The Black Forest and a Little Wine
Back on the road again from after a great visit to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and the Romantic Road!
From Rothenburg, we headed north to Würzburg where I took a few pictures for a photo project I was working on - this will be an upcoming blog post that I can’t wait to share!!!
We then headed south to Baden Baden in the Black Forest. Before I go on, I would like to say that it seemed like all German roads were under construction at the same time. The Autobahn was a nightmare of stop and go traffic for an extended part of this leg. Sometimes, you’d be driving and there would be no indicator, but the road ahead was simply closed. No detour, nothing. So glad we had GPS.
Ok, on to the journey…
We arrived in Baden Baden after the tiring drive from Würzburg. Our AirBnB had a great view overlooking the town, and we could walk down the hill and be in the center in five minutes.
Our AirBnB host was great - we had expected to find a clothes washer at some point in the trip, but up until this point, there was none. So, she graciously washed a load of laundry for us in her flat. It was nice to put some clean clothes on!
Baden Baden is a beautiful city with well-known spas and casino. We didn’t go to either. Instead, we chose to go hiking in the Black Forest which surrounds the town. We did our research and headed off to the Himmelssteig trail, supposedly the #1 ranked trail in Germany in 2017.
The trail was different than most trails in the US for a number of reasons. First, because Germany is so developed, you were never more than a few hundred meters from civilization - be it a house, road or village. They don’t have the same kind of wilderness that we have in the States.
The second big difference is the makeshift bars along the trail! Yes, you read that right, Bars!
You simply choose your beverage and put a Euro or two in the box. The drinks are kept cold by a constant stream of spring water flowing through the trough.
Nonetheless, we really enjoyed the nearly 7 mile hike through the rolling hills of the Black Forest.
I was really excited about the next part of the trip. For months beforehand, I had been on ancestry.com figuring out where my people came from. I learned that the vast majority came from Prussia, an area north of Berlin which we’ll visit in an upcoming post.
I did find one ancestor, however, who came from the region we were visiting in the town of Grosskarlbach. He was my 11th great grandfather on my paternal grandmother’s side and he was a winemaker. His family is still there, making wine - so we went to visit!
I had been emailing with Rainer Lingenfelder before the trip. His winery, Lingenfelder Estate has been making wine for 14 generations. Our visit was going to be a little tight, because they had just begun to harvest a couple of days prior to our arrival, so he told us he would only have an hour or so to hang out.
We pulled into the courtyard and looked around at the house, wine-tasting area and of course the processing facility. Rainer heard us pull in and came out to greet us - he was busy working with his son, Georg on some new equipment. He took us into the facility and the first thing we did was taste the freshly-pressed juice right out of the presser. Wow!!!
We hopped into the car and he took us out to the vineyards where there were picking the grapes right then.
After our vineyard tour, we headed back to the Estate for a drink.
Rainer was so nice and gracious - he had traveled all over the world, spoke excellent English (I don’t think my German would have gotten us too far) and has even been to Asheville! The hour he promised turned into an hour and a half and we let him get back to business.
Rainer suggested we visit the neighboring town of Freinsheim, so we headed over for lunch and another glass of wine. It’s a cute town (another one with a wall) surrounded by vineyards.
On the way back to Baden Baden, we drove through the city of Speyer. In the middle of town is the cathedral where basically, the Protestant Church had it’s beginnings. Read the details below…
We had one more day in Baden Baden and made the best of it, exploring the city’s extensive parks.
Melissa also had a big to-do to check off: Eat Black Forest cake in the Black Forest.
The next leg of the journey will bring us up to Berlin. Keep an eye out for the next update!
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