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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

#JoinGermanTradition: Creative Travel Tales & Tips from the Black Forest District

I am leaving to go travelling again within five days of arriving back home.” Only recently returned from my epic #CreativElenaRTW trip adventure, I have packed up my bags and left home again in order to #JoinGermanTradition – an invitation to join a creative “foodlover” trip deep into the world-famous, German Black Forest district. Why? Because !! Travelling, being out there & making those connections is simply what drives me and fuels my creativity. Besides, I have never even been to the “Schwarzwald” Black Forest district before, and less so during the (crazy?!) times of carnival! So I guess I can call myself curious (and daring, perhaps, for the carnival), enjoying this large appetite for life & the world around me.

 

Curiosity is definitely something you should pack in your bag when visiting the Black Forest. Or did you know that, for instance, the largest cuckoo clock in the world is actually … a two-storey cuckoo clock house?!

I love visiting the Black Forest, and more so when it comes to meeting the local people. First of all, there is the warmth & hospitality in every nook & cranny of the Hotel zum Ochsen in Schönwald (the name of the little town literally translating into “beautiful forest”!). Arriving there after having just recently been to places such as Sharjah, Nepal or even Japan felt like coming home for me. Home to a place full of comfort, central heating (!), a large variety of tasty local food, and friendly people speaking my language (though not quite because of the accent, which always provides for some fun engagement!).

The same story goes for meeting the creative spirits of Ingolf & his wife Conny, of “Rombach & Haas – Schwarzwalduhrenmanufaktur”, who have successfully taken the story of the world-famous cuckoo clock to a next level of … pink. Modern design, that is. Essentially, they have kissed the image of the traditional cuckoo clock awake from its peaceful slumber, assisting with its re-birth in the modern-world view of the 21st century. “Interestingly enough, producing and selling modern-day cuckoo clocks has stimulated a new demand for the older, more traditional models. We needed that change in the market to re-appreciate their original value, and fortunately for us, our clients have responded well to both lines of design over the course of recent years.” Ingolf himself just sparks with energy, sharing all about his formative years in the cuckoo clock workshop of his forefathers and the initial difficulties he faced in being bold in a small Black Forest town ridden with tradition. “We made it through all the initial skepticism”, he would now say with a smile as well as an understated sense of pride in his eyes. Do not miss a visit to him and Conny, who specializes in painting cuckoo clocks. You will be delighted by their stories – and ending up wanting to buy a cuckoo clock, traditional, modern, or else.

Arriving to the Black Forest of Germany ...

Arriving to the Black Forest of Germany …

 

... has you being wrapped up in an atmosphere of comfort almost immediately, such as here at the Hotel zum Ochsen.

… has you being wrapped up in an atmosphere of comfort almost immediately, such as here at the Hotel zum Ochsen.

 

Love meeting my new friends, too: Fellow travel writer Adeline from France and I are getting ready for the carnival days ahead, enjoying our first piece of typical "Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte"!

Love meeting my new friends, too: Fellow travel writer Adeline from France and I are getting ready for the carnival days ahead, enjoying our first piece of typical “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte”!

 

The following day, we dive deep into the local tradition of ... the world-famous cuckoo clock.

The following day, we dive deep into the local tradition of … the world-famous cuckoo clock.

 

Dear Ingolf, of Rombach & Haas manufacturing, has opened his doors to the workshop for us ...

Dear Ingolf, of Rombach & Haas manufacturing, has opened his doors to the workshop for us …

 

... explaining how the cuckoo sound is made ...

… explaining how the cuckoo sound is made from these little bellows …

 

... and how modern-day market demands have helped shaping ever more creative cuckoo clocks, bold both in design and colour.

… and how modern-day market demands have helped shaping ever more creative cuckoo clocks, bold both in design and colour.

 

His wife Conny meanwhile is busy painting a traditional design cuckoo clock ...

His wife Conny meanwhile is busy painting a traditional design cuckoo clock …

 

... while we delight visiting the couple in their workshop and sales room, both a burst of colour as well as a fusion of modernity and tradition.

… while we delight in visiting the couple in their workshop and sales room, both a burst of colour as well as a fusion of modernity and tradition.

 

The story of the cuckoo clock ...

The story of the cuckoo clock …

 

... "ends here": At the world's largest cuckoo clock !!!

… “ends here”: At the world’s largest cuckoo clock !!!

 

Learning what makes this clock "tick" ...

Learning what makes this clock “tick” …

 

... and waiting for the child-size cuckoo to come out and announce every half hour: The largest clock in the world is actually ... a whole house in itself!

… and waiting for the child-size cuckoo to come out and announce every half hour: The largest clock in the world is actually … a whole house in itself!

 

Talking of true local travel tips for a gentle feel of the Black Forest district culture: Head over to charming Ute & her family farm at “Reinertonishof im Schönwald”.!

They were certainly clever in naming the area “Schönwald” – Beautiful Forest. On this perfectly still, bright sunny winter’s day, we have come out here to the Reinertonishof, both a cultural monument as well as a living, open-air museum in the middle of the German Black Forest district. I remember just standing there up on the hill, my eyes meeting the gently undulating landscape in front of me, all covered in snow because of the area’s altitude at well over 1.000 metres above sea-level. Beautiful. What is more is the sense of place, as expressed by the warm smiles of Ute and her family wearing traditional clothes and helping us to settle into a “timeless rhythm” – despite the many cuckoo clocks around us. “Producing cuckoo clocks was a big pastime and source of income for the local people during winter months. There is something in it for everyone: Engineers for the clockwork. Craftsmen for the woodwork. And painters for the decorative art! And oh, let me take you into the heart of where the original Schwarzwälder Schinken (Black Forest Ham) is produced …!” Quickly, we are whisked away exploring Ute’s farm. Let me tell you this: You will want to be “whisked away” in a place as lovely as this.!

Arriving at Reinertonishof ...

Arriving at the Reinertonishof of the Duffner family in the Black Forest …

 

... means meeting the locals upon first sight.

… means meeting the locals upon first sight …

 

... who are open and welcoming in the most literal way possible: "Come and have a pear / apple schnapps tasting", is what the welcome here is!

… who are open and welcoming in the most literal way possible: “Come and have a pear / apple schnapps tasting”, is what the welcome here is!

 

Here are some of those original cuckoo clock workings still to be found on an old bench inside the farm ...

Here are some of those original cuckoo clock workings still to be found on an old bench inside the farm …

 

... as well as an old pair of trousers with a rather practical hole in them!

… as well as an old pair of trousers with a rather practical hole for, ahm, urgent business in them!

 

And finally, we stop for a local taste of traditional Black Forest ham ... Yum!

And finally, we stop for a local taste of traditional Black Forest ham … Yum!

 

Last but not least, Dorotheenhütte has you try your hands (and breath!) at traditional glassblowing in the Black Forest district: #JoinGermanTradition in the most literal way possible!

“Glassblowing for visitors” – “Enjoy our exquisite cake buffet”! The welcome here in Wolfach at the local Dorotheenhütte Glashütte Wolfach is both a creative & foodie one. Not only does a big slice of that “Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte” seduce you in their cosy Hüttenklause café: It is the “play with fire” at over 1.000 °C as well as the “liquid art” that the local master glass blowers are able to create, that fully captures your attention. I have my try at making my own colour vase, blown & formed thanks to the expert help of the Dorotheenhütte glass artists.

Glassblowing for visitors is offered all year round and a most popular local activity.

Glassblowing for visitors is offered all year round and a most popular local activity.

 

Fascinated by the skill of this master artist, only 25 years old yet able to produce a Christmas glass ball in less than five minutes ..!

Fascinated by the skill of this master artist, only 25 years old yet able to expertly produce a Christmas glass ball in less than five minutes ..!

 

Off we go, then: Dear Samantha, of TheWanderingWanderluster, has her go at making her own vase ...

Off we go, then: Dear Samantha, of TheWanderingWanderluster, has her go at making her own vase …

 

... while mine is taking its time to cool down, still at well over 400 °C as this photo was taken!

… while mine is taking its time to cool down, still at well over 400 °C as this photo was taken!

 

Next, our host & general manager Ralf Müller tells us, the Dorotheenhütte also offers glass painting courses as a creative workshop activity for visitors!

Next, our host & general manager Ralf Müller tells us, the Dorotheenhütte also offers glass painting courses as a creative workshop activity for visitors!

 

Heading over to Schramberg, we find creativity as expressed in this local "car & clock museum": Have you ever seen the look of these cars before?

Heading over to Schramberg, we find creativity as expressed in this local “car & clock museum”: Have you ever seen the look of these vintage cars before?

 

Having fun at all times: #lifeofatravelblogger. ;)

Having fun at all times: #lifeofatravelblogger. 😉 Actually, my granny still had one of those drying hats up until only a few years ago.?!

 

For more fun picture stories on the German carnival as well as local Black Forest images, head over to my Flickr Photosharing Gallery here:

Have a look at even more happy, colourful stories from our carnival trip through the Black Forest on any of my friends’ travel blogs listed here:

Disclaimer: I have been invited by the German National Tourist Board to ” #JoinGermanTradition ” on this creative culture trip to the Black Forest. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
#CreativElenaRTW: HOME. Practical, emotional & fun conclusions from a life-changing journey around the world.
#JoinGermanTradition: Carnival Craze in Rottweil & Schramberg

4 Comments

  1. Greg Snell

    Amazing, love the photos Elena!! Great stuff 🙂

    Reply
  2. Cacinda Maloney

    Great storytelling with the details of the German traditions! I loved it!

    Reply

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