Ramblings #Special Edition: The Honeymoon

Where:

Founded in 1900, the Westweg is one of the oldest hiking trails in Europe. Taking in the northern, middle and southern Black Forest, it offers an ever-changing landscape of forests, moors, pastures, lakes, valleys, and mountains.

When: 24th August – 5th September 2010

Our route:


(image from here)

Distance covered: approx. 250 km

Itinery: Neuenbürg – Dobel – Forbach – Mummelsee – Alexanderschanze – Hausach – Wilhelmshöhe – Neueck – Titisee – Notschrei – Haldenhof – Spielweg (Münstertal) (not on the map here – it’s north of Belchen and before Freiburg). The Westweg goes all the way from Pforzheim to Basel but we cut it short at either end, taking a train from Staufen to Neuenbürg, walking for 10 days, and then ending with a 2 night stay in Spielweg. We took the western route of the Westweg which took us over the Feldberg and the Belchen mountains. Many people, we learnt, cut some of the legs in half, or do just a few of them at a time. So it turns out we’re pretty hardcore!

Here are some selected sights –

The Northern Black Forest

arriving in Dobel

a typical northern Black Forest view (en-route to Forbach)

Schwarzenbach Stausee (in other words a lake; en-route to Mummelsee)

breezy moorland (en-route to Mummelsee)

view from the Hornisgrinde before descending to Mummelsee (after one of the toughest climbs so far)

The Middle Black Forest

a brief glimpse of a valley (en-route to Alexanderschanze)

misty enchanted woods (en-route to Hausach)

a beautiful rest stop (and a final smile before a hellish descent into Hausach at the end of a 33km day)

sign reads: ‘Please don’t feed the horses! We don’t feed your children either…’ (Found en-route to Wilhelmshöhe)

A pine forest (en-route to Titisee from Neueck)

contemplating tomorrow (Feldberg in the distance)

The southern Black Forest

the Titisee

having fun on Titisee

***

Bismarck-Denkmal, in honour of the said Chancellor (on the Feldberg, en-route to Notshrei)

Sheep at 1,493 metres

We saw the Alps from the Feldberg, which was rare, unexpected and spectacular, but there was an even better view to come the next day…

we literally turned a corner and they came into view, truly breathtaking (en-route to Haldenhof via the Belchen)

it was such a tough and emotional climb to the peak of Belchen but so worth it (these pictures don’t do justice to the awesome beauty of seeing these mountains, even from so far)

(fiddled with the colour here to help the Alps come out; please ignore the sweaty patches on my back)

descending Belchen

a beautiful start to our last day (en-route to Spielweg)

Münstertal, where Florian lived as a child

our final stop!

Accommodation: we stayed in a mixture of hotels, pensions and guesthouses. We booked it all ourselves before leaving. We had most evening meals in the place we were staying, and generally (with a few dodgy exceptions*) it was delicious – lots of hearty Badisch cuisine – meat and spätzle / schnitzel / pfifferlinge galore. Many of the best places were also the cheapest (with the exception of Spielweg, of course, where we enjoyed a scrumptious 4 course and a 6 course menu, and breakfast in bed). The rooms went from

basic but comfortable (Haldenhof)

to stylish suite (if you like orange – we still don’t know how we ended up with a suite and a massive full-length balcony; Mummelsee)

and from an old place that has seen better days (this guesthouse is run single-handedly by an 82 year old man – it used to be run by his mother)

to an old place that oozes luxury (Spielweg also costs a little more than Alexanderschanze but worth every cent. It’s been run by Familie Fuchs since 1861)

Spielweg aside our favourite place was the guesthouse at Wilhelmshöhe. The staff are very friendly, the food is basic but delicious, the rooms are quaint, and the whole place is a bit of a Black Forest museum…

this was the hallway outside our room – the place was rammed full of Black Forest memorabilia, including spooky life size dummies dressed in traditional costume guarding the stairway

Verdict: An amazing honeymoon, and pleased we did something a bit different. Despite the pain and tears I would do it all again, if only I can find my walking boots.

* Mummelsee and Notschrei – expensive places (almost as expensive as Spielweg) which tried to serve posh food but failed miserably. They are, unfortunately, the only places to stay on those parts of the route.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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