Going on our sixth hockey season break, we both agreed that going on another week-long vacation without Shadow just felt wrong. We also agreed that while there are still so many places we want to see, our home for the past three years has been Germany – so why not explore more of the country that we love?
I also have always had a fascination with a particular part of Germany that I actually never realized was pretty close by to where we live: The infamous Black Forest. A place to adventure with a dog and still check things off the bucket list? Sold.
We booked our airbnb in a small town north of the forest called Achern. We actually arrived at our tiny little cabin/barn the night of the Super Bowl. McDonald’s closed at 1 am so we hurried over, bought lots of nuggets and spent our first night staying up watching the game and more importantly, watching the teams Super Bowl pool – for the very first time in my life betting actually went my way. We were blessed with 0-0 squares which meant we won not only the second quarter but also the halftime score – vacation already paid for 😆.
Our first day we weren’t quite sure what to do. We slept in after staying up so late (and really, we were in no rush to really do or see anything all week, we really came here to relax too). The weather was awful: rain and fog. But, Chris did his own research and found this place close by called the Mummelsee which is a huge lake next to the Hornisgrinde mountain. However, as you can see from the pictures, the lake was completely fogged over and we were the only humans in this what looks like, a fun summer tourist spot. Anyway, Shadow was excited to be there and so we just followed his lead. The hike up to Hornisgrinde was actually really cool and pretty despite the gross weather. It was my first glimpse into the actual Black Forest! We came back to the airbnb that evening with ingredients needed to make a fondue dinner (missing our trip to Switzerland!) and enjoyed a relaxing night.
The next day, Chris was dying to see some snow. We thought for sure that coming more down south we would be in a winter wonderland. Instead, we were greeted with more rain just like we’ve had in the north-west. We decided to go see the Edelfrauengrab-Wasserfälle which was suggested by our airbnb hosts as a “very nice waterfall”. We started to drive up a mountain and the higher up we got the colder it did and eventually we were greeted with a huge and heavy snowfall! It was actually magical. We celebrated like it was rain in a drought. However, thunder started rumbling in the clouds and the look down got even foggier. We decided to head back down the mountain and park somewhere close to the waterfall. The Edelfrauengrab-Wasserfälle was actually really gorgeous and the hike there was super cool (reminded me of Watkins Glenn). Once again, we were the only people there but it made our experience even better. We did have to keep Shadow on a leash because we were afraid he would fearlessly jump into these roaring waters.
The day it all went downhill (but we started it actually climbing up 😏). We knew on Wednesday we wanted to do a quick trip to Strasbourg without Shadow. So, that morning I told Chris we definitely should take him on a quick hike in the morning so that he was tired. Any dog mom logic, am I right? We decided to go to the Gaishöll-Wasserfälle since it was only 10 kilometers from our airbnb. Upon arrival, Shadow was in absolute heaven. The waterfall was one suuuper long waterfall that went up at a pretty steep-less incline. Every few steps were a new pool for him to play in and the actual waterfall wasn’t too rapid like the Edelfrauengrab one was. He was having the absolute time of his life. We reached the top and started to make our way down. At this point, Shadow is completely showing off – leading the way, crossing bridges before Chris or I were even near him. It was actually super funny and cute that he was being so independent and I was grateful that we were here at an offseason time so we always had the Forest to ourselves and Shadow could run around off-leash. Well, then he got too cocky – he jumped up on a huge mossy rock but since it was completely soaked, he slipped and smacked his back right leg on the rock instead of landing on it. He was a complete champ and didn’t even whine. But, once we reached the end of the hike we saw that he was limping and then he started hopping on three legs. So, we nursed him at home and after evaluation, Vet Chris was convinced he broke his toe. Now what do we do the rest of the week on this vacation that was meant to have fun with Shadow?!
Triberg im Schwarzwald
Well, Shadow was officially hopping on three legs but still wanted to be outside. We decided that this would be a good day to drive to Triberg, a famous spot in the Black Forest that was 90 kilometers away. Shadow chilled in the back seat while Chris and I took in the views. The drive really reminded us of Switzerland. Beautiful mountains filled with trees and chalet homes spread throughout. Once we arrived we checked out the Triberg waterfall which apparently is the highest waterfall in Germany and it didn’t disappoint. It was absolutely stunning and just standing beneath it felt so cool and we felt like we were in Narnia. Unfortunately because of all the snow, the trail the hike to the top was shut down but since we had a limp dog that was okay. Another thing the Black Forest and Triberg are known for are cuckoo clocks! I told Chris I was going to get one for our house (I’m all about collecting things from our trips to decorate our home) but he definitely thought this one was crazy. Aren’t cuckoo clocks for grandmas?! (You married one, Chris!). But once we got to the cuckoo clock store, he was convinced. Even more convinced than I that we needed a legit, all wood, no battery, authentic tug-the-pinecones cuckoo clock. So, that’s what we did. We bought ourselves an authentic cuckoo clock that will be the first thing we hang up in our new home and we’re both pretty stoked about it. Another important thing to note on this trip was that we were determined to get ourselves some Black Forest Cake straight from the Black Forest – Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte. I found an authentic-looking bakery for us to go to and once we walked in we knew we were in the right spot. Three older ladies were behind the counter at this bakery/diner and Chris charmed them with his American sounding German. We had a funny German conversation with them and this interaction reminded us why knowing the language is not only kind of important if you want to get around, but also FUN! The funnest part about bringing this cake home to have as dessert after dinner at our airbnb? IT TASTED LIKE STRAIGHT UP CHERRY VODKA! Chris and I both took bites of it and looked at each other. Is there….alcohol in this?! We legitimately could not finish the cake because every bit felt like taking a shot. What did these old German ladies put in this thing?! Turns out in Germany, they put a little something called Kirschwasser (Cherry water-alcohol) in these cakes that make them authentic. I guess Wegmans Black Forest cakes never prepared me for that one.