Heidelberg & the Black Forest: Searching for Red Riding Hood

FullSizeRender 10.jpgI’ve gotten a little behind again because I have been spending most of my out-of-work hours putting the finishing touches on my master’s thesis, so let’s travel back several weeks to the end of April, when Gui and I took a weekend-long road trip through southern Germany. It involved a biergarten, shopping, hiking and cake, so it was basically a perfect weekend 🙂

We left Geneva on a Friday evening after work and drove 4.5 hours to a newly built Ibis Styles in Rastatt that served as our home base. The next morning, we drove to Mannheim to stop by my favorite clothing store (which sadly does not have any locations in Switzerland) and then purchased discounted Birkenstocks from a shop filled with wall-to-wall boxes of our favorite sandals.

Afterward, we drove to Heidelberg and began the nearly impossible task of trying to find parking downtown. The signs showing you the amount of “frei” (free) spots in the garage would say that one or two spots were available but by the time we raced over everything would be taken again. Eventually, we found parking across the river and walked over to Kulturbrauerei for a biergarten feast. The restaurant makes it own extremely tasty beer, which went perfectly with my pretzel and potato soup on the sunny but still crisp April day.

After a couple of hours in the biergarten, we wandered around the picturesque street of Heidelberg which were filled with tourists, and then took the cable car up to the castle ruins to watch the sunset away from the masses. We had a fabulous dinner at Samesame Sushi bar (very German, I know) before heading back to the hotel for the night.

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The next morning, we passed a sign for “Schloss Favorite” on our drive south to the Black Forest so of course I insisted we stop and see this favorite castle. It was small but pretty, and the grounds were filled with elderly Germans on morning walks and couples pushing strollers. We drove a bit farther to hike around the ruins of Burg Hohenbaden, which sadly had some scaffolding obscuring the lovely view but also was home to a super cool orange slug, before heading into Baden Baden for lunch and black forest cake at the adorable Cafe Konig. In the photo below, the little empty table next to the waitress is where we enjoyed our meal al aire libre.

We then spent the afternoon driving along the scenic Black Forest road, stopping for photos and short hikes along the way, and staring wide-eyed at the adventurous, knee-pad-wielding motorcyclists zooming around the bends at crazy low angles. The forest is probably best known for (allegedly) inspiring the brothers Grimm to write some of their fairy tales and the sweeping landscapes dominated by dense trees made it easy to see why. Our final hike of the day was in Triberg, which is home to Germany’s largest waterfalls and an extremely kitschy cuckoo clock shop (they originate in the Black Forest). Between the seemingly endless blanket of green hills and the adorable villages snuggled into the valleys, there was was plenty to keep our eyes occupied on the ride back to Geneva. Enjoy the photos!

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