We awoke this morning to the sound of birds chirping outside the window and the faint murmur of people on the street below. Today we are leaving this cozy little town to head “out west” to the Black Forest. Michael and I have a quiet breakfast and nip outside to grab some bread and pastries from the bakery across the street. The instant we open the door, the source of this morning’s murmurs becomes clear – our quiet little street has transformed into a small neighborhood market filled with fresh vegetables, fish, meats, breads, and flowers. We are clearly the only non-locals at the moment as everyone else has a nice wicker basket filled with the day’s groceries. The scene is made more perfect by the first clear sky we have seen since arriving in Germany. The deep blue sky is a sharp contrast to the white peaks of the Alps standing tall in the panoramic background before us. We take one last peek, grab our goodies, pack up the car, and hit the road for our next adventure which, as it happens, is still in Garmisch.
Today’s big activity is the Partnach Gorge, which is supposed to be a light trek through the mountains with some pretty views of the river running through the rocks. We park at the 1932 Olympic Stadium and take a handful of pictures of the high jump and ski trails on the hill, which look a bit funny without the snow leading up to them.
We walk past the stadium and up the path towards the entrance to the gorge – the locals tell us it will take about 15 minutes to get to the entrance, so we are not surprised when, 30 minutes or so and a beer garden later, we arrive at the gate. Note to future European travelers – when asking a local how long it will take to get somewhere, make sure to use the European Theorem of It.Takes.Longer.Than.That to determine whether or not you need to take that bathroom break now, or wait until you get there. In Germany, it seems to take about twice as long, but in countries such as Scotland, make sure you triple or quadruple that estimate. Anyways…we pay a small fee to enter the park and start our trek through the mountain. We had no idea what to expect, but this trek was – wow! The gorge is up to 260 feet deep in some places and our path winds through the rock, sometimes taking us through small caves. The silvery green stream below is not very wide, but it thunders down the mountain with incredible force. There is no way to walk this path without getting a little wet and, even though the path is not very steep, it is a definite adventure to trek down the path. The scene is breathtaking and I felt very much like I was plopped into Tolkein’s Middle Earth for the briefest of moments.
We broke out the GoPro for this little jaunt and Michael was a champ as I made him stop for at least a million pictures. The trek through the gorge took about 30-40 minutes and we were greeted by the Alps at the end of the journey. There were many more paths from there, but we had to hit the road, so we kept this a relatively short stop. If we ever return to Garmisch, we will dedicate a couple more days to this outdoorsman’s paradise – it will be hard to beat this part of our trip!
Refreshed and excited, we hop back in the car, which we now lovingly refer to as Black Beauty, and head out on our cross-country road trip to Triberg, which is in the heart of the Black Forest. Michael and I have a European road trip tradition that we continued today – on our honeymoon in Scotland, we bought a lightweight, collapsible cooler that we can pack a nice little picnic lunch in for longer drives. Today, we stop at a little grocery store just across the Austrian border and grabbed some drinks, lunch meat, olives, crackers, and cheese spread. Our trek to Triberg is supposed to take about four and a half hours, so we will drive straight there with a little picnic break on the way. Today’s picnic break is taken just before we re-enter Germany with a nice view of the Alps.
Though four and a half hours seems like a long time to be in the car, it goes by quickly as we admire pretty views and listen to the Sound of Music playlist on my ipod – hey, we’re in Austria, the theme song for the day has to be The Lonely Goatherd! I must also say that I am absolutely in love with the Autobahn – I mean really, any time you can drive 110 mph and be in the slow lane – that’s my kind of driving!! We arrive in Triberg pretty late in the evening, so we grab a bite (fresh trout for me) and head to the room to write up some memories.