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Channeling Hansel and Gretel in the Black Forest

July 5th, 2020 · No Comments · Germany, tourism

This is what happens when you don’t do enough vacation planning. You get there and something does not match expectations … and you end up wasting a day, or most of one, trying to solve a problem or abandon it in favor of some patch job. Or a witch appears and plots plans for putting lost tourists in a pot.

We were in the suburbs of Stuttgart, in the southwest of Germany, and instead of rushing back to the south of France, with three days of paid car rental yet to spend, we decided to meander a bit, going south into the renown Black Forest and then on into Switzerland.

Ach! Should have paid closer attention to a batch of roadwork signs near the center of Germany’s miles and miles of trees.

I had decided we would look for Titisee, a Black Forest lake known for great views and often mentioned as a top destination, but whenever we got close … we ran into another closed road.

Thus, we were driving around and losing track of where we were.

(Modern humans do not properly fear forests, as our ancestors did. Hansel and Gretel could speak to that.)

I really could have used a paper map, but I thought we could just Google Earth it, not taking into account sketchy reception in the middle of a billion trees.

After an hour-plus of trying to cross the Black Forest — or at the least find someplace serving Black Forest Cake (my expectations were plummeting), we stumbled into the handsome border city of Freiburg, and decided to make an accident of being lost the highlight of the day. (Unless it was the kitschy “Mexican” menu at our hotel. I was so underwhelmed with the menu — a (tuna enchilada?) that I had wienerschnitzel, which sounds exotic but is dry and starchy.

Next day, we crossed the border into Switzerland (paying 40 euros, about $50, for the pleasure of using its roads — and ran into a half-hour-killing traffic mess on the No. 1 national route.

Eventually we got to Lac Leman, and stumbled into a beautiful day in the Alps in a suburb south of Lausanne. (Acorns, blind squirrels, etc.) and took a lakeside walk and had some very good ice cream.

Then back into the car, after a discussion of ending our wanderings and heading home … or going on an extra 30 miles or so to Grenoble, the self-declared “Capital of the Alps”. We chose the latter, and we did not much care that we didn’t quite make it to the city center. We had dinner at a Novotel on the pool patio, and in the morning we returned home.

So, yeah, when it came to planning these 2-3 days … may as well have tried to follow bread crumbs.


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