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(Comments, photos and recommendation courtesy of AsbachNate)
....Before we left for our trip I went to the local Costco and purchased a set of two way radios for use on our drive into the Black Forest. Its a rainy Sunday morning but we are all excited to be heading to the Black Forest. We are on the road by 8am which is a miracle considering our 2 young kids and their 2 plus the women putting on their war paint. We head south on A61, connecting with A5 south from there until Baden-Baden. Traffic is light despite the weather and we make it in less than 2 hrs. Based on info I had read on the AOL Germany travel board I decided the Schwarzwald Hochstrasse (Black Forest high road) would be fun. Since the winter had provided little snow we thought this would be a safe route. We took a tunnel under Baden-Baden and began our climb. It still amazes me that you can go from the wine region of Rheinland Pfalz to the Black Forest in under 2 hrs.
....From Freudenstadt we headed south through Alpirsbach which boasts a favorite German beer as my wife sang the theme song on the 2 way radio with the other couple. From here it should have been just 20 more minutes or so but we hit a detour and don't get to Haslach for another hour. The drive was very pretty though and we went through many small villages decorated with thousands of white Christmas lights and other decorations. I could not believe how many Santa's we saw climbing out of windows or up the side of building in Germany. The kids really thought that was funny. Its dark by the time we get to Haslach. Our farm home I had found on the internet on one of the many web sights that feature homes. Ben has some very nice sites listed but I wanted to try something new in hopes that maybe he would feature the farm we stay in. Anyway we drive up a very narrow valley about ½ mile along a small stream and find the home. Frau Schmid comes out waving at us and begins talking German to me. My wife says I look like a deer in headlights when someone starts talking such fast German to me. Anyway my wife took over the conversation and Frau Schmid showed us to our rooms.
....Our rooms are on the top story of the smaller farm home to the right. Below us lived the two old grandma's that had lived in the large home until they became too old to work the farm. Still they had a case of beer outside their front door, what a welcome sight . It really bothers me how uptight the Americans get over someone having one or two beers. In the US we would think these 2 women are crazy or drunks. In Germany no one even bats an eye.
Anyway as you can see ... the rooms were great. The place was quite a bit larger than we thought and worked out perfectly for the 8 of us. As you walk in there is the small apt to the left with a small kitchen unit and large closet space. To the left is a nice tile bathroom. Further in to the left is the main bedroom with a large bed, a small bed and a very nice wooden changing table for the baby along with a crib.
To the right is another bathroom. Then further to the right is a large kitchen with everything you could hope for except the beer. Then straight ahead is the large living room/dining room with a nice corner table, a couch and a color TV.
There is another room to the left with 2 single beds and tons of closet space again. The place is well stocked with lots of toys and puzzles for the kids.
The home is situated on a small incline and in the summer the cows graze just outside your entrance.
Based on the guest book the folks that come in the summer often stay for 1-3 weeks at a time. All this cost just (the equivalent of) $25.00 US dollars per night per couple. Try and do that in the States. After a dinner of wursts, jams and bread we hit the sack. At 7am my wife and I get up quietly, dress warmly and take the nice ½ mile walk down the narrow road to the bakery. Along the way is a small stream and a tiny church all scrunched in this narrow valley. With the sun rising and the mist lifting it was really a wonderful walk every morning.
After breakfast the Schmid's invite us down to see the 2 day old cow. The barn is under the large farm home and really smells but the kids don't seem to mind. They have around 40 cows under there with a few newborns feeding on their mother.
For a 6 and 3 yr old this is really interesting. They also have a small pen with a few pigs which my 3 yr old daughter yells out "Babe" to, refering to the movie. The husband then takes Tom and me down to the small outbuilding to show us their brewing operation. Now this I like!!!! In the fall and winter they brew their own Korn and schnapps. Frau Schmid then sells them at the local markets througout the year.
I thought it would be fun to take the kids on a train ride while in Germany so we took the 11:00am train from Hausach to Triberg. The rain had stopped and the kids just stared out the window at all the villages along the way. I swear we must have gone through 15 tunnels. From the train station in Triberg it was about a 15 minute walk up to the village. If you don't have 4 toddlers with you this can be done a lot quicker however. Being a Monday the town was not very crowded and we headed straight for the Schwarzwald Museum. Inside they have lots of coin operated music, trains and clocks for the kids and a small, and a dark tunnel featuring the minerals in the surrounding areas. Since we had the kids we decided not to brave the falls as we had all done the falls at one point or another.
After a little shopping we take the train back to Hausach. From here we drove to the Dorotheenhutte Glasshutte in Wolfach. Again I would have never known about this place if someone on the AOL board had not mentioned it. Its a large tourist trap in reality but in the offseason was a worthwhile stop. It features a large Christmas store that makes the prices at Käthe Wohlfahrt seem cheap. They do however have a large lego cabin for the kids while the parents shop. This was a nice touch. After the Christmas store you pay a small fee and tour the glass factory. If you have kids this will be a highlight of their trip. Once inside they have a huge furnace with a man in sandles making vases and small bowls.
The area is surrounded by a wooden rail and your child or you can go up on stage and blow on this long tube and make your own vase. My 6 yr old son was frightened of the heat so my 3 yr old fearless daughter takes a turn. Her poor little lungs didn't provide much air so her vase was on the small side.
Then my son decided if his little sister could do it so could he. It was sooo neat to see them up there on stage with all the other folks watching as they blow their little lungs out to make a vase to take home. Each vase took around 10 minutes to make so we toured the rest of the factory while they cooled and enjoyed seeing how they made all those glass items they sell.
From here its just another 10 minutes to the wonderful village of Schiltach. Again I read about this village on another report and they raved about what a great find Schiltach was and man were they right. This village has so many half timbered buildings covered in Christmas lights.
The town is situated on a small hill which just adds to its character. On our next trip we hope to spend a little more time here and I would recommend to anyone visiting the Black Forest, make a trip to see Schiltach! We head back to Haslach and our farm for the evening. Along the way we stop at a small grocery store and stock up on breads and other items.
That night we have another small dinner of bread and jams or wurst. The farmer had asked that Tom and I come down later in the evening and sample a few shots of his schnapps. So once the kids were asleep we headed down to the large farm house. I was surprised at how strong the smell of cow manure was inside. Tom said in the old days the cows actually provided part of the heat by their body heat rising into the farm homes. I guess that means their smell rises too. It was very nice of them to have us in and they were so proud of their liquers. Our first shot was of a white Korn which felt like small bits of glass going down but it did have a nice kick once down.
She then had us sample each of her 3 types of schnapps. After an hour of talking and drinking Tom and I each purchase 1 bottle of schnapps for the ladies and stumble back up to our farm house. It didn't take long for Tom and me to head to our respective rooms and crash for the night. The ladies however stayed up until 1:30 talking and finishing off one of the bottles of schnapps. Before we would leave in 3 days we would each end up purchasing 5 bottles each to take home. We really felt lucky to find such a great place to stay with such a nice family running it. In fact in my journal of notes I have "Very friendly hosts!!!! in bold print at the bottom of the page as a reminder.