My family currently lives in Europe and it has been quite an amazing experience. I’ve only ever dreamed about being able to see all these places. I truly enjoy being able to get in the car and just go to another country for the day.
Schwarzwald, the Black Forest, is one of my very favorite places to go in Germany. The whole area has a ton and a half different things to do and all are fun to do with kids or by yourself. We went to a bee keeper and saw how they got the honey, how they made different products, and got to taste some homemade honey schnapps. There were a lot of animals at the bee keeper that we went to. My kids were much more interested in chasing chickens and petting the kittens than the bees. We had gone with a preplanned trip, so I’m honestly not positive which bee keeper we went to, but I’d be willing to bet this one is either it or just as amazing.
We also went to a traditional wood carver and saw how they carved the clocks. It was so interesting to see the detail that these men made with their hands. I’m 110% positive that I would cut some fingers off….maybe not even mine. Samuel Kammerer is the place to go for all your wood working needs and wants.
Triberg holds Germany’s tallest waterfall. We didn’t stop there on this trip, but it is a must see. Thick forests loom over the waterfall and the hiking trails are practically endless. In the forests by the waterfall are rope courses in the trees and other fun things to do and see. Even if you aren’t much of a hiker, going into this little village is definitely worth a trip. The waterfall is easily accessible and the main street is lined with stores that hold the most intricately designed cuckoo clocks. And the black forest cake is to die for. Make sure you’re children don’t get their hands on it, since it’s drenched in cherry liquor.
The largest cuckoo clock in the world is also right here. It’s a fun walk through to see the inner workings of a clock.
The weekend, we didn’t do any of those things. We went for something entirely different. Glass Blowing in the black forest has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve done and it’s only about 20 minutes outside of Triberg. Before heading into the museum, we took a look around. For anyone familiar with Michigan, you’ve probably heard of Bronner’s. It’s a huge Christmas store that’s opened all year. I love this place and I miss home, so the Christmas section in the glass museum was a treat for me and eased my homesickness.
We finally got into the museum. Most of the explanations were in German, but it was easy to catch the meaning and the people that did demonstrations spoke English, so that made it easier for my daughters and I. While doing the demonstrations, for a small fee of 15 euros, you could pick a design and up to four colors and they’d let you help blow a glass vase of your very own. On top of learning how glass is made and watching how they form the glass to make different products, being able to take part in it ourselves really topped off the experience and we got to take home a super cool souvenir.
The next morning we woke up to snow. Everyone except Jere was excited. Emma became a lot less excited once we stepped out into the snow. But it didn’t bother me. It was so pretty, I could hardly contain my glee. So we decided to go to a Christmas market in the area. I love Christmas time and Europe celebrates unlike anywhere else I’ve ever seen. You can’t help but get sucked into the joy and excitement. Plus, in Germany they have gluwein, which is spiced, hot wine and most villages have a souvenir cup you can keep with it.
We did not come prepared for snow. It had been about 50 degrees and the weather showed it to be that warm for the rest of the week. After living in Europe for almost three years, you’d think I’d learn not to trust the weather app. Or even the actual weather; it changes so quickly and drastically. We get to the Christmas market in Rohrbach and realize the market is about half a mile up the mountain in the Black Forest. The walk was beautiful, but slippery. The market itself was a small little treat, hidden away.
The walk back down to the car I assumed would be easier. It was not. My family gave up on how slow I moved through the slush. To answer the question everyone is dying to know: of course I fell and my family was too busy laughing to help me. But it was in snow, so it was ok. I did ride most of the drive home without pants because they were soaked. In all, it was a sweet, special memory for our family.
If you ever decide to go, I hope you take some of these tips to make it special. I also hope you learn from my mistakes: bring winter clothes. It does not matter what time of year, be prepared!