Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 3: land of the cuckoo clocks

Our couchette from Paris to Germany was great... it was actually the best one we had our entire trip. Unfortunately, all the other couchettes we had from then on out couldn't even hold a candle to that first one. So after a few good hours of sleep we arrived in Schwarzwald (aka the Black Forest). Upon hearing the words "the Black Forest", one may immediately think of a dark and frightening place, where witches in gingerbread houses try to eat little children. However, the Black Forest is anything but. Instead it is a warm, inviting place, and absolutely beautiful. Maybe, just maybe, it was a dark and dreary place at one point in time. And maybe it wasn't until Hansel and Gretel defeated the witch that Schwarzwald became an absolutely peaceful and beautiful place. If so, my hat goes off to them.
Our first stop in that area of Germany was Triberg, home of the world’s largest cuckoo clock. *[insert sounds of awe here]* We got into town in the early morning while the air was still crisp and select shop owners were barely opening their doors. By select, I mean the grocery store, gas station, and one large tourist shop. After stopping by the grocery store to buy the essentials (water and chocolate), we spent a good hour or so at the tourist shop biding our time. Once we left the shop, the small town was alive. (We probably woke them up when we set out testing every cuckoo clock that shop had on their shelves and walls).
We then took the 1.5 mile uphill trek to see, what my mom and I rightfully dubbed, the "tourist trap". The world’s largest cuckoo clock wasn't nearly as impressive as we hoped it would be. What it is, essentially, is a one roomed house where giant wooden gears are located in. You pay 3 euros to look at the gears, then wait outside to watch a small door, located 2 feet above the face of the clock (which is installed on the outside of the one room house) to open. Then, on the hour, a small bird comes out and hangs there for a minute or so before it hides itself back inside. At least it makes a cuckoo sound.
After we walked around a bit more, entered a few more shops, and ate lunch we took a train to Offenburg. We were grateful we hadn't booked a room in Triberg since there isn't much to do there. My mom had found the cutest place to stay while she was surfing the net. It's a great apartment to rent for a mere 35 Euros a night. It was located on a family's farm, and they pick you up from the train station and drop you back off there whenever you please.

My mom scheduled with them to pick us up around 4 or 5 in the evening, so we had a few hours to tour Offenburg, and for my mom to get a hair cut. There ended up being a mix up in the meeting location, but gratefully they found us around 6pm and took us back to the wonderful 2 month old apartment. The apartment also held the most decadent shower I've ever been privileged to use. That night when I used it, I didn't want to turn the water off. I made a mental note to buy one exactly like it when I finally own a house.
Before leaving Offenburg we had bought fresh bread and slices of meat to have for dinner. So, after dropping our things off at the apartment we grabbed our sandwiches and took a walk along the property and had a picnic overlooking the rolling hills. We walked for a bit longer after eating, enjoying the wonderful scenery. Then we headed back to our apartment for an early night... because we had some cow milking to do in the morning.

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