Week 15th – 21st May 2017
Truly scrumptious or not is the food of Germany? For me not, in respect of the main and traditional dishes-bratwurst, sauerkraut and heavy meat dishes with big spuds. My absolute idea of yuck, worse than school dinners including lumpy mash with black bits.
However what has been delicious and absolutely seasonal has been the sparkle as we call it, real name in German spargel or as we call it in England- asparagus. We have been fortunate to follow the asparagus season up with each country having it in Italy, Croatia, Slovenia and now Germany and we might if we are lucky even catch the tail end of it in England when we return in just over 2 weeks. We both love asparagus in all shapes and ways and will pay the price for good local seasonal stuff and some of the best we have had to date has been here in Germany, even more precisely in the lovely Black Forest town of
Freiburg where currently a whole range of it could be brought and eaten almost everywhere, but our purchase was from the daily market set all around the 11th century cathedral. The exception here is that the white variety is really dominate over the green and is of course a whole different flavour, much more delicate then its green relative.
We arrived in Freiburg on the Monday after leaving Lake Konstanz and the idyllic walled town of Meersburg with its exceptionally good wines. The idea had been another overnight stop beforehand in Triberg, the Black Forest cuckoo-clock capital and also gateaux pilgrimage site
with Germany’s highest waterfalls to boot as well. So with all that happening we were a bit disappointed when we pulled up at the aire in the main town which was essentially a slightly larger than average concrete garage with no doors. Given there were only 3 places we were concerned as we approached that we might not get on site but upon arriving we could quite understand why we were the only motorhome there. We parked up anyway and walked the short distance to the main high street and almost immediately both of us became further despondent with neither of us seeming to get that warm, cosy feeling from the very linear high street, but cuckoo clock heaven it was if of course cuckoo clocks are your thing. Now we have over the course of the trip brought many
souvenirs, toot call it what you will but thankfully no cuckoo clocks are coming home with us. The range of clocks and prices are phenomenal but with the average price being €400 who actually does buy them. Apparently a lot of Americans do and we saw 2 brought while we were in one shop-each to their own I guess. Oddly I have to confess to disposing of one just before we left that had sat in our attic for about 10 years, a rather weird 40th present to an ex lodger, but certainly not of the €400 kind a bit more school wood work type-sorry Joe if you are reading this but you never came back to collect it- I wonder why!!.
But what of the Black Forest gateaux in Triberg, now that was indeed truly scrumptious with Café Schafer using an original 1915 recipe resulting in a very sinful treat of this layered chocolate cherry brandy cream treat. For this first tasting David never got any of mine and it gave way to a small Black Forest gateaux challenge with 3 other samples along the route and we both agree that here the chocolate part of the cake is much lighter in colour and density with more cherry brandy flavoured cream in and on it then we might have at home making it a much easier cake to munch your way through although I doubt any less calorific. A really delightful cake might even bake one when I get home (not), I’ll leave it to my sister in law Sheila who makes a mighty fine one too. Truly scrumptious again and in season are the erdbeeren- strawberries to you and me with again so many being sold anywhere and everywhere and we again are munching our way through them on a regular basis but realising that these really are field to tummy immediately to get the absolute best from them.
In between all these yummy delights the rest of the week has been a real mix weather wise with absolute scorching sun in Frieburg for 3 days and then a proper deluge on Friday pushing us onto a camp site to do some washing. Such was our love for Freiburg that David decided a German haircut was called for one evening after a hard day cycling along the river, having spied the hairdressers on the way into town. One of the most common statements we have heard on our trip is “well they all speak English don’t they” well oddly they don’t and the hairdressers was no different with the young girl reeling in horror as we approached her making snipping
gestures towards David’s curls. Fortunately or unfortunately for her, her client at that moment could speak a bit of English and translated between us that it was not great style we wanted just made shorter. The usual ‘A George Clooney’ joke brought for once much if not perhaps a bit too much laughter before a slightly chain saw operated razor was welded on David’s hair, thankfully there were no injuries and the end result was exactly what a haircut should be –shorter.
Sporting the new look haircut we headed closer to the Rhine itself which gives for a ‘nature’ border between Germany and France and could not resist the call of France, Strasbourg in fact for an afternoon. In no time at all after we had left NiKi parked safely on a stellplatz we were outside the Cathedrale Notre-Dame having a glass of my French drink of choice-pastis. A marvellous short drink which is very easy on the stomach and good for digestion after all that heavy German food.
Ah forgot I didn’t have any, but better to be safe than sorry. With so many languages now buzzing around in our heads the French were less than amused by our Si’s, Ya’s, Danke and Grazie’s with most of the waiters just shrugging their shoulders in that wonderful nonchalant way the French have.
We are finishing this week off in one of Europe’s most famous spa towns –Baden Baden where England’s two most well-known Victoria’s have taken avail of the mineral rich waters and it’s probably as a result of those two’s visits that have pushed the prices up here so high.
Germany for us has not been a cheap date with coffee being about €2.50 to €3 per cup and very sub-standard to the coffee we came to love so much in Spain, Italy etc. Main courses are around the €20 mark and the much famed German beers are London prices at about €4/€5 per glass. We are staying on more Stellplatz or demi- aires as I would call them in Spain which are cheaper than camp sites with an average cost of €8-€12 per night plus electricity and water on top. So all in all our money is not going as far by a long way and we are eating in more often due to the yucky food (David does actually like the food) but we are also eating more truly scrumptious seasonal food in house so all in all hopefully balancing out.
Going Naked and we did in the famous Friedrichsbad spa to get the bodies of Venus and complexions of Cleopatra. In this particular spa which is the original one in the town there is no option, clothes off or no entry. So come Sunday morning we were there banging on the doors at 9am, straight in down to the buff and away we went around the 16 areas of steaming, scrubbing, hot-cold bathing. It’s the cleanest I’ve been probably since being scrubbed at a Hamman bath in Morocco years ago and I’m wearing my new squeaking clean body with pride. After those 3 hours of water and cleansing I should be fine till we get home! Obviously fully naked mixed is not everyone’s choice but there are single sex days and there is also another spa option within the group next door more or less where bathers are allowed and it’s more of a mix of cleansing and swimming.
As Mark Twain said about the place-after 10 minutes you forget time, after 20 minutes the world. We wouldn’t go that far but it was a wonderful experience and well worth the money
With just 2 weeks to go, stay with us for the last few days of our travelling……
Our Route This week.
Our Route This week.