Monday, June 1, 2015

Castles, Cuckoo Clocks, Cake and Cascading Waterfalls

Last week Chris and I were putting together a puzzle of Hohenzollern Castle. As we were building the puzzle, we were discussing what we should do for the upcoming weekend. Why not visit the castle that we were spending hours staring at as we built the puzzle? We looked up the castle on the map and realized it was just outside the Black Forest. So we booked a hotel, packed our bags and headed off early Saturday morning for our weekend road trip.

We arrived at Hohenzollern Castle on a gloomy and overcast day. Although the castle didn't glisten like it did in the puzzle picture, it was still a magnificent sight to see up on the hill. The castle is the ancestral seat of the Prussian Royal House and of the Hohenzollern Princes.

The castle's biergarten
We enjoyed some traditional Swabian dishes at the restaurant inside of the castle. Chris ordered German sausages with lentils and spaetzle, and I ordered braised beef in a red wine sauce with spaetzle.

After lunch, we toured the inside of the castle. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take any pictures of the beautiful rooms. We did, however, manage to sneak a picture of the fabulous slippers we had to wear over our shoes to help protect the floors of the castle!

Then we went down under the castle to explore the casemates, which are basements that held the gunpowder and ammunition of the castle.

View from one of the towers

Typical Germany....always looking out for the dogs!
 As we were leaving the castle, we spotted 2 "princesses" walking around the castle grounds.

After touring the castle, we headed out for the Black Forest. An hour later we arrived at the charming town of Triberg, known as the birthplace of the cuckoo clock.

The waterfalls trickle down to a babbling stream

Artwork displaying traditional outfits

The largest cuckoo clock in the world
Some of the Black Forest trees

We ate dinner at Bergseestuble Inh., the most recommended restaurant in Triberg. We enjoyed a great view of a small pond from our table.

Smoked ham with an asparagus mousse

The fanciest jagerschnitzle I've ever had
Chris' braised beef in a wheat beer sauce
And for dessert...Black Forest cake of course!
Our beautiful view
After dinner it was still light outside, so we hiked along pathways to see the Wasserfalle Gutach, Germany's longest waterfall.

The sun was FINALLY out!

The next morning, we woke up and enjoyed a traditional German breakfast at our hotel. We then ventured out back to the trails near the waterfalls, but this time, it was for the high ropes course. For 2 hours we climbed up steep ladders, bravely crossed obstacles and zip-lined from tree to tree.

Can you spot me in the trees?
Here I am!
The man down below was watching Chris expertly cross the obstacle
Chris climbing a very high ladder
The view from the trees
Swinging from platform to platform
The longest zip-line

He's so high up!

We then participated in the most touristy attraction of Triberg....buying a cuckoo clock. We had visited several stores the day before, but the saleswoman at Oli's Schnitzstube convinced us that buying a cuckoo clock is only worth it if you get the real deal. Many shops now sell machine produced clocks with many plastic pieces and cheaply made figures. Oli's clockmakers are part of the MCC, the Master Carvers Club, and only make handmade works of art. So after careful deliberation, we selected our cuckoo clock.

Our cuckoo clock hanging in our living room
Our last meal in the Black Forest was at Landgasthof zur Lilie, a cute restaurant right at the entrance to the waterfalls. The weather was beautiful, so we sat outside in the biergarten. Chris enjoyed jagerschnitzel, while I tried venison with a cranberry chutney. No meal in the Black Forest is complete without Black Forest cake, so we enjoyed a slice at Adler Cafe, a highly recommended bakery just down the street from the restaurant.

My dish was venison with cranberries and spaetzle
Chris' jagerschnitzel
Enjoying the sunshine

More Black Forest cake!
We had a fantastic weekend adventure to the Black Forest. We can't wait to put together more puzzles and see where our next adventure takes us!

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