Today we were off to discover the magical Black Forest during a hike and cable car ride.
The Black Forest gets its name from its dark, slightly sinister canopy of evergreen trees. Also known as the Schwarzwald, it is home to half-timber houses, crumbling castles, cuckoo clocks and quaint little towns like Breisach, Germany.
Waking up to overcast skies and rain. Yikes! After breakfast we geared up for a hike in the rain, but first a bus ride through the Black Forest to the Schauinsland cable car. A 20 minute ride ascending 750m past treetops and ‘scenic mountainsides’ to the Upper Station. Okay, we saw the tree tops through the fog but ‘scenic mountainsides’ was stretching it a bit! We also did not experience a breath taking view of Freiburg and the Rhine Valley.
After assembling in the shelter of the Upper Station our group headed out in the rain for a 30 minute hike to the Black Forest Schniederlifhof Farmhouse Museum. Built in 1593 it provides a view into the life of the Black Forest mountain farmers. The entrance up the stairs leads to a parlor/dining room through a door on the left with narrow stairs to the right leading to the second floor apparently containing a couple of small bedrooms. We were not permitted up the dangerously narrow stairs. The parlor had a tiled ‘hearth’, the heat provided by the kitchen hearth located on the other side of the wall. Food and water could be kept hot on the tiled shelf and the ceiling was partially open with slats to hang clothes to dry. A door through this room leads to a bedroom with a ‘short’ bed – people slept in a reclining position so they could breath with all the smoke and other air pollution – a centuries old soot blackened door in this room leads to the stable/butchering area, a door on the right leads to the workshop area with centuries old equipment including skis. Just ahead is the exit, a couple of feet from where we entered – full circle. Before exiting, a door on the right leads to the soot blackened kitchen and the hearth which feeds hot air to the parlor. Above, the ceiling is open – this time to hang sausage and other meats for smoking. The soot blackened wood in the house and kitchen is fire resistant.
We had our coffee and Black Forest Cake before the tour, after which we hiked back up the wet trail to our bus pickup point. Thankfully we did not have to go all the way back to the cable car.
On our way back to the Scenic Opal we stopped in Freiburg to pick up the people who had gone on a bike tour. Lucky for us they had run into some bike trouble and were a bit late so we were able to get off the bus for a quick tour of the town square with the Gothic Cathedral and the ancient Kaufhaus (the 16th century Merchant’s Hall).
After returning to the ship we got rid of our damp coats, had a quick lunch and beer before the Safety Drill. Followed by a drink in the lounge at 6:30, the Port Talk, dinner at 7:00. At 9:00 we were entertained by ‘4 Hands’ – a duo who used over 50 bells of various sizes to play music. Then at 10:00 pm the onboard musician (piano player) took over for a bit of dancing music.
Construction on the Freiburg Cathedral began in 1200 in the Romanesque style but continued in the Gothic style in 1230 to become one of the great masterpieces of Gothic architecture in Germany.
The first Merchants’ Hall in Freiburg was built in the 14th century as a custom office and was mentioned in 1378 for the first time in an official document. In 1520 the back of the original building was extended and became the new front facing the market square and Freiburg Minster. The building had several modifications through the centuries.