Friday, October 25, 2013

Germanized!

(Part 1 of the trip is here. Part 3 is here.)

We felt like we had stepped into heaven when we visited Switzerland. And for some reason, Germany felt a notch lower. The border between the two countries is nothing grand. One minute you are in Switzerland, the next in Germany. The only marker was a guard who stopped us to ask if we were tourists.










The moment you drive into Germany, the house structure changes. This felt very unique because the landscape is still the same but the houses are now Bavarian in structure. The weather had started to change. And at around 3, when we reached Triberg, on our way to Baden-Baden, it was a little dark and chilly.

Triberg lies in the middle of the Black Forest. It's a little town but we still had difficulty finding parking. The only tourist place on offer was a nature park. I decided not to go hike in the park and I didn't miss much. Instead, I walked around the little town square, checked out the traditional dresses on sale and had a large cup of coffee. And packed for us a slice of the best black forest cake we've ever had! Forget anything remotely close to a black forest cake that you think you've had! Because I can tell you right now that whatever you have had will NEVER be close to the real thing! (That's Triberg town centre in the picture below.)


From here, we headed to Baden-Baden. We reached in the evening when it was already dark. But after a long day of driving, the wooden cottage just outside town was a sight much welcomed! After a quick meal of bread and palak-paneer, which was heated in the basin full of hot water, we called it a day. I remember this evening particularly because I found myself in the serene, quiet and chilly surroundings in the middle of Black Forest in Germany, reading a chick book based on Irish folk-lore. It was an aha moment!

The next day, we headed to the place that started it all! It was the picture of Lichtenstein Castle on a cousin's FB page that had played a pivotal role in helping us decide where to travel! The castle is about 2 hours from Baden-Baden. So after a hearty breakfast, we drove through the Forest and arrived at the castle at around noon. It is situated on a cliff and on a clear day, as was the case for us, you could see the castle as you drive up to it. Although the current owner who is a duke does not live in the castle, it is still private property. Cameras were not allowed inside the castle and only the castle grounds and the first two floors of the castle are open to public. We took a guided tour of the castle. It is still restored every 30 years; repaint the walls, polish the furniture, etc. More than the interiors, the placement of the castle and its grand structure was what really fascinated me.
















After a couple of hours at the castle and no concrete plan, we headed to the nearest town and stopped of some grub. The city of Stuttgart was on the way to Baden-Baden. Stuttgart is home to the Mercedes-Benz brand. We thought we'll go take a look. But we disregarded a couple of things. 1.) Stuttgart is a city and like any city, it has parking woes and traffic woes. 2.) We didn't do our homework properly and got confused between the Benz museum and the Benz Arena. hence, we reached a place we weren't supposed to go in the first place. And we reached so late in the evening that heading back to the right place didn't stand a chance. So after a few pictures around the Arena, we knew it was time to head back to Baden-Baden. We didn't want to risk driving in the night on a foreign highway. Little did we know!


The drive back to BB, which was supposed to take a little over an hour, took more than 4 hours because we got stuck in a bumper-to-bumper jam caused by some stormy type rains which must have lasted about 5 minutes. At one point, it was raining so heavily, visibility was next to zero and we really were on the edge of our seats. After what seemed like hours in the close to 11 km jam, we reached BB so late that we couldn't find a place to eat. After a bit of tired driving around. we chanced upon a biker's bar that served beer and pizza. Anything would have worked at that hour so this smoky, noisy bar was more than welcomed. The place turned out to be so lively we decided to come back the next day.

The following day was dedicated to seeing the beautiful town of Baden-Baden. It seemed like a wealthy place and very classy. We took a ride in the petit-train and shopped for excellent salads from the local market. Back to the rooms for a very late but memorable lunch, some rest and back to town to soak in the early summer evening. Dinner was, as planned, at the bar.









It had been a memorable few days in Germany. Both the guys had gotten very comfortable driving the car and we were looking forward to heading towards Paris the next day. We were already half way through the trip. Time flies when you are having fun when all you want to do in capture each moment in a bottle and never let it escape.

2 comments:

sharjes mohammed said...

Germany!!!!

How do you remember so much after a trip? :) A traveler's head. That's awesome.

Gargee said...

Sharjes, are you telling me you read the entire length of this blabber-fest?!

I 'remember' because I turn around and ask Dhaval for help. :)