Today we walked into the Black Forest to see what it was all about. We went up the road from the campsite for a while before crossing a small stream and heading into the trees. It wasn’t as scary as I expected. We found out last night that the impenetrable Black Forest of the Grimm Brothers is long gone; it was almost completely deforested during the 19th century, and subsequently replanted with monocultures (mostly spruce) across vast swathes. In the ’90s there were a couple of bad hurricanes that destroyed a lot of the monoculture stands, and these have since been left to recover naturally.
We saw few really big old trees. There were occasional examples with big trunks that looked over a hundred years old, but most looked up to 100. The mix was nice though, stands of spruce and pine with deciduous species like beech and birch filling up the gaps.
We headed up to a lookout point called “Bear rock”, which promised an all-round view. As we got to the top of the hill the things that caught our eyes were the three massive wind turbines standing well above the tops of the tallest trees. They were really impressive, and a bit noisy – like hearing an aircraft overhead, but never passing!
We went on to Bear Rock, but as we were going downhill from the turbines there was no 360 degree view of the forest spread out beneath us. Or there was, but you could really only see the trees right in front of you. It was a good spot to stop for lunch though.
We walked back down a different route, through more mixed forest which opened out onto a lovely view across the valley. As we got back near the campsite we stopped by a watermill and Anna cooled her feet off.
This afternoon we tried to get train tickets for tomorrow via the DeutscheBahn website. We were on the verge of buying some pretty expensive tickets when it told us our journey wasn’t available any more. Anna got rage at this point and after ten minutes of screaming and thrashing about on the floor she borrowed the campsite’s phone and called the train company. She spoke to a very nice man who helped us to buy tickets all the way across Germany with our bikes for €22 each. After that, Anna got the campsite to print the tickets out for us. What a hero. Hopefully our journey tomorrow is sorted and we’ll soon be kissing the sweet, flat, cycle-friendly earth of the Netherlands!