Triberg – Crazy, Sexy, Cuckoos

e048daec0e9c9ceec245cebc9d77b561First things first.  I dare you to not get TLC stuck in your head while reading this post. Secondly, as I write this, I am SICK.  SO SICK.  Like hacking up a lung SICK. And I hate being sick, especially in a foreign land.  And even more especially in a foreign land where they consider Vitamin C and Echinacea an appropriate solution to lung-hacking.  And if I’m being completely honest, I’m also a huge baby.  Regardless, if you’re reading this, please send a full-time nurse, some antibiotics, some of that good American Pseudoephedrine, and a hug.  Okay, enough of my whining. Onto our day trip to Triberg!

2d3764a9d82ef61c7e25d159835130e1November 1st is All Saint’s Day in certain states in Germany, so we had the day off to sightsee.  Choosing day trips is really tough, especially on a holiday since most things are closed.  I saw pictures of Triberg, which is located in the Black Forest, and I thought it looked like a great fall escape to get out and enjoy before the Germany wintry weather is really upon us.

d1decec12fe1aa3c2d42a3331efc8ebaIt was a three hour train ride, which is especially beautiful as you enter the Black Forest.  The trees along the ride are incredible – extremely tall spruce and fir trees that seem to reach up into space.  Also, I feel like I need to clarify that the train above is not the train we took to Triberg (love you, Mom)!

d3bb2c0c622cc65363e2487c3c8d44b3The town is most known for it’s cuckoo clocks and it’s waterfall.  We started the day with a trek up to see the waterfall, which was the real reason we wanted to visit.  It’s a pretty good workout up the hill to see the waterfall, especially if you choose to go all the way to the top, but so worth it!  Also, I continue to be impressed that in Germany there is always someone significantly older and less fit to hike up a hill, doing it without complaint.  So, no room for whiners, up I go!

bc5272c35d95198a0f9fa85f11274e12.jpgOn our way up to see the waterfall, we passed a guy wearing a Texas A&M jacket, and despite the fact that I’m what you would call a ‘2 percenter’ Aggie, barely went to football games, and the worst offense – married a Longhorn, something strange happened and I spontaneously transformed into a yell leader and gave a big ‘Whoop!’ AND “Gig ’em” with the thumb and all.  I haven’t seen Andy since.  I’m kidding, he can’t escape me.

bb7c5abf9a3bf9ab9f3fb9f751612192The waterfall and the trail up to the waterfall was truly stunning.  Perhaps I haven’t seen many waterfalls, but I thought the views were definitely worth the trip.

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3901bdbc48e6db6c173a4d5f776e62baAfter our hike up to see the waterfalls, we made our way back down into town and had worked up quite an appetite.  We had a pretty traditional German meal, accompanied with a beer, of course, and then set off to see the rest of what the town had to offer.

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384ae4cc37595941efdd96b156f5fceaTriberg is known for it’s cuckoo clocks, so we went in one of it’s most well-known shops, House of 1000 Clocks. The intricate detail that goes into making these clocks was truly impressive. There was also really neat wood-working shop with figurines, manger scenes, and Christmas ornaments all carved out of wood.

 

 

457fc177b501489229198f08cf28ac06Now, this is where I feel like I need to be completely honest with anyone reading this. This is about where we ran out of things to do, and learned a small lesson in travel planning.  If you aren’t sure how long you will spend somewhere, buy the flexible train tickets or rent a car!  Yes, had we really thought this through, we would have rented a car, because beyond the beautiful waterfall, there wasn’t much else to see!

I think sometimes bloggers don’t share enough about things they’ve been slightly disappointed in, so I’m putting it out there, guys!  With all due respect to Triberg, the waterfalls were beautiful but there’s only so much of my day I can fill with cuckoo clocks.

74a4e1d53f3578b5925e11566812b389If I were to do it again, would we make the day trip to Triberg?  Yes, of course!  But we would do it tagged onto another trip, possibly to see more of the Black Forest.

Now, back to hanging in bed the rest of the day in my sea of tissues.

Lake Constance: A Tale of 3 Countries

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Life has been so busy over the last month, just learning how to navigate public transportation and live without a Trader Joes.  I’ve been behind on posting a few of our day trips, but the newly rainy and cold German Winter has us in for the day, and it seems like the perfect time to share some sunshine.

The very first day trip we went on was to Lake Constance, or as the locals call it, Bodensee.  It’s an absolutely stunning lake located in the foothills of the Alps, and is bordered by Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

To get there, we took a bus to Meersburg, and then took a ferry to Konstanz, which is a lovely town, bustling with locals out and about, enjoying the sunshine, ice cream cones, and waterfront views.

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The weather is known for being fairly gusty, which along with the beauty of the water and surroundings, attracts quite a few watersports fanatics.  The view of the flocks of sailboats and windsurfers was incredible on the ferry ride over to Konstanz.

We learned a bit about the past of Konstanz, which has a really interesting past.  With the lake being surrounded by Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, naturally it begs the question – who owns what parts of the lake?  Although there’s no legally binding agreement, the Swiss hold the view that the border runs through the middle of the lake, Germany has no official legal opinion, and the Austrians believes the territory belongs to all three countries jointly.  How civil, right?

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Imperia, a statue modeled after a fictional, umm…prostitute, greets you at the entrance of the harbor and has caused quite a stir over the years.  Because well, what you see pictured is her back which is fully clothed, but her front is not quite as modest.  And being the lady of controversy, Imperia holds in her hands two men.  Two men look oddly like Pope Martin V and emperor at that time (Gasp!).  Despite the many requests to remove the statue, it is on property that the railroad owns, and they could give a hoot, so hundreds of years later, the statue remains a unique landmark of Konstanz.

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This is the perfect place to stroll, shop, and of course, eat!  We started by stopping by a local Italian restaurant and had the most delicious pizza and beer to hold us over for the rest of our day trip.  The town was filled with locals shopping and enjoying ice cream cones.  If you weren’t aware, the ice cream obsession here is REAL.

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Konstanz also is home to the Zeppelin Museum, which is dedicated to airships, and has a replica of the Hindenburg, the largest airship ever built, which crashed in the 1930’s and put an end to the airship era.  To be honest, I could have lived without this part of our trip, but it was interesting.  It’s hard to be inside a museum when there’s clear blue water and sunshine waiting just outside the doors.

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And as with any day trip in Europe, it wouldn’t be complete without visiting a historic cathedral and doing some more shopping before heading home.

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I already cannot wait to schedule another trip to Konstanz.  But next time, a full weekend in the summer.  This is the perfect place for an easy day outdoors, finished with a cool dip in the lake, and a walk into town for dinner.

If you’re in Germany…or Austria…or Switzerland during the warmer months, Lake Constance is a must-see.  You won’t regret it!

 

Party like a Tourist.

“Wherever you are, be all there.” – Jim Elliot 
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It’s October in Germany, which can only mean one thing.  Oktoberfest!

End of September through mid-October in Germany is abound with Volkfests, which in Germany are really just festivals with beer, wine, food, amusement rides, etc. The most notorious Volksfest being Munich Oktoberfest. We happen to live near Stuttgart, which has a phenomenal Volksfest, and this year we did it BIG.  Lederhosen, dirndl, braided hair.  We drank the liters of beer, sang Sweet Caroline at the top of our lungs.  We sang German songs like Texans that know very little German.  And here in Germany, something I can appreciate, is if you dance like Elaine from Seinfeld, you are in great company.

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Dirndl shopping at Krüger in Stuttgart.

It’s only been just over a month that we’ve been living in Germany, and one thing has really stood out to me.  I’ve lived in some great cities, but am guilty of having not made the most of seeing and doing all the things to experience the places that I’ve lived in the US.  It’s more obvious to me now that we are in another country and go see something different almost every weekend.  If you’re friends with expats, you probably notice that as well.  They see everything.  They live like they only have a few years there. Oktoberfest may not be available to everyone, but I bet there are some really great things to see and experience right where you are. It doesn’t take a trip overseas to see new things, learn, and have loads of fun!
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The lesson for myself, is wherever I am, whether in Europe or small-town Texas, is to party like a tourist!  Live like you’re only going to be there for a few years.  Go to the festivals. Go to the museums.  Take a road trip.  Go to the farmers market.  Pour yourself a beer, turn on Sweet Caroline really loud, stand up on a chair, but not on the table (you animal) and live a full life where you are.  Prost!
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