Geo: 48.0516, 8.20554
Excited to hit the road, we got up early, got the bikes loaded, and left Stefan's B&B after a tasty breakfast. Our first stop was Heidelberg Castle, where we took a tour that ran longer than expected and put us behind schedule. Back on the road, our route took us along the Neckar River, lined with numerous castles. We stopped in Neckarsulm for lunch in the town square and had hoped to tour the NSU Motorcycle museum, but our schedule forced us to push on. By the time we conquered road closures and frustrating directions, we finally arrived at our lodging outside of Furtwangen (source of the Danube River). We are staying in a country home on a hilltop meadow surrounded by forests. The area has beautiful hiking trails, with benches in the most remote areas for looking out over the beautiful vistas.
Tomorrow we will be taking it easy, checking out the area (which looks like a scene right out of "The Sound of Music"😉, and planning our routes for the coming week. Guenther will be looking up family ancestry and hoping to establish contact with distant relatives in Schwenningen.
On Monday, we took the short, 20 KM ride
to the town of Schwenningen, where Guenther's mother was born in 1907. We spent the better part of the day trying to find the actual building of her birthplace. We even located the site of his great uncle's distillery, now a wine store. Most of the source of historical records were closed, so a return trip is planned. The town itself was a typical mixture of the old and new Germany.
From our "home base" in Furtwangen, we headed south and west through the countryside on amazing country roads, stopping in villages like St. Peter, and Staufen, where we walked the villages and enjoyed a great lunch. Freiberg was much larger and more congested than anticipated. We endured temperatures in the 90's to check out some of the amazing buildings and Minster (Munster) Cathedral in the old town section adjacent to the university. Germany's Black Forest is made up of rolling hills mixed with dense (black forests) contrasted by verdant green meadows.
On Wednesday, Debbie and Guenther went back to Schwenningen, spending time with the Evangelic Church historian, the local Family History Center, and visited his great uncle's old exclusive wine store which now encompasses the same building as the old
family Gasthaus. Unfortunately no family members (third owner now), but learned much. The church and history center promised to do research on some possible family legs of his grandfather and grandmother's families. Meanwhile, Dave and Janet spent the day exploring some new roads and villages to the north, after a quick stop at the Clock Museum in town. Their stops included St. Georgen, and Hornberg, in the heart of the Black Forest Gutach Valley, where they lunched at the Hornberg Castle Hotel, with spectacular views of the valley from high above the town. Next stop was a visit to the waterfalls in Triberg (nothing special) and a short walk around the charming town before heading back to "the barn."
More high temperatures and road closures the following day didn't keep us from traveling some amazing country roads. We visited a cathedral in St. Blasien and eventually made it to Todtnau for a refreshing ice cream break. That evening, we celebrated Janet's birthday up the hill from our guesthouse, enjoying dinner and a wonderful 280-degree view of the valley from the patio of the Brend Hotel. Prosecco was definitely in order.
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