german clock route journeys + legendary luge runs

We officially begin our tour of the German Clock Route!  The Black Forrest’s claim to fame are the intricate and indescribable cuckoo clocks, which they hand carve within the region.  The complexities of these clocks is simply not to be explained – figurines smaller than my thumb saw tiny blocks of wood and carry pin drop sized mugs of beer through the doors while the mechanical wheel plays its songs.  With their roofs covered with individual shingles and the smoothly moving parts, they were mesmerizing.  Cameron’s favorite even had lights that flickered on when the hour was struck.

Our journey began in Tubingen, a traditional university town that had a lively market in the town square.  I wish we had fresh produce that looked as good as this did!  We walked through the town and got a coffee before getting back on the road to Schloss Lichtenstein.

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Built directly on the edge of the cliff, we ambled along the wooden paths around the perimeter of the castle that wasn’t cliff facing and Cameron was the ultimate daredevil – leaving the safety of the path to stand on the verrrryyyyy edge of the cliff.  Brave, crazy guy!!  Directly behind him is at least a 2000-foot sheer drop, completely down to the valley floor.

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Continuing our drive through the scenic heart of the Black Forest, we stopped to get a delicious lunch before continuing on to our Hotel Lindau in Donaueschingen.  Our hotel was a B&B run by a darling mother-daughter team that was very sweet.  Cameron and I wandered the postage sized town and then met up with Mom and Dad for our 2 hour Italian dinner 😉

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The next morning, we awoke to a fantastic breakfast – complete with scrambled eggs and ham.  ‘merica breakfast baby.  Happy bellies, we headed out into a beautifully crisp morning to continue our Black Forest exploration in Triberg.  Boasting the largest cuckoo clock in the world, we stopped at the house of 1000 clocks and met the third generation owner who was very persuasive but not quiet enough to convince daddy to shell out 600 euro for our favorite clock (that’s an average price to give you some idea for how intricate they are – truly works of art).  We skipped the Black Forest cake but did hike up through Triberg Falls.  At 163 meters, it was a spectacular view of the valley below.

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We trekked back down the mountainside and moved on to Fieburg.  A university town with the river routed to run in streams along nearly every street directly though the town, we stopped for lunch here.  Mom and I got Panini’s while the gentlemen ate at the recommended beer garden.  They ordered sausage salad and like the reasonable restaurant patrons they are assumed it would be some sorts of sliced sausage atop a bed of greens.  Nope.  It was about one pounds of bologna on some onions.  Yummm 🙂

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After more shopping and exploring, we headed back to our home base in Donaueschingen to rest up for more German Clock Route adventures!  After another delicious breakfast, our next morning began in the lakeside town of Lindau.  We explored, shopped, climbed to the top of the lighthouse, and got some sushi and apple strudel (different people, not a new inspired combo).

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Next up was a definitive highlight of the trip so far.  The Biberwier Luge Course was epic – exactly what I imaged for a quintessential alpine summer experience.  Rick Steve’s explains “operating the sled is simple:  Push the stick forward to go faster, pull back to apply brakes.  Even a novice can go very, very fast.  Most are cautious on their first run, speed dons on their second…and bruised and bloody on their third“.  Bingo!  That progression was definitely true for us!  Beginning with a gorgeous chair lift ride to the very top of the ski run, the Austrian Alps laid out like a patchwork quilt below our toes.  The tiny delicate wildflowers, expansive trees, and jagged rock cliffs reminded me a great deal of Mt. Rainer except the Alps peaks are more “dense”.  It was a beauty that couldn’t be adequately captured in photographs.  Once we got to the top, we scanned our passes and grabbed our luge sled.  Making sure to the give the person in front of us plenty of time so as not to be slowed by catching up with them on the run, we were off!  The route was a maze of crisscrossing back and forth and was So. Much. Fun!!  The first run we figured out how to accelerate and slowed into the corners, wind blowing my hair out of my face.  The second run we all were a bit more adventurous, not bothering to brake into the corners and really flying down the mountainside.  The third run Cameron and I went up by ourselves.  This time we accelerated into the curves 🙂  Not surprisingly, our wild guy really got moving.  The video does not do justice to how fast he was going – but sometimes when you go that fast you flip over the edges of the corners and run your arms, hands, and knees over the concrete.  He emerged with some sweet battle wounds.

**Video coming soon.  Our Internet right now is just too slow to upload it! 🙂

Update:  Check.  It.

 

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As the air began to get chilly up on the mountain, we got back in the car and drove back into Germany to our B&B for the next couple of nights in Fussen.  We ate a great meal at Bar Ari on their heated patio with live jazz music, waiting out a warm summer thunderstorm before walking back to the hotel.

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We asked for their first aid kit to bandage Cameron’s wounds up but they only had disinfectant spray and bandages so we tried to find any apothecary (where you have to buy behind-the-counter Neosporin in Germany) but nothing was open on Sunday within driving distance so we got it clean and bandaged for the night – ready and waiting for the apothecary to open at 8:00 the next morning before we visited the actual castle that inspired Cinderella’s in Disneyland!