By the time we reached Freiburg it was late and raining. Laaaaaame. lol, as we were leaving the station some guy just walked right up to us and started talking to us. This happens a lot to us. Young American backpackers are apparently a rarity, especially in smaller towns. So, locals and travellers alike, as soon as they hear our accents, just walk up and strike up conversations. Pretty cool if ya ask me. =)
Freiburg is a small college town on the edge of the Black Forest. We had wanted to stay in Triberg, which is smack in the heart of the forest, but the hostel there was full. So what can ya do... We decided to do Triberg as a daytrip from Freiburg. And it all worked out. We spent most of the next day walking around Triberg. It was cuckoo clock heaven. =) (I guess it could be hell if you dont like cuckoo clocks, but what loser doesnt like cuckoo clocks? Ive wanted one ever since I was a kid and seen them in cartoons and the Black Forest is their home). At first I was overwhelmed... which clock to pick?! There are so many kinds! First of all, there is the traditional German one... which is wood with leaves and birds. Then there is the traditional Swiss clock, which is a house with the dancing figures. I like the more simple Germans one more personally. And the Swiss ones in my budget range were cheap looking. Thats one thing you gotta be careful of. A REAL cuckoo clock is all mechanical and handmade... they arent processed by machine in China. But the fake, cheap cuckoo clocks are EVERYwhere in Germany and Switzerland. Anyway, I finally found a beautiful clock with owls on it. I knew it was the one. It was love at first sight. I just had to be sure there wasnt any better, and Chris still wanted to check out a small local shop he heard about online.
So we checked out Bruno Roth's shop. Oh my god, he was the most freakin adorable little man EVER! He and his wife were the stereotypical sweet little old German couple... I wish I could take them home as souvenirs. He showed us around the entirety of his little shop, stopping at almost every item to demonstrate how the various things worked. I knew we were screwed. He didnt have the clock I had my heart set on, but I know Chris. I KNOW him... we were gonna have to buy a clock here. There are three things Chris loves: (1) sweet old people, (2) great customer service, and (3) local, small, family-owned businesses. So we bought my parents a small cuckoo clock, too. lol. It was so cute, too, cause he kept trying to do our transaction and wrap the clock up, but he kept getting distracted and talking to us more and more. He even spent five minutes just trying to find a current newspaper to show me the pictures from the Royal Wedding in England from the day before. lol, I loved that man. So awesome. Anyway, I DID go back to the other store and get my owl cuckoo clock. Both clocks are authentically handmade in the Black Forest, and I was a damned satisfied girl that day. =)
After that, Chris and I hiked around the Black Forest a little. It wasnt a real big hike or anything... there was a small park with a waterfall at the end of the main street in Triberg. And it had a couple very small trails through the forest. We could definitely tell why it might be called the Black Forest, though... The trees are all tall and thin and packed in tightly... so at eye level, the forest is REALLY dark and thick. While hiking we kept hearing this rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble and we were like... what the hell is that? It was cloudy, but it couldnt be thunder... it was a constant rumble with only brief pauses. But it kept going...
. rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble. What the heck. It was eerie! Maybe there was a bomb raid. We finished up the hike quickly because the noise was just discomforting. On our way back to the train station we tried some authentic Black Forest cake. Boy have we bastardized this thing back home!! lol. Its not the same at all! Ok... close maybe. It was layered with chocolate cake, white cream, cherries and liquer, and then topped with more white cream, chocolate shavings and a few cherries. It tasted different (that liquer was STRONG) but good. Chris didnt like his, though, so I ate it and got one hell of a sugar rush. When we got back to the train station, the world was going rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble again. We finally decided it had to be thunder. Damn, we have NEVER heard rolling thunder like that back home. Suddenly there was BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM-BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM. HOLY CRAP. I looked at Chris with big eyes, "..are you sure we should be out here...? I mean... we're Californians... what do we know about thunder storms...?" But then it started to pour rain and it was decided for us- time for cover. lol, crazy weather tho!
The Black Forest was beautiful, though. It reminded me soooo much of Oregon. =)
So, we really only had one day to spend in the Black Forest, due to our first late train. I have to hand it to the Europeans for having a ridiculously efficient and timely train system. The one time our train was late, it was REALLY late. We had a three hour ride from Interlaken to Freiburg, and just 30min from our last stop, the train came to a halt in the middle of nowhere. Several announcements went off in German, of course none of which we understood. Per usual, we just knew something was wrong based on everyone else's reactions. We werent the only two confused travellers, though, so a German guy was translating for another guy. He said that there was an accident on the tracks up ahead, and our train had to wait until everything was cleared. Apparently its typical for kids to just throw themselves in front of trains... I dont think he knew that that was what happened for sure in this instance, though. He said it usually takes two hours, and thats exactly how long it took.