Triberg, Germany


Trip Taken: 2005

Any mention of the Black Forest has images of Grimm Fairy Tales flooding into my head. Little Red Riding Hood is skipping through the forest while the big bad wolf is slowly stalking her. Hansel and Gretel huddle up together as they approach the witch’s house made of candy. In my mind, it is a dark foreboding place where morality tales are enacted. I even get flashes of the video game “The Beast Within”, where Gabriel Knight is chasing down a werewolf with his dagger and magic talisman. With the mystique firmly placed in my mind, I wanted a reason to go and Triberg seemed like a good starting point.

Triberg is right smack in the middle of the Black Forest and only one of a few towns in the forest with train access. It’s a nature sanctuary so there is little development within the forest besides the actual towns. Most access to these towns are by buses. Triberg also boasts the largest waterfall in Germany. That statement is a bit misleading. It is the largest waterfall in Germany but not in the way you would think.

Jacek, Sylvia, and Jose all agreed to go on this trip. Since my sister was visiting at the time, she joined us to make a perfect five needed for the weekend train ticket.

Triberg is a very small town that seems to survive on tourism alone. There are shops all along the main streets. I don’t see how they can have any other industry here. Maybe exporting specialty crafts. The entrance to the waterfall was at the other side of the town from the train station. It is a pretty town built on a slope. We past a cool confectionery shop that made all kinds of animals made out of marzipan. Their porcupine marzipan seemed to be their bestseller since they were the most prominently displayed.

Approaching the waterfall, we heard some water rumblings but not the roar you would expect from a large waterfall. This is when I found out that largest waterfall meant a series of waterfalls and not one large continuous waterfall. The water fall was pretty nonetheless. It is was kind of fun trying to figure out where the top of the waterfall was. It just kept going higher and higher. There were also plenty of red squirrels in the forest. They’re different from the North American grey squirrels, but they were just as approachable. We fed them some crackers we carried as snacks.

The tour of the waterfall ended and we went to look at all the shops we passed on our way to the waterfall. We entered a cuckoo clock store and the owner was very enthusiastic to sell a clock. He pointed out the difference between German crafted clocks and mass produced clocks made in Poland. That didn’t sit too well with Jacek and Sylvia (Polish) so they left the store. I think the store owner was a little disappointed that we didn’t buy a clock and instead bought smaller gifts.

Before heading on the train back to Stuttgart, we decided that we wanted to try some Black Forest cake since we were right in the middle of it. We settled down at a cozy little cafe and ordered four plates. Jose ordered his own slice of cake. My sister and I shared one as did Jacek and Sylvia. It was good. A bit heavy on the alcohol but very moist.

There isn’t much to see in Triberg besides the waterfall and I wished there was better access to some of the towns deeper into the forest. Maybe next time we’ll catch the bus and see if I can find the mystique I actually had in my mind.

Parting Words

Although this wasn’t the Black Forest I had imagined, it was still quite beautiful. The people were nice and the air was clean even by German standards. It is a nice little introduction to the Black Forest. I definitely would like to explore a little bit more.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.