhren-Park. As it was autumn when I visited, the autumnal colours made for a nice walk amidst the colourful trees of the region. A road parallel to the Gutach river finally brought me to a big chalet between two small hills. This is where the largest clock has been built with a giant cuckoo which weighs 150 kg and comes out of a rear window to chirp out the time. For instance, the cuckoo chirps five times at 5 o' clock.

The Gutach river flows beneath the clock. The "cu-ckoo cu-ckoo" sounds made by the clock reverberates around because of the hills and the river and mingles with the sound of the flowing river creating a wonderful moment worth cherishing.

On the opposite side of the chalet (read clock), some music plays every hour with handmade puppets rotating outside a window. They had romanticized a situation depicting a maiden girl in the hills who falls for a man visiting her dynasty. I forgot the whole story which a narrator was describing to a bunch of visitors.

By spending 2 euros, one can go inside the clock and look at the giant wheels and gears which was pretty interesting to note. A wooden mascot cum descriptor speaks about the history of the clock. Another thing that I found really nice about the chalet is their souvenir shop in one part of the clock house. I bought a cuckoo clock in 80 euros and that kind quality and construction within that much is hard to find anywhere outside Triberg.

After coming back to Triberg city and having lunch, I went to a small museum and witnessed how they make a clock. Someone told me that I shouldn't miss Schonach's cuckoo clock which is the oldest and cutest clock in the region though it's not as hyped as the one at Eble-Uhren-Park.

One can get a bus to get there although it's within walkable distance. The house really was quite beautiful but unfortunately that day they had kept the clock-house closed for renovation. However, it was quite cute by appearance.

Later on during the day, I went uphill to see the waterfalls near Gutach river. It wasn't like Niagara or even our Jog fall with stones covered in green moss, wooden bridges and a scenic hiking trail which is really something to try. The surroundings were also calm with the only sounds being that of the water flowing by and the chirping of a few beautiful birds. I spent some time witnessing a few birds as I'm interested in them. From the top, the Triberg city can be seen from a bird's eye view.

That was quite a time I had that day, with a lot of experiences. After sunset, I took the train back to Konstanz with my new clock. The station was full of small and cute kids (kids are always beautiful and from this region, they looked like dolls). With a heavy heart, I bid goodbye to the place.

Whenever I go home and hear the cuckoo's chirp from my clock, I close my eyes and time travel to South Germany to that moment where I can hear the reverberation of Triberg's cuckoo chirping in the Black Forest mixed with the sound of Gutach river's flowing current.

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