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This is a little spot to call my own. I'm here to blog about what is on my mind and my plate! This is a place to share my journey to becoming a healthier and stronger me!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Cows: A day in the Black Forest of Germany

Today, one of my oldest friends got married. This is the first one of my close high school friends to tie the knot. The whole thing seems kind of surreal to me (and so I can only imagine what she was thinking!), but I was very sad I could not be in Arkansas to celebrate with her today. I wish her and her new hubby all the best though!

It is amazing how different our lives become after high school. While one friend is off getting married the other (me!) was following a completely different life path into the Black Forest of Germany.

The day began like any other with a cup o' joe in my J'adore Strasbourg mug. But after a restless night's sleep an extra caffeine jolt was necessary during the car ride into the Fôret Noir.
The drive was beautiful and since the weather was less than stellar (read: steady downpour) the mountains surrounding us were covered in fog and low hanging clouds. (A traditional Black Forest home with architecture that reflects the amount of snow the region receives each year.)
Our first stop was a visit to Germany's highest waterfalls in the city of Triberg. The specific falls we saw are called the "water's of the Gutach Plunge," and boast over 7 different cascades! We did not hike all the way to the top because it was literally pouring down rain and our feetsies were getting wet (and cold).

We browsed the shops for a while and kept ourselves entertained with the cuckoo clocks that are sold everywhere! Seriously, it is like a thing in the Baden region of Germany to sell cuckoo clocks.

Lunch came after an hour drive further into the forest. This time we stopped in Titisee, Germany, which according to my lovely German friend, is a huge tourist spot. One of my friends was craving pizza, so pizza it was! But first, I had to sneak in a plate of greens of course.
I ordered the vegetarian pizza (well, actually my German friend did all of the ordering, I merely pointed and nodded.)
It came out with less veggies than I had hoped, but I was a hungry girl, so I ate most of it. A point worth noting is the white chunks. I was a little confused as to what vegetable they were...turns out it was white asparagus! Along with eggplant, zucchini, and red peppers, this was definitely one of the more creative vegetable pizzas I have tasted.

With full belly's, we made our way toward the big tourist attraction. Obviously, my food blogger/ADD kicked in at this point and we made a detour into the "local" (read: touristy) shops along the way.
(This is how you know it is a touristy spot. The sign with the American flag on it reads "snacks!" Funny that is the only sign with an American flag on it...hmm)
Once inside, I found the largest loaf of bread I have ever seen in my life!
Followed by mountainous piles of cured meats. (Germany is not the easiest country to be a vegetarian in.)
From there, we made our way to Lake Titisee. It even stopped raining! :) We walked around the area for quite a while and froze our behinds off, which after talking with friends from home, makes me grateful for the cold spell cast over Europe this weekend. Apparently temperatures in Arkansas are in excess of 100 degrees! I digress...I mentioned the cold weather as a transition to our next stop... a local coffee shop for some warm beverages and local desserts!
With a gloriously warm cup of coffee in hand (yes, that makes my 3rd of the day if you are keeping track!) it was time to get down to business and study the menu.If there is one thing this region is known for it is Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte aka Black Forest cake!
Here is a whole cake in all of its sugary glory.
More importantly, here is the piece we ordered to share with one another. Between the rum soaked cherries, the light chocolate cake, and the whipped cream frosting, there really is nothing bad to say about this dessert. I totally understand why it is one of the things you "must try" when in this part of Germany.
Oh, I suppose I should also mention we ordered a piece of apple cake to share as well. It had huge chunks of perfectly sweetened apple throughout. Needless to say, I preferred this one to the Black Forest cake and ate a good portion of it.

After dessert and a riveting discussion about American television (specifically Lost!), we jumped back in the car and headed to our final excursion of the day. This time we ended up in a town called Schwartzwaldbahn to explore the Schwartzwalder Freilicht Museum.

The museum is an outdoor walking tour of old homes and farmstead's that have been preserved since the 1600's. The various homes are meant to depict how people in the Black Forest lived "in the days of yesteryear"-took that quote right from the pamphlet!(A bread making fire pit.)
(Refrigeration system: cold water is pumped up from the ground and goes underneath the shed holding the food you want to keep cold.) This makes perfect sense to me!
(Stove top that makes me oh so glad for modern amenities.)
There are functional gardens all over the museum. My favorite find of the day was definitely the oat grain plants!)
Also worth mentioning...This museum also happens to be the site of a very famous bakery known all around the world for creating the largest Black Forest cake ever in 1992! (Sorry the picture is fuzzy!)

One last thing before I leave you all for the evening. I just wanted to tell you how many happy cows I saw today in Germany. By happy, I mean they were hanging out on big plots of open pasture grazing at their leisure as cows should. A stark contrast from the way cows are raised in America. Just something to think about.
I am off to Basel, Switzerland in the morning, so check back in for a recap tomorrow evening or Monday at the latest!
Your favorite cow loving bloggy,
~Jenn

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