Thursday, June 10, 2010



After Baden-Baden we headed through the Black Forest towards the small town of Zell im Wiesental. Why would we go to a little town that no one has ever heard of? That’s where our German friends, Hansjoerg and Silke live, and we saved the best part of our trip for last. To top it off it wasn’t raining!

Hansjorg had sent me an e-mail describing the scenic route from Baden-Baden through the Black Forest, so we programmed Alice and headed south. We’re glad we followed Hansjoerg’s instructions as the route he selected for us was beautiful. Following ridge tops most of the way, we had spectacular views on both sides of the road. After a leisurely drive, we arrived in Zell, as the locals call it, a little after 5 pm.

We were under the impression that we would be staying at Silke’s house, but when we arrived, we were told other arraignments had been made for us as Silke’s place was too small. After a welcoming bottle of champagne over which we caught up on old times, we were taken to a neighboring village of Pfaffenburg, about 4 km away. There Silke and Hansjoerg had arranged for us to stay in a wonderful guesthouse with an unmatched view. From our small suite on the top floor, we had a beautiful Black Forest view with a small church situated far below. Perfect! We were treated to a great dinner at the Berggasthof Schliissel, our home for the next four days. The owner, Monica attended to our every need as we had a long and quiet evening with Hansjoerg, Silke, Hansjorg’s son Frank, and Silke’s mother, Ilse. The food was excellent and the wine plentiful.

The next morning Hansjoerg, Frank, Cathie and I, took a hike in the Black Forest, led by Hansjoerg, who assured us that he knew the way. After a 6 mile trek, we weren’t to sure, but it was well worth the effort with a stop along the way at a guesthouse serving some great German fare. To get back down the mountain, a ride on a summer toboggan was in store. More like a one man rollercoaster at 2.9 km, or 1-3/4 miles long, it is the longest summer toboggan in Germany. What a ride. Check out their website.

We capped off the day with a great meal at Silke’s prepared by her and her mother. Joining us in addition to those already mentioned was Hansjoerg’s daughter Bergit. Both Frank and Bergit in their early 20’s seem well on their way to successful lives and both were a welcome addition to the evening.

Cathie enjoys a German invention called “Radler”’ which is beer and lemon soda. You can buy it bottled, and our friends made sure there was plenty on hand. We had a great evening with Bar-B-Q German style, more than enough food for all with lots left over. On the back patio with the sun setting over the hill, you couldn’t ask for a better evening.

The next day we headed to an old village where there was a craft fair, along with some depictions of how things were done back when. One old house from the 1800’s has been preserved and turned into a museum. Interesting stuff. Having been worn out by Hansjoerg’s trail blazing abilities the day before, he led us on a short walk to a waterfall, before ending the afternoon at another guesthouse for refreshment. Because of some rain (yes rain) and evening thunderstorms in the forecast, we had another great dinner at Berggasthof Schliissel,

The next day, Cathie took the day off and Silke had to go back to work, so Hansjoerg and I spent the day wandering around Basel, Switzerland, which is just a few minutes away for Zell. Another great evening was spent on the patio at Silkes’ with more great German cooking.

We were treated like royalty by our hosts. They showered us with kindness, not to mention gifts, and wouldn’t let us take our wallets out of our pockets. On more than one occasion when I tried to pay, the proprietor wouldn’t allow it, having been told in the native tongue that our money was no good. After 3 days and 4 nights it came time to say good-by. It was difficult leaving after being entertained on a grand scale by Hansjoerg, Silke, and Ilse. We all promised that we would see each other again in the future and I sure we will. Good friends like these are hard to find.
There are Guesthouses all over Germany and they all serve breakfast with the price of a room. Our guesthouse was full over the weekend with a wedding and lots of bikers. (not the outlaw kind) There are also guesthouse in the hills where one stops on a hike or mountian bike ride for a place to stay or a meal.

We couldn't get over how green everthing is. The rain helps, but it stays this was most of the year, only changing when covered with snow.

This is the place we stopped for lunch and drink on our hike. It's very common to find such places on the many hiking trails all over Germany.




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