Tuesday 30 June 2015

Freiburg and Triberg

The view from our accommodation...

If there’s one thing I love about the Germans (and to be honest, there are lots of things I love about the Germans), it’s the way they utterly embrace and celebrate whatever season they find themselves in. I think it comes from living in a country where the seasons announce themselves to much more definitely than Australia. When I’ve been there at Christmas time in the past, every house is adorned with traditional Christmas decorations – not the neon-lights-you-can-see-from-space kind (though those can be fun too) but carved wooden candle-holders in the windows and evergreen wreathes and beautiful old nativity scenes and gluhwein drunk in the snow at little stalls at the Christmas markets. This time we were there for spring, and Freiburg was going to be ready! Every window was decorated with traditional wooden eggs with delicate painted designs and spring flowers were growing in profusion in every garden. My prevailing memory of our visit to Freiburg, a university town in the Black Forest, was the market that was on around the church at the centre of town, where the locals (and tourists) had gathered to buy fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, local meat, wooden toys and flowers – lots and lots of flowers. We wandered there quite happily for quite some time, also popping into the church, which had some pretty stunning wood carvings to see.

To satisfy Will’s need for nature, we headed to the little town of Triberg, which boasts Germany’s highest waterfall. It’s not one waterfall so much as a series of cascades that they add all together to get the overall height, but Will is an absolute sucker for a waterfall of any kind – he loves extending that shutter speed and getting that blurry water effect (I mock, but it does make for some beautiful photographs). Fi optimistically bought a bag of peanuts in the shell on the basis of a claim that you could feed them to the local squirrels around the falls but we did not see a single squirrel so I suspect that they are all actually allergic to peanuts and the tourists have caused a mass anaphylaxis episode and wiped out the entire population. Shame that. We also found some other pretty waterfalls off the side of the road when we went for a drive to find a cable car up the mountain that turned out to be closed. So we drove up the mountain instead. There were snowy trees, all very proper European. Not to forget that we are shameless tourists, we also went to see the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock (which has some competition from the ‘First World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock’ located nearby). On reflection, probably would have been better to be there for any other time than two o’clock as we waited about 20 minutes for what turned out to be a pretty short show. (Doors open, cuckoo says cuckoo twice, doors close - for the full experience, watch the video below). Hmm.

I should mention that our accommodation for this part of the trip was a little outside Freiburg, staying in the attic of a most traditional German cow farm. We had sweet little beds with folk-painted flowers and delicious traditional German breakfast each morning with milk straight from the cows. Yum! The farmer spoke no English but that didn’t stop him from having enthusiastic conversations with us about soccer and his family and his cows (I think).

Lindau - cool walled town on Lake Constance on the way to Freiburg

Spring flowers at Freiburg market

For whatever reason, there is a crocodile statue in a canal in Freiburg

Todtnau Waterfalls

The World's Largest Cuckoo Clock

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