“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.
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.!
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.
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:
- “Carneval en Allemagne: 15 Photos de Schramberg“
- “Rottweil Fasnet 2015 – YouTube Video“
- “Making Time: The Cuckoo Clock Tradition“
- “Black Forest, Germany’s Traditional Bollenhut Hat“
- “Panun Matkat: Schwarzwald“
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.