Black Forest, Part I

We’ve just returned from the most amazing weekend away.

It was a great way to end my first week of working after over a year of unemployment, and a nice farewell to my twenties as my thirtieth birthday is sneaking around the corner. Everything really came together for us on this trip, and I’m so excited to tell you about it that I’m going to stay up a little later than I should to do it. Before I get started, I’d like to mention that a lot of the itinerary for this trip was borrowed from another great blog called World Traveling Military Family. I was an English major, after all, so it only makes sense for me to cite my sources. She’s set the standards high for what a travel blog should entail. I hope to be that good someday. Even if I’m not, I’ll always have these memories for myself, Zach, and my kids.

Emma and I in Strasbourg

It is officially October. My favorite month—my birth month. I’ve been telling Zach for a while that what I want for my birthday this year is to get away. Getting away allows me to combine all of my favorite past times. First, there’s the obsessive planning. I contemplated and researched many places before settling on Triberg, in the Black Forest of Germany. Then, the travel itself. Spending time with my family is a given, and I also enjoy taking pictures, shopping, trying new places to eat, and, of course, writing about my journey after the fact! Given the nature and length of our trip, I decided it would be also be a good opportunity to bring Boomer along for the first time. He spent lots of time traveling between North Dakota and Oklahoma (and later Kansas and Oklahoma) as a young pup, but since arriving in Germany, we’ve suffered the guilt of having to kennel him during the times that we’re away. Not this time! It was truly a family vacation.

Strasbourg with Boomer

Our weekend started early on Friday. We left at around nine, punching Strasbourg, France into the GPS. Strasbourg is a place that I have visited years ago, but not with Zach. I had hoped we would be there by lunch, but we ended up having a few issues finding parking and didn’t make it to the city center until around 1:15 or 1:30. There is a beautiful Cathedral in Strasbourg, as well an abundance of shopping and dining. I wish I would’ve taken more photos of all the sweets in the windows. You would’ve liked to have seen them. We should have at least bought some eclairs. Instead, we took Boomer’s picture in front of the Cathedral and snacked on some Nutella-filled waffles since we didn’t want to ruin dinner. The kids and I visited a very fancy candy store and picked out a variety of suckers, one of which I unfortunately found out later was licorice flavored. Everyone else liked their suckers, but mine, well, sucked.

Snacks in Strasbourg

Strasbourg was a bit too crowded for Zach’s taste, so we didn’t stay long. We also found the forwardness of the many beggars in the city to be off-putting. I’d like to think we’re well-traveled, and we’ve experienced our fair share of panhandling (especially in France), but it still makes us uncomfortable. It’s just annoying. One guy even came up to our table as we were eating. I’m not sure I’ve ever had that happen before.

I worried that Zach’s mediocre experience in Strasbourg would set a bad precedent for the trip, but thankfully, his spirits lifted almost immediately as we crossed back into Germany from France. We checked into our room at the Best Western Triberg at around five o’clock, and it did not take long for us to fall in love with the area. I immediately regretted only booking one night! The view from the hotel was spectacular. It is designed in a manner that every room has an amazing view. Our room had an especially large balcony.

Unbeknownst to us, Emma packed her own wardrobe.

I do wish Best Western would have had a designated area for pets, but it was mostly Zach who was tasked with taking Boomer on his walks, and he didn’t seem to mind. The hotel also had laminate flooring, so I didn’t have to worry about what kind of messes Boomer might make if there were carpet. They charged us a small fee (around 10 euro per night) for our furry companion, and he unfortunately was not able to partake in the free breakfast as the hotel did not allow dogs in its restaurant. We didn’t want to leave Boomer in the room alone for fear that he might bark, so we traded off. Zach ate with Emma, I ate with Talon. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.

Boomer and I outside Haus Der 1000 Uhren

After checking in, we had a little bit of time to check out some of the shops in town before they closed for the evening. The highlight of these shops was the Haus Der 1000 Uhren, or House of 1,000 Clocks. In addition to Cuckoo Clocks that ranged from a couple hundred to a couple thousand Euros, they sold miscellaneous souvenirs, including steins, liquor, and the usual touristy stuff. The outside of the store had a giant cuckoo clock façade and cute little animatronic bears that Talon pointed out every time we passed. “Cuckoo Clock Bears!” It was the highlight of the trip for him.

Boomer wasn’t allowed in Haus Der 1000 Uhren, and it was a bit crowded so I probably wouldn’t have wanted him in there anyway. Some of the other stores in town were more relaxed on their pet policies, but most of the time Zach and I just alternated between standing outside with Boomer and going inside to look around with the kids. We didn’t spend enough time shopping for this to be too much of an inconvenience.

Pizza!

The restaurants in Triberg were much more accommodating. Those who do not live in Europe may not know how pet friendly Europe is in comparison to America. It’s not uncommon to see dogs out and about, in stores and under tables. For dinner on Friday, we chose to take the suggestion on the WTMF blog and ate at Pinocchio’s Pizzeria. It was a short walk downhill from Haus Der 1000 Uhren, reasonably priced, and pretty good. European pizza is a bit more “refined” than American pizza, and by that I mean:

Germany: “We want you to eat this pizza with a fork and knife.”

Also Germany: “We’ve provided you with the dullest butter knife we could find.”

Zach, lover of all things spicy, remarked that his pizza was hotter than any other one he’s eaten in Germany thus far. I defaulted to my typical selection of Hawaiian pizza, and the kids had pepperoni. Zach’s pizza also came with black olives, which apparently were not specified on the menu. I reminded him that it was Pinocchio’s Pizza, so they were bound to lie about something.

One more of the view.

After dinner, we called it a night and headed back to the hotel, knowing we had a lot planned for the next day. I’m going to do the same for this blog post now—the end of our first night in Triberg seems like a good stopping point. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll join me again soon for part two of our Black Forest adventures.

To be continued!

-Ashley

 

 

 

 

 

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