The Black Forest

Snowy mountains
The journey from Remagen to Enzklösterle was very straightforward and the German autobahns very efficient. Thirty minutes before our arrival we had begun a climb up into the mountains. At 15 minutes prior to arrival we were so high that there was snow on the trees and ground. We stopped to take a photo and I noticed Cleopatra was reporting the temperature to be 2°C. Now so close to our destination I really expected the campsite to be at that altitude and so it was a relief when we started to descend again before the sat nav announced our arrival.

Our campsite
The campsite, Camping Muellerwiese, was perfectly situated to give the most amazing view of the valley. I didn't want to do anything other than find somewhere to walk in this beautiful place and so we ambled around the centre of town until we picked up a marked path.

Almost instantly it began to snow and it seemed to make the scenery, which already seemed impossibly stunning, even more endearing.

Our camping pitch
We passed Cleopatra from higher up a hill. Once again she shone her beautiful yellow among a site full of stone white caravans and made me smile, as I always do when I catch sight of her.

We followed a path up to ski runs and there was snow on them. Probably not for very much longer but we could easily imagine them in use. The sky was blue and the sun was warm on our faces and yet here was snow. It felt magical to be in such beautiful countryside.

A village museum
As we descended back towards the village we passed a deer park. The half dozen deer sat lazily on the grass and watched us walk by.

Back at the campsite we pulled out the outdoor chairs and sat in the sun with a wheat beer. I fell asleep with the sun on my face and dozed until the sky clouded over.

We set about making fondue for dinner with a large chunk of gouda and the white wine we were still carrying from the UK (that we'd bought in 10-litre boxes in France in February). The smell of garlic and cheesy chardonnay was inviting each time we lifted the lid to stir. When it was ready, we enjoyed it with florets of raw broccoli and crusty hunks of bread.

During the night I had to get up for the bathroom. Stepping outside in the cold night air was more invigorating than uncomfortable. There was a full moon and clear sky and the valley was completely illuminated in chalk and charcoal hues. It was enchanting.

Up in the mountains
The next morning we were up before 9am and ready for a day's hiking by 10am. We decided to follow a walk in a brochure given to us when we checked in to Camping Mullerwiese. It took us back to the deer park from where we would follow signs to a neighbouring village.

It started out so well but then the road forked and there was no sign to tell us which way to go. We hoped our instincts were right and picked one of the directions. We continued walking up and up the hillside until occasional patches of crisp snow became a blanket of snow as far as we could see. Near the top of the mountain we had an unrivalled view right across the valley.

Clear blue skies
An hour into our walk and we hadn't seen any other signs. We'd made other decisions about which paths to take on a hunch which left me worried whether we'd be able to go back the way we came if necessary. I just hoped it didn't start to snow because then I'd have been ready scared.

Eventually our path crossed another and there was a sign towards our village, so we took it. When we found a sign towards our original destination it was the same distance there as to Enzklösterle. We chose to continue heading for home. We'd been getting occasional glimpses of the village as we descended the hill and it was the safest bet in the case that signage ran out again.

Black Forest gateau
Back in Enzklösterle we decided we'd earned coffee and cake and headed for a cafe where, in my best A-level German, I ordered our drinks and 'zwei mal' of the Black Forest gateau I was pointing at. It was delicious and one thing crossed off my short to-do list for our two nights here.

We cooked stew and dumplings for dinner, washed down with Riesling, and had an early night, ready to travel to Switzerland in the morning.


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