Close your eyes, think of Germany and jot down the first few words that come to your mind:
• Me (before our Bavarian trip): Automobiles, Banking, Super-infrastructure, beer.
• Me (after our Bavarian trip): Waterfalls, castles, postcard-like natural beauty and of course...BEER.
It honestly doesn’t even take a trip to realise how naturally endowed some parts of Germany are, just takes a Map.
The beautiful and the romantic Swiss Alps have another side too, and the bulk of that side falls in southern Germany’s Bavarian region. Starting from Triberg, a small town in the heart of region’s Black Forests, we made our way to the beer halls of Munich and then to the enchanting Neuschwanstein Castle to finish our Bavarian adventure on a ‘high’.
We have highlighted only the best of our "Eat, Sleep, Stay and Shop" at our various pitstops along this Bavarian journey.
Read on folks !
Triberg – The Pearl of the Black Forest Region
Triberg has a perfect setting, a beautiful town set in a valley surrounded by the Black Forest (The canopy of the forest is so impenetrably dense that virtually no sunlight passes through and hence the name Black forest).
With its picturesque landscape, the cuckoo clocks and the original black forest cake, this little town has everything you have known to associate the Black Forest with. You simply cannot get more Black Forest than this.
The town is full of boutique family-run hotels. We chose Hotel Ketterer am Kurgarten (EUR 80 per night including breakfast), located at one of the highest points in the town thus offering amazing views from the room and the breakfast table. For the first time in our lives, we were served sparkling wine along with the breakfast buffet. Juice; Black Coffee; Sparkling wine was definitely very intriguing for our stomachs.
If you stay in Triberg and pay the tourist tax (which is compulsory at EUR 2 / person) you get free access to all regional transport and tourist attractions. Just ask for it at the hotel reception.
The town is the birthplace of the famous black forest cake we have all grown up with. And it only takes one bite to figure out how the real recipe got lost as it was making its way to India.
Head to Cafe Schafer to try the cake made from the original recipe of its founder, Josef Keller. The layers of cherries and whipped cream decorated with chocolate shavings on a dark chocolate cake is delicious and the splash of kirsch liquor certainly gives that surprise kick as you bite into it. The classic setting of the cafe and the history behind this world-famous cake also builds up the culinary experience.
Feel free to try the other pastries as well, we tried the rum-almond pastry and it was yum too. The portions are huge and the pastries are a meal in themselves, will set you back with only 10 Euros for two.
Honestly, we are not waterfall buffs but the Triberg Waterfalls had something unique about it. Its drop at almost 160m (the highest in Germany) over 7 cascades makes it a natural wonder.
There are various hiking paths to reach different levels of the falls, but we chose to sit by the base, relax and peacefully enjoy its performance.
Triberg is known as the unofficial Capital of Cuckoo Clocks in Germany and its sole credit goes to the House of 1,000 clocks (A family business already in its 5th generation).
It is the perfect place to buy an authentic German Made Cuckoo clock, period. I agree it will take time when you have literally hundreds of options to choose from; we took at least an hour as well. The best part: they ship directly to India at a flat rate of EUR 60. Ours is already on its way. Bravo, to no luggage issues!
Even if you are not in the mood to shop, the shop is worth exploring the various musical movements that they have built into their clocks (Read, i.e. The Kissing couple clock, The beer drinker clock and many others).
Munich: Experience Oktoberfest round the year
Eat (Read i.e. Drink):
Oktoberfest atmosphere is electric; this is a first-hand account and not a hearsay. If you cannot be in Munich during the fest, don’t worry. The German’s love for beer and their celebration while drinking it can be experienced at one of the many beer halls and gardens in Munich; the same madness, the same singing and the same costumes.
The Hofbräuhaus beer hall is a temple where beer lovers come and pay their respects and in return, they get a giant beer jug full of lager from the oldest and the most famous brewery in Munich. This place with a capacity of more than 5,000 people has been here for centuries and a lot of famous (Read i.e. Mozart) and infamous (Read i.e. Hitler) people have hung out here.
If you are in for a beer garden experience, head to Augustiner-Keller with its extensive (5,000+ again) outdoor seating and mild Edelstoff beer freshly served from huge wooden barrels. A perfect place to relax in the chestnut shade and just people-watch.