25- 27 August 2019
Danny went to Belchenblick reception to pay and a casual question about the name of the site (translates as Belchen View) had us changing our intended route to visit the subject. We drove up the valley further into the Black Forest and parked on the slopes of the mountain. We took the cable car up to it’s terminus and joined other Sunday walkers on the gentle ascent to the top of Belchen.
Sun shining, pleasantly warm and great views right back down to the edge of the Black Forest and beyond, across the huge flat plain of the Rhine. Freiburg, Staufen, and the hill we had climbed 2 days earlier were clearly visible, and we were glad we had made the detour – a really nice part of the world.
Back down at the bottom and Danny found a vehicle he would love to own :
We drove north up through the middle of the Black Forest, up over Feldberg where the number of parked cars indicated it’s popularity with walkers, and along the slopes above pretty Titersee, its lake filled with small boats.
Triberg was a bit of a surprise – it appears to be the tourist main town, much bigger and busier than we had anticipated. Full of shops with wood carvings but we couldn’t find any parking, which was probably a good thing.
Further on, standing alone at the side of the road next to the river, was a cuckoo clock shop. We had to stop as we believe they originate in the Black Forest. It was only as we parked that we realised the shop itself fashioned as a large cuckoo clock, with a water-wheel on the side powering life-size wooden figures doing things like sawing wood and hammering. Brilliant. Inside there were, unsurprisingly, masses of cuckoo clocks- over 1000 – of every shape and type ranging from €100 to nearly €2,000. The sound of the cuckoos was great. We couldn’t fit one in the van, so settled for a cuckoo clock fridge magnet as a reminder.
Unsure where we wanted to stop, we ended up following the Wolf River upstream to Camping Alisehof, a pretty little site next to the river. And, as we found next morning, next to a sawmill! But we liked it so decided to stay 2 nights and have a final walk in the Black Forest.
We didn’t have a map so decided to use the signposts up to Kupferberg, a pretty plateau and hamlet on a hill above the campsite.
When we got there we were still fresh so headed further up to the top of Teuscheneck, because it was there. The woods up there were full of fungi, although sadly we didn’t know what any of them were.
We got back down to Schapbach just too late for lunch in it’s only cafe and considered returning to the campsite but instead decided to do without lunch and go up the opposite side of the valley. Higher and longer than we thought, we really enjoyed it including the views across to the morning’s walk, but after 10 miles and nearly 2,500ft we were glad to get back and relax – not perhaps as fit as we should be.
That evening we had our first experience of German hailstones. The sky darkened, some large spots of rain hit the awning, and within a couple of minutes large hailstones at least 1cm across were battering down. The noise was tremendous. Followed by torrential rain, thunder and lightning. We felt so sorry for the people in tents, particularly the family with 5 kids.
For half-an hour it battered down, then stopped abruptly. Campsite staff came round to make sure everyone was alright, and assured us this was normal!
As if to compensate for it’s bad behaviour the next day was beautifully sunny. We headed further up the Wolf River then took the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse (Black Forest High Road) north, finally leaving the Black Forest behind at Baden Baden. We were glad we had visited. It is not spectacular like parts of Switzerland and Austria but it is very pretty with real charm, lots of hills and walking trails, and well worth a revisit.