"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


The Deep, Dark Forest

Cuckoo-clocks, strange traditional garb, chocolate-cherry gateaux, huge farm houses, hill after hill of fir forest, and mermaid lagoons. Watch out! We have entered into the depths of the Schwarzwald--the BLACK FOREST. Once you go in, you may never come out alive...

First stop: The little town of Gegenbach for a large helping of half-timbered quaintness

and a bustling provincial town square to round it out.

But beware of the soldiers on patrol. They take their job very seriously.




Second Stop: Gutach, site of the Black Forest Open Air Museum, where actual 17th- and 18th-century farmhouses from the across the Black Forest region have been brought together for you to explore at your own risk.

Hippenseppenhof farmhouse of 1599: picture twenty people in one half and a few dozen farm animals in the other half trying to survive the long winter in the middle of the forest. It's like Little House on the Prairie on steroids.

Penelope measuring in the kitchen

"Does anyone need some butter?"

Hangin' out next to the entrance to the hayloft


Across the way: Vogtsbaurenhof farmhouse of 1612 in its original location

"The great charm about a Black Forest house is its sociability; the cows are in the next room, the horses are upstairs, the geese and ducks in the kitchen, while and pigs, children and chickens live all over the place." Jerome K. Jermome



Penelope was a little freaked out by the Black Forest maidens and their Bollenhut hats. And for good reason. Talk about headgear with sexual overtones: red balls = young woman looking for a mate; black balls = taken.

Honk. Honk.

It's all fun and games until a goose mistakes a shoe for a mid-morning snack.

They're trying to seduce us with Kirschwasser (cherry schnapps).

Baaa. Waaaa!

The geese appear to have forever tainted Penelope's affection towards farm animals of any sort.

Third Stop: The Grimm Brothers invited us over to Grandmother's house.

"Grandmother, what big ears you have!"

Fourth Stop: Lake Mummelsee, a small, round glacial lake from the last Ice Age that sits on the side of Hornisgrinde Mountain.

It may be small in size, but its dark waters reaches a depth of 55 feet deep.

Watch your back! The King of the Mummelsee and his water nymphs lurk in the deep waters below, only rising to the surface at night.

"Look! A mermaid!"

Last Stop: Baden-Baden, the 19th-century playground of the rich and famous.

Not our first, or second time to visit this lovely spa town, but the first time to see it in full bloom.

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