Gilbert adventure into the Black forest number 2!
Our first experience with cuckoo clocks and peanut eating squirrels had been pretty cool, but I was keen to discover some of the gorgeous pictures I had seen on Pinterest of the Black Forest....dark, mysterious and magical. I had visions of us hunkering down as a family in a mystical part of the deep dark forest and reading the 'Grimms Fairytales' together. So in that spirit, we drove out of Strasbourg France and into the general northern part of the Black Forest. After a couple of hours driving we were all hungry, so it was time to do something wonderfully iconic....eat traditional German Black Forest food of course!
I particularly wanted to get my teeth sunk into a piece of Black Forest cake while we were there. I really do love doing all those cheesy touristy iconic things, I just can't help myself, it makes me happy.
Of course, I also love to wander off the beaten path and discover totally original un-touristy type things as well, as I am aware that these often lead to wonderful experiences, unique stories and it's generally seen as a bit cooler, as in; 'I'm a wandering intrepid adventurer who has shaken off the shackles of conventional life and am therefore free of and above commercialism and all the fake tourism snares that other less grounded and more worldly travelers inevitably fall for, therefore I will commune with the forest and become one with nature....and so forth'.
Nah, whatever! I wanted to eat Black Forest cake while sitting in the Black Forest and bask in all the glorious cheesiness of it all.
So for lunch we parked the car in some obscure town and all filed into a local restaurant. We ordered all the traditional stuff. It was a splurge, but we were having our iconic moment so I totally justified it. A hefty 90 Euros later and we were presented with....the most disgusting and inedible lunch that we have ever eaten! Aargh, it was so gross!!! Floating meat that looked like dog food swimming around in some kind of broth, topped with raw onion and pickled vegetables.
More dog meat, raw onion, and some sort of nameless limp pickled vegetable. Mmmmmm, have I made you hungry yet?
We did score some ham that we all recognized and squabbled over and had to carefully divide between all hungry parties. And in all fairness, in true German fashion, the bread was wonderful.
Tragically, the restaurant did not serve black forest cake. This was a little devastating, obviously I had to go looking in more touristy type places. Anyway, we were too poor by then, and maybe it was meant to be, since I am a non-alchoholic type person, and apparently the cake is drowned in Rum....
With our bellies sort of full (and sort of churning from the horrible jellied concoction that we had just consumed) we set off to recreate our own Grimm's Fairytale.
We drove for a while until we found a promising looking path that entered the forest.
We decided to take the pram. You may ask; 'why the heck would anyone take a pram into the forest???'. Well, we had plans to settle Bo and have him snoozing contentedly in the pram while we read and explored the forest. This seemed totally reasonable at the time....
No, dumb idea. He wouldn't sleep. At. All. I tried settling down and reading the Grimm's Fairytales to my kids. This sort of worked, until we realized there were ants and other creepy crawlies everywhere. So that idea didn't last long. We explored the forest instead....carrying a pram!
See, there we were learning all sorts of important life lessons;
1. Do not eat jellied German dog meat.
2. Do not carry a pram through the forest.
3. There are creepy crawlies all over the forest floor, so thongs are not appropriate footwear.
This stuff just cannot be taught, it has to be experienced! Hahaha
The kids actually had a wonderful time. They climbed trees, whacked sticks, made cubbies and were as loud as they liked. We discovered little shrines in the forest that were very interesting. We were probably more at home in the forest being a pack of wild animals than when we were in Cathedrals and Museums around Europe trying to keep the kids in line and quiet. It was nice to let them run free. We didn't see any wild animals though, no doubt they were scared away from all the noise and commotion.
Sword fighting skills were developed and we laughed and played around together. Despite the setbacks, it was a pretty adventurous and fun day.
On the way home we were pretty hot, so we made like a local German - stripped and jumped into a nearby lake. We weren't the only people doing this so we figured it was the thing to do.
After visiting Austria and Bavaria, I have to say that I found the Black Forest a bit underwhelming scenery wise. Maybe you have to venture deeper into the forest to find the dark magical parts. However, this cannot be done while wearing thongs and carrying a pram. Maybe we just have to go back one day when we're better equipped, and then I can successfully avoid the jellied meat and find that elusive Black Forest cake!