A window into the life of a professional geek, wife and mother (and nonni), stitcher/designer, bibliophile, old-school gamer, and whatever other roles she finds herself in.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Walk in the Black Forest (Germany blog part 4)

Monday morning after breakfast, we headed back toward Stuttgart. DsD had decided when we got tickets to fly back a couple days earlier, to minimize lost class time. She was to have a math exam at her evening college class, which would make for a very long day! (As it turned out, flight delays in Atlanta prevented her getting to class, but we didn't know that at the time.)

The drive to Stuttgart was uneventful - the roads were clear from the day before, and there were only a few flurries. After getting DsD squared away and bidding her farewell, we headed back to Karlsruhe - with a stop at a rest area along the highway to let DD play in the snow for a while. From the rest area, we got quite a nice view of the surrounding countryside and of the Black Forest (so named, one presumes, because it is densely populated by dark-wooded evergreens). Very lovely.

Once back in Karlsruhe, we had lunch at the Gutenberg, the pub at which we ate on Friday. This time I could actually have a meat dish, which was excellent. Walking back to the hotel from the Gutenberg, we stopped inside St. Bonifatius, a nice little church along the way. Like most of the churches in Karlsruhe, it was a relatively new building (20th century) but had the feel of an older-style building. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing in the hotel room. DD took the opportunity to scope out German television - there was Gummibärenbande, which looked to be sort of like Care Bears, and Spongebob Schwammkopf (just like the English but overdubbed in German). Evening programming proved to be her favorite, with an unusual show called Bernd das Brot, starring a puppet who was…a loaf of bread. She called it "the bread show", and was pretty psyched that she understood a few words, like "danke".

Dinner was at the Italian restaurant in the basement of our hotel, run by an Italian family. The food was quite excellent, and DD and I shared a dessert of ice cream and himbeeren (raspberries).

By Tuesday morning, the snow had started to pick back up again. We had decided to drive down to the resort town of Baden-Baden in the Black Forest, which boasts a number of sites including Roman baths ("baden" being German for "bath"). Our main destination, however, was the Altes Schloss - a 12th century fortress overlooking the city. We picked up a map at the visitor's center, and departed for the Schloss. After a few missed turns, which showed us the scenic route around Baden-Baden, we went up a forested hill and arrived at the Schloss.

By this time, we were starting to get a bit hungry. And conveniently, there was a nice restaurant there! We had an excellent meal - I had coffee, roast wild boar with spätzle, and a greens salad. DH had a wild game dish that had venison and boar, and DD had Kartoffelsuppe (potato soup). We all enjoyed our meals. And since we were actually in the Black Forest, what better dessert than honest-to-God Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest cake). It was absolutely divine, and puts to shame anything in the US that pretends to the name of "Black Forest". DH was so impressed that he was inspired to blog about German cuisine when we got back to the hotel.

After lunch we wandered around the Schloss for a time. The snow was falling pretty heavily by this time, which looked beautiful but did limit what of the castle we could see - stairs leading to the upper walls were rather slippery, as DH discovered. There was a chapel down a path from the Schloss, and we walked through the snow-covered path through the woods to visit it, only to discover it was closed for the season. Still, we could get a good view of the town, so it was not really a wasted walk. On the way back, DD noticed a beautiful icicle formation on the side of the castle. DD wanted to play in the snow a little bit. By the time we got back to the car, she had snow an inch thick inside the hem of her pants, and she was finally beginning to realize that snow was, well, cold, and declared she'd finally had her fill.

Our last dinner in Germany was at the Chinese place with the wonderful duck dishes that we'd eaten at on Sunday, per DD's request. We had different duck dishes than we'd had previously, and they were just as good as the ones the previous visit. It was mildly surprising to me, although I suppose it shouldn't be, that the two best Chinese restaurants I've ever visited were there in Karlsruhe, and in York, England.

The next morning, we had our last breakfast at the hotel, then returned to the room to collect our bags (which had been packed the night before). Bidding a fond farewell to Karlsruhe, we headed one last time toward Stuttgart.

The snow was falling steadily, although not as heavily as when we went to Speyer. There were a few traffic delays, and at one point we were a bit concerned that we might miss our flight, but the delays cleared rather quickly compared to how similar rubbernecking delays clear in the US, and we made it to Stuttgart just in time to get checked in. We passed two security checkpoints - one for the normal airport security, and one to access the US departure gates. From there, we boarded the plane, and had an uneventful flight home.

I was very glad we went, even if it was only for a few days. I would definitely like to go back someday, though next time, I will bring back much more chocolate!

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