Freiburg & Forests: Day 4 – The Black Forest

Right, so the whole reason we came to Freiburg in the first place was to visit the Black Forest. My husband went through my list to see what we could hit up I’ve the August bank holiday weekend and this was his top pick (he really wanted to go walk in some nature). We had a bit of a (rainy) taste of it yesterday as we walked up Schlossberg, but today’s hikes were a bit more of what we were after.

 List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 80/100Sight: The Black Forest
Location: South West Germany
Position: #458

Half an hour from Freiburg (by tram and bus) is a mountain in the Black Forest called Schauinsland. This was going to be our hiking playground for the day. To get up there we used the Schauinslandbahn – which is not only the longest cable car in journey but this was the first circulating cable car ever built. The journey is meant to take about 20 minutes (although it feels shorter) and takes you to 1294 metres above sea level.

There are a lot of hiking routes that can be done on and around this mountain, we decided to do the two medium difficulty hikes that added up to 13 kilometres, with a fair bit of ascending and descending. Rather than give a play by play of the walks, I figured it would be worth going over some highlights.

The first walk we did (titled as Hike 3) was about 8.8 km long and took us 3 and a half hours to complete. Early into the walk I had to keep stopping because of the recurring wow factor of the views. I took so may pictures in this first stretch of the walk compared to the rest of the day (probably because taking photos is the last thing you want to do when making a steep ascent or descent).

For this hike we were mostly in the open fields, which allowed for lots of beautiful panoramic views and a number of animal sightings. Well, we mostly saw cows (and they were glorious), but we also saw some birds of prey (I think they were red kites) soaring through the sky and making good use of the updrafts.

This hike took us past a number of hotels and guesthouse sand we were able to resist… for the first two hours. It was just after lunchtime by the time we got to the final one and we really felt the need for a snack, so I finally got to try some Flammkuchen – in the German mountains no less.

We probably should have taken more of a break between the two hikes because the second one we did (known as Hike 2) felt a lot more difficult than the first one, despite being less than half the length at 4.2km long. Maybe this was was because this was a lot steeper than the first one and that there were fewer opportunities for extended breaks… yes that’s probably it.

This hike was far more in the trees, although that did not prevent us from seeing more cows and the occasional goats. Being more in the shade meant that despite the sun being out and being quite hot, it was pretty damned cold.

Whilst there weren’t as many opportunities to have an extended sit, there were some interesting landmarks such as a small mining museum, a 400 year old house and a memorial to some English Boy Scouts who died of exhaustion on the mountain in 1936. The latter landmark is pretty interesting as it was a way that the ruling Nazi party tried to ingratiate themselves with the UK.

The highlight of the walk is right at the end when you arrive at observation tower and, with legs like wet noodles, get to the top platform that puts you at 1302 metres high. It was ruddy cold up there, but you just to let the many different views all soak in. It also served as a reminder of how near the borders Freiburg is as, on one side of the tower, you can see the Swiss Alps in the distance.

We were up on the Schauinsland for hours, but we couldn’t walk for much longer and so at the end of the second hike we made our way back to Freiburg. Sadly, because it was Sunday, there was no chance for some last minute purchases of Mezzo Mix to bring back to the UK. It did, however expedite outer search for dinner.

Right so this wasn’t the best meal we had this holiday. The soup dumplings were really delicious, but the soup itself was quite oily (and that did not sit well with my stomach). For a main, I tried sauerbraten for the first time. It came with spatzle, which really appears to be a theme for the dinners of this holiday. I really enjoyed the sauce that this came in (and therefore dredged the spatzle in as much sauce as possible), which makes me wonder if this is something that could be a pick for Germany when doing my food challenge.

As tomorrow is a ‘crack of dawn’ flight, there’ll be no real point in me doing any sort of write-up. It’s been a nice little break here in Freiburg and definitely one with a lot of variety over the three full days. Could have done with one more to check out the open air zoo, but other than that this worked out well.

I’m really pleased to say that it won’t be long until I am back in the air again to see more things outside of my native UK. Still, until then, there’s always time to make plans and fantasise about future getaways.

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