My Black Forest Experience

Trip Start Mar 13, 2010
Trip End Jun 12, 2010

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Where I stayed
Maria's place

Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Monday, May 24, 2010

Freiburg is a city in south west Germany bordering the world famous Black Forest. I have a second cousin who lives here named John. John is a Canadian who moved to Germany ten years or so after traveling Europe. He lives with his wife Laura, who is due to give birth to their first child soon. I had emailed him a couple weeks earlier asking if he wouldn't mind me stopping by. He replied saying that would be fine, and offered me a place to stay the night. I gratefully excepted the offer.

I set off to Freiburg on Sunday from Munich. The train ride was only about 4 hours long, and I got in at about 5 pm. Again, the scenery was amazing. Everything is so homely, fresh, and green. I have to say that the country side in the interior of Europe is beautiful. Ever since I left Venice, the countryside has been stunning. Of course the other places have been great too, but this just has a different feeling to it. More like home I guess.

Arriving in the train station at five, I was about to try and find John's place when a voice behind says: "Steven?" Spinning around, I realized that it was John, and that he had been waiting for me. We shook hands, and he told me he was on his way to work, and that I should dump my bags there until he was done. So he led me to the restaurant he worked at, and we chatted for a bit before he started his shift. Then I went out and saw a little of the city. It is a nice town, but has little to see or do. I climbed a hill that had a great view of the city took a few pictures, before going down and exploring the small river that ran through the town. After I had seen enough of the city, I headed back to the restaurant where I had a meter long bratwurst sausage with a healthy portion of sauerkraut and fried potatoes. I almost finished it all, but couldn't get the last bit of sauerkraut down. After his shift was over, John led me back to his apartment. It wasn't far, so we just walked it. John showed me to my room, which was actually at an apartment several stories down belonging to a friend of the family named Maria, who happened to be moving to Brazil next week. That with Laura just about to give birth started making me feel that I had come at a very bad time.

Most of the next day I spent on cleaning up my bag after my bottle of shower gel exploded in my bag. I did go out and see a little bit more of the city though. I saw a huge cathedral, and some nice parks, and caught up on some blogging.

On my last full day in Freiburg, I decided to go out and see the Black Forrest in person. I hopped on a train to Triburg, which as you can see on the map, is north east of Freiburg. I chose this town for a couple reasons. First of all, it is home to Germany's largest waterfall; and secondly that it has the worlds largest Cuckoo clock. It was an hour and a half train ride from Freiburg, so I arrived at about 1:30 pm. John had let me borrow one of his bikes, so I had taken it with me on the train, thinking the waterfall would be out of town. Once off the train, I rode the bike in the direction the signs told me the waterfall was, and in ten minutes I was in the middle of Triburg sweating bullets in the 35 heat. The signs led me strait to the water fall, which was in the middle of town (Triburg isn't very big). After hearing that this was the biggest in Germany, I was a bit disappointed. I would think that most waterfalls I have seen in Canada are bigger that this one. After hiking around the waterfalls, I started walking towards a sign advertising a high rope course. Having no idea what this was, I realized that the name pretty much says it all. It was an obstacle course suspended up to twenty meters above the ground, where you walked on unsteady surfaces until at the end you zip lined down. There were five different courses, each having a different difficulty, and each took approximately twenty minutes. I spent an hour doing courses one, three, and four, all three were a lot of fun. I eventually decided I should be getting back to Freiburg. Before I caught the next train though, I wanted to see the worlds largest cuckoo clock while I was there. It took about ten minutes by bike to get there from the waterfall, and I stayed to watch the clock go off at five. Like the waterfall, I have seen more impressive things in my life, and was more than a little disappointed.

Realizing that the next train left in fifteen minutes, or I had to wait an hour, got me pedaling as fast as I could back into town. I got there with plenty of time to spare, but I couldn't remember exactly where the station was. I spent a frantic five minutes going up and down a hill where I was certain the train station should be. I went up and down twice, but it wasn't there! It was now two minutes until the train left, and I was flying down the hill hoping I could go around the next corner and find the station. I felt my hat was coming off so I tucked me chin in hoping it would stay on. Soon after, the hat came off and I slammed on the brakes (well actually only the front brake). If anyone has used the front brakes to stop suddenly then you will know that the back of the bike wants to keep going forward, and often comes off the ground, its physics (didn't I take that in school???) At my speed, it gave me a fairly rough ride onto the concrete. I got up more embarrassed than anything, with blood pouring out of a gash on my chin. I used my trashed shirt to stop the bleeding, then brought the bike across the street to a supermarket, and asked for a bandage. A woman was nice enough to get me one, and let me clean up a little bit, in the staff bathroom. After I got cleaned up a little I was able to find the train station and waited the fifty minutes for the next train. What an awesome day :)

When back at Maria's apartment, I cleaned and examined the cut a bit more and realized that I needed stitches. I went up to John's place, and asked Laura where I could go for the stitches and she took me to a nearby hospital. I only had to wait twenty minutes or so before the doctor agreed with my diagnosis, and stitched me up. Six stitches later, the doc told me that I would probably get my very own European souvenir (scar). I have pictures, but I'm not sure you guys will want to see them. Let me know if anyone wants to see them and I can email them to you, or I will just put them on here later if nobody minds, and you can see them if you want. I will try to get up to date with the pictures soon.
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Mom on

For sure, if you put the pictures up, I will cry. It's bad enough to imagine the Frankenstein line on your chin, but to see it will induce more worry!

Your writing is amazing Steven. It feels like I am there. Thank you for the update. Tell John that your mother thanks him and his wife for their kind hospitality. See you in 18 days.

grandma on

Thanks for the blogs you have been sending. They are just wonderful.
You sure had a bad time with your bike riding. Sounds like you had "one of those days" as they say... You should have been wearing a helmet! No I wouldn't want to see your pictures either, I'm with your mom on that because I would cry too. Hope It heals up and doesn't hurt too much.
Hope your on your way home soon, miss you. Be safe and we love you.

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