During the first week of August, Errin, Grace, and I had been having a whole lot of fun exploring Bavaria and its picturesque villages. We raced down the mountainsides on Alpine Coasters. We climbed to the top of the mountains via chairlifts for spectacular panoramic views of the Swiss and Austrian Alps while working our way further and further in an easterly direction exploring fairy-tale castles and villages filled to the brim with creativity.
We switched course on Thursday, however, and decided to drive in a westerly direction instead. We had abruptly changed our itinerary the week before. That change had bumped our agenda a day ahead of schedule. Doing so had some effect on what sites we could visit as we made our way to the next destination. Because we didn’t get our rental car until late in the afternoon last week, we weren’t able to visit a couple of places in the Black Forest en route to Bavaria as initially planned. We decided to back-track a bit at the end of the week, on Thursday, to check out what we had missed earlier in the week.
We drove about 100 miles to a charming mountain hamlet village tucked deep in the Black Forest called Triberg, a charming village that proudly boasts and brags about their intricately hand-carved cuckoo clock collections! This place is cuckoo heaven if ever there was one. Cuckoos galore!
Below is a sampling of some of the intricately and beautifully hand-carved clocks that caught my eye! Many of them had a price tag that was well outside my budget, however!
The store had one section set aside for demonstrating how they make clocks. Although there wasn’t anyone to conduct a demonstration, we saw the tools and the stencils and patterns the woodworkers use for laying out designs on smooth wooden surfaces before carving. The workshop area included all manner of paraphernalia for cutting detailed images in fine-grained wood and building a unique kind of clock. There were even a pair of little bellows on display that were hand-operated, which demonstrated how they make the cuckoo sound inside the clock. So, that’s how they do that!
The girls also noticed some incredibly soft bunny rabbits in the toy section of the baby department they wanted to cuddle, and we found all manner of other whimsical giftware and stylish local dress costumes we admired as well.
The quaint village also has a stunning set of waterfalls right next to it that you can easily access via a vast network of interconnecting pathways wandering through the neighboring woodland hillside. We spent quite a bit of time following the paths that traced the streams’ course up the ravine, stopping to enjoy the beauty of each set of unique falls as we progressed to the top. It was so peaceful and serene. So very Black Forest. Just how I had imagined it would look when I was a child during bedtime storytime.
Driving all the way back to the Black Forest to see the sites we had missed earlier in the week was definitely worth it. It was a bit of a drive, but we were glad we didn’t miss the chance to visit it after all. It really was pretty cool.
By the time the end of the week arrived on Friday, we were a bit worn out from driving, so we hung out at the resort enjoying its amenities during the morning and early afternoon. Grace immersed herself in the relaxing waters of the resort’s beautiful pools at the spa center.
We also did our laundry since we were just about out of clean clothes once again. Our carry-on luggage only held enough clothes for seven days. The days had flown by while we were in Bavaria. It was hard to believe the week was already drawing to its end.
Once we had recharged our batteries, ate some lunch, and restocked our suitcases with clean clothes, we still had quite a bit of the afternoon left. It was such a beautiful sunny day, so we impulsively decided to go back up the first chairlift we had taken to the highest point to get one last look at the Austrian and Swiss Alps. It was a gorgeous day weather-wise, and the views were even better than before! We could see for miles and miles with barely any significant clouds obscuring our view.
Paragliders were even out enjoying the clear, bright skies and the magnificent views from aloft. I’d like to do that!
Three pictures say it all; the views we enjoyed did not disappoint!
After our descent back down the mountain, we also couldn’t resist one last ride on the Alpine Coaster at nearby Heundle Activity park!
As much as we hated to leave this beautiful area of Germany, it was time for us to move on. Saturday morning, we gathered together all of our belongings and checked out of the resort. It had been a comfortable and convenient place to call our base while we meandered among the mountains and valleys of Bavaria. But leave, we must – we still had more destinations yet to explore!
So off we went. We had a total of about 500 miles to travel that day. Half of it would be in the rental car; the other half would be on a train. From Oberstaufen, we drove west approximately 200 miles back to Strasbourg, France, to return the vehicle.
We arrived in Strasbourg with time to spare, returned the car, and leisurely strolled through the train station in search of the platform where we could catch the afternoon fast train to Paris. It was so handy to have the rental car agencies right next to the train station!
The train arrived on schedule, we climbed aboard and settled comfortably in our designated seats. We then proceeded to relax and enjoy a 2-hour (and 288-mile) journey across the French countryside to Paris. Luckily we had a decent-sized table between us, making it a perfect venue for eating the picnic lunch we had packed for the day. It also had convenient wifi connections and charging stations for our electronic devices. We were set!
We arrived in Paris at about 6 p.m., just in time for dinner! We checked in at our hostel a couple of stops on the local Metro from the train station. Le Village Hostel is in the Montmartre district, conveniently located at the base of the famous church, Sacre Coeur. I stayed here a few years ago with some friends so I was quite familiar with our surroundings. I knew where we were going and how to get there easily. Its a great hostel in a great location.
Once we got our luggage stowed in our private room upstairs, we climbed the tourist-laden steps in front of the massive church, Sacre Coeur.
We were headed to the heart of the Montmartre district of Paris. I thought Grace might really enjoy a meal in that artists’ historic haven since she is an artist herself. In the center of the square, nestled among artists creating one-of-a-kind portraits and whimsical caricatures of passers-by, we enjoyed our first taste of French cuisine and funky artistic culture.
Montmartre and Sacre Coeur offer up spectacular views of Paris from the hill where they sit. The views put into perspective just how big Paris is when splayed out before you like this.
The night was beginning to fall, so we strolled back down the multitude of steps to the bottom of the hill and returned to the hostel to relax. Just outside our room was an upstairs outdoor terrace perfect for what we were desiring – chillin’ for a while – after a long day of traveling from one country to the next!
We spent the next 3 days in Paris, exploring several iconic sites. Stories about those adventures will also be forthcoming as you might guess! Stay tuned! In the meantime, I hope you are also enjoying an adventure or two yourself!
If not, you should! Travel and adventures are so good for the soul, they help develop an open mind and foster creativity, and, you can gain compassion and understanding of people from other places around the globe. It’s such a fantastic experience! Besides, it’s just good, plain fun!