The Black Forest region of Germany is as enjoyable and unforgettable as its well known chocolate namesake, discovers Mithila Mehta.
The Black Forest region of Germany, also known as Scharzwald, is best known as home to the much-loved black forest cake. This wooded region with scenic mountain trails, quaint towns and deliciously relaxed lifestyle packs in a distinctive air of its own. Must visits include Freiberg, the largest city in the region, the riverside tourist spot Titisee and the ski museum at Hinterzarten.
Freiburg’s gutter superstition:
This vibrant city that effortlessly bridges the traditional with today deserves a special mention for its unique and elaborate gutter system. The gutters (bachle) are not used for sewage, but were originally used for to supply water through the city. Superstition says that if a visitor to the city accidentally falls into the bachle, he will marry a girl from Freiburg. Hilarious beliefs aside, Freiburg’s people are an interesting and eclectic lot. Hang around in the city centre, the Augustine Plaza. You will get good food, some fine German brew, and some good conversation to go. In fact, no trip to Freiburg is complete without witnessing one of the city’s famous street marches. The students’ rally I witnessed was a colourful splash of exaggerated costumes, politically incorrect banners, funky headgear and music. Not unlike a circus!
The road less travelled:
Never mind its tongue-twisting name, Hinterzarten is a must visit on the Black Forest route. Its nature trails and hikes take you into the heart of the Black Forest. (Just don’t get lost!) For the adrenalin junkies, Hinterzarten has a rather challenging ski jumping complex. If you prefer to remain on the sidelines of the action, do drop in at the town’s Black Forest Ski Museum. Quaint buggies and carriages ply the streets of Hinterzarten—hop on for a ride back in time! This town also has a band that plays on a pre-decided schedule. Dressed in their traditional German attire with black hats and flowing skirts, they made a lively watch.
The hordes of tourists and crowds of locals looking for a day in the sun may turn you off, but Titisee is a must-visit location on the tourist map. The scenic Lake Titisee is bounded by the lush Black Forest hills, making it a picture perfect site. A leisurely boat ride across the lake lets you soak in the stunning ambience. The shops that dot the region are every shopper’s delight, with quaint, handmade artifacts in vibrant colors. A word of advice—practise some basic German greetings, carry a healthy wallet and leave your bargaining skills at home. If the black forest cake is every dessert-lover’s esctasy, Black Forest Germany is the true traveller’s ultimate destination. So tuck right in!
Article and Pictures by - Mithila Mehta