Day Four - The Black Forest In Fall

Todtnau Travel Blog

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Entering the Black Forest

Apparently the wind blew quite a bit through the night because Saturday morning revealed a bright and mostly clear day.  We were both anxious to get going, so while it took us two hours to get through breakfast and whatever other rituals there are to beginning a day, we began our journey relatively early.  Our plan was to trek through the Black Forest and see what there was to see.

We drove south from Freiburg to parts unknown.  As we drove, I for one was amazed at the views.  Everywhere you look there are stunning vistas with hills and trees.

Roads are windy through parts of the Black Forest.
  The forest traverses between dark green to yellows and reds and oranges as the season seemingly changed before our very eyes.

The winding roads wove us through the rambling hillsides, which eventually gave way to larger mountainous regions.  Making a gorgeous journey even more distinct, many of the roads are shadowed by footpaths where numerous locals walk or bike their way along.

One of the first major towns we came across was Sankt Peter.  The distinct twin steeples of its main church rose out of the trees as we rounded a corner, beckoning us to waylay our journey.  We parked next to a rustic stream beneath gold-leafed trees and ascended a small path to the town square.

Unfortunately the church itself was undergoing a facelift and much of the front was shrouded in scaffolding ensconced with green tarps.

Arvie takes a rest at Sankt Peter.
  But the towering height of the steeples demanded you to look up.  And when we did, we were both taken back at how dizzy we felt - not just from the steeples, but the wind was still blowing so strongly that clouds were moving at speeds you would only normally see in a National Geographic time lapse sequence.

Going into the church we saw your typical transepts and choir.  But it was quite ornate and certainly sounded like it must be of interest as there was a tour group in the front getting all the low-down in German and frequently ooing or awing - even laughing.  My observation was more direct.  Probably the most standout feature to me was the organ in the balcony.  NOTE TO SELF: Always look for the organ loft when in a European church - they could be the most interesting place in the church.  Its many pipes and horns were set against some sort of white substance.  Porcelain, maybe?  And it was all dotted with gold highlights.

Church in Sankt Peter
  Very nice.

We walked through the rest of the town, taking pictures of shops and homes.  By now many of the homes were in what I call the Alp motif; dominant white on the lower portion, and dark timber accenting the upper section.  Balconies with overflowing flower boxes festoon the windows completing the look.  They are a visual feast.

Our journey continued on to St. Morgan, which being so very nearly similar to St. Peter, we didn’t stop for many pictures.  However, we did take our picture next to the town sign as a memento.  While it was sunny, it was also a crisp fall day, and what the pictures don’t really relate is that we were both quite cool in the few minutes it took to snap the shots.

We drove on through the little town of Titisee which seemed it would be fun to visit if there were more time.

Organ in church of Sankt Peter.
  The town sits on the edge of a lake and people meandered down pedestrian-only streets window shopping.   But we didn’t stop as our goal was to reach Todtnau and visit a church I’d read about in one of the guide books.  The road took us down out of the higher elevations of the mountains we’d just been in and then rounding a bend, we were gazing upon Todtnau.

The church in Todtnau is arguably the focal center point.  Its twin towers are somewhat greenish which only accentuates its striking architecture.  The architecture made me think it was probably a Russian Orthodox church or something along those lines but it turned out to be just a standard Catholic church.  Inside however, it was rather modern in its design.  There was a large mosaic up front with several stained glass windows around the walls.

Sankt Peter
  It was interesting, but not something we felt required a great length of time to visit.  So we made our way on to the Wasserfall we’d read about.

That probably seems like a typo, but it’s actually the correct German spelling for our English equivalent; waterfall.  It was a 2km hike through the back woods of Todtnau to reach the falls.  We didn’t climb to the top, but made our first acquaintance with this natural beauty at about the midpoint.  As Derik pointed out, there really isn’t much to see from the top of a falls anyway, just water falling over the edge.  So, we decided to stay midlevel as it would afford us better pictures.

I’m not really finding exciting sounding words for the falls, but they were attractive.

Sankt Peter
  Enough so that the townspeople have actually built decking adjacent to it where some very modern lounge chairs have been permanent built for people to just relax and enjoy the Wasserfall.  Derik and I split up to get some pictures there and then decided we would like our own pictures with the falls too, which we did.  Then we trekked back into town to see if we still had time to grab a ride on the Alpine coaster located there.

There was time - just.  Derik and I were nearly the last people up the lift to the top of what we think was about a 1500 or 2000 ft hill.  Well, actually it wasn’t the top.  It continued on, but that’s where the lift ended.  And from there you could ride in a coaster-like toboggan to the bottom on a very well designed track.  By pushing forward on two levers either side of the sled, you accelerated.  If you pulled back you slowed down.

   After a fairly significantly lengthy wait to launch ourselves, we were off.

It’s probably the nearest thing I can honestly remember to skiing.  Well, I obviously wouldn’t “remember” skiing as I was only 5 or 6 at the time of my only skiing experience and that wasn’t the most productive outing of my young life.  But this Alpine coaster banked corners, took dips, all the while inducing some fairly strong stomach churns and g-forces.  It was a great end to a great day and both Derik and I had a blast.

As we drove on with our day, we came through the town of St. Bastien and saw a prominent dome which we think housed an athletic center.  But since we didn’t stop, we’ll never know!

As dusk quickly began to envelope the countryside we became more anxious to find a spot to park for the night.

Rock Climbing in the Black Forest.
  But delaying us for a few minutes more was a straw sculpture competition we stumbled across.  Pulling over, we jumped out and hurriedly snapped a few pictures before we lost all the light.  They were really something.  Teams of people would plan a design and then apparently form it out chicken wire and then sculpt the straw around that.  There was a horse and carriage and a large teddy bear and just a number of really clever straw sculptures.

Finally we were back on the road and headed for Waldshut, on the Switzerland border and found a camping spot there.  In fact, our spot backed us up to the Rhine.  There our day ended with the usual turn of dinner and sleep.

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Entering the Black Forest
Entering the Black Forest
Roads are windy through parts of t…
Roads are windy through parts of …
Arvie takes a rest at Sankt Peter.
Arvie takes a rest at Sankt Peter.
Church in Sankt Peter
Church in Sankt Peter
Organ in church of Sankt Peter.
Organ in church of Sankt Peter.
Sankt Peter
Sankt Peter
Sankt Peter
Sankt Peter
Rock Climbing in the Black Forest.
Rock Climbing in the Black Forest.
Todtnau Church
Todtnau Church
Interior of Todtnau church
Interior of Todtnau church
Interior window at Todtnau church.
Interior window at Todtnau church.
Todtnau from the trail to the Wass…
Todtnau from the trail to the Was…
The trail to the Wasserfall.
The trail to the Wasserfall.
Wasserfall at Todtnau.
Wasserfall at Todtnau.
Wasserfall
Wasserfall
Soaking up the rays at Todtnau Was…
Soaking up the rays at Todtnau Wa…
Alpine track at Todtnau.
Alpine track at Todtnau.
Dome in St. Bastien.
Dome in St. Bastien.
Straw Sculptures
Straw Sculptures
More straw...
More straw...
And more straw...
And more straw...
Time for bed.
Time for bed.
Arvies spot in Waldshut
Arvie's spot in Waldshut
Todtnau
photo by: Sele