After yesterday's flop and a giant catch-up sleep I was up extra-early for the day.
There's 4 kinds of luncheon meat & sausage (seemed like ham, pork, pork salami, and zombie), 4 kinds of cheese, a pile of veggies including a bowl of radishes (radishes for breakfast?), 4 kinds of bread, a bunch of spreads & jams, 4 kinds of cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, fruit salad, preserved rhubarb, pears, and peaches, dried prunes, and chocolate buttons!
The strawberry (erdberry, they call it) jam was the best jam I've ever had, it was bright red, sweet, and full of flavour, I think it must have been fresh and not cooked for ages like normal jam.
And with that, I was out the door, clutching the pile of walking trail brochures I'd scouted out the previous night. Stopped to take a couple of snaps of the town on the way by – it was very scenic with the fog/clouds lifting off the valley – and then went straight into the forest.
There's trails all through the area, of a wide variety of lengths. All of them, to a NZer, are somewhat too open – they're mostly dirt roads rather than walking-sized trails per se – but they go through great forest areas. After just a couple of kilometers I was fairly high up in the hills, giving great views back down the valley.
Keen to get into the really foresty bits I went on the big loops through, which went through a lovely variety of bush, some of it quite light and open (mostly stripped fir trees – what strips all the leaves off the branches? an animal?), but some of it more dense and, well, black. This third photo is prolly my favorite from the day.
I ran into another guy while in the middle of the forest eating my lunch, who said hello, but aside from greetings my few words of German was hopelessly inadequate for the task of conversation :/. I still haven't had/made much of a chance to practice, and felt bad about that – I'll have to get some more practice in in these last couple of days.
A little after that I popped out by a dam across the Schwarzenbach River, walked over that and awarded myself an icecream at the stall before heading straight back into the forest trails.
The tracks only a couple of hundred meters in from that produced this second photo which is my other fave from the day – the trail ran straight through a very scenic glade of trees (oak?) gentle dropping leaves over everything in the rustling breeze. Sat and looked for a while, it was really nice!
Set a new personal best for big breakfasts – I just have a bowl of cereal at home but hey, I'm in Germany, it's a fixed price, and I'm walking all day. So this is what's on at breakfast:
I came out of the forest a few kilometers down the valley from Forbach, and decided I'd walk up by the railway. I walked along next to the tracks for a while – S-Bahn trains coming through every 10 minutes or so – before following a faint but interesting-looking trail off.
It went through nice light forest already shedding a lot of leaves. After about 20 mins the trail faded and I spent another 30 mins going through prickly viney stuff before giving up on that way and heading down to the river.
I did a double-take when I ran into some ferns. What the hell, that's, like, copyright infringement or something..
I guess I'd always thought of them as such a New Zealand thing that I'd never even thought they grew in Europe! Seems a bit silly in retrospect :).
I got slightly soggy crossing that and after walking along & into the forest the other side for a little while found myself in a strange clearing. I was pretty sure it had to be man-made, but I couldn't see a trail out and didn't wanna damage the surrounds by bush bashing… wandered around looking for a suitable exit. I was standing around scratching my head and suddenly notice a guy biking along just 10m up the hill, what the hell? Yep, there's a broad metalled track running just up there, invisible from down below :).
So I walked back along that, crossing over and under the railway tracks as it went across a bridge – all the bridges and other railway infrastructure are all painted this one particular dull green, and they look just like in war movies.
By the time I got back home, it was dinner time, and after about 10 hours of solid walking I was pretty exhausted :).
Had a shower – I kept pulling these bloody bug things out of my hair for what seemed like forever, which was odd as I hadn't had any while I was actually in the forest where they must have come from – and then went down to the restaurant.
I had had so much of the heavy, meaty (specifically, porky) German food by this point in my trip that I caved and ordered a salmon salad. It was giant and so damn good. And yay, they didn't speak English, so got some practice at German (albeit mostly just ordering).
Had a fantastic dessert too, really simple – icecream with proper-sized chunks of walnut in it, with walnut liquor (& maybe something else, dunno). Tasted so good – and I should be able to repro at home once, as coincidentally that's one of the two surviving liquors from the shop in Innsbruck I'm bringing a small bottle home of.
Incidentally, while I really liked the wines I had, the local specialty liquor, a honey liquor, didn't do it for me – it was quite bland actually, looks like they let the conversion of sugars to alcohol run right to completion as there was no sweetness to it (and not a huge amount of honey taste).
A really enjoyable day, I've always wanted to walk around the Black Forest!
There's only one more full day left before I head back to Frankfurt and fly home!