Visiting the Black Forest of Germany including Schluchsee and St. Blasien
Exploring Southern Germany
Some photos of some special areas in the Black Forest region of Germany that I got to experience when I was traveling with my long time girl friend who lives in that country will be shown in this post.
We became acquainted many years ago when she was working as an operating room nurse over here in Houston, Texas where I live and where I also worked at the time.
Even after she returned to Germany, we kept in touch and still do to this very day which is multiple decades later.
There is much to do and see in this beautiful portion of southern Germany and my friend was trying her best to show me some of the highlights which included visiting Frieburg, St. Blasien and other locales which will be featured in other posts.
Location of Black Forest in Germany
Black Forest of Germany
The southern Black Forest also known as the Schwarzwald is a magnificent part of Germany. In this part of the southwestern portion of Germany, elevations rise to almost 1500 meters and past glaciers have carved out some lakes in this region.
The two largest lakes are the Titisee and the Schluchsee, the latter of which is pictured above and at the top of this page.
The area is filled with hills and valleys and much of the area is densely packed with trees that when viewing from any kind of a distance it can look like the color black, thus the name Black Forest.
Flat topped hills devoid of trees offer pasture land for grazing cows in some areas but the vast majority of the Black Forest, a good 2/3rd's of it is filled with conifer types of trees.
The Black Forest / Schwarzwald is a much visited area by visitors not only for its natural beauty, but also as a hiking and skiing destination as well as its having a concentration of a number of health spas in the region.
In the village of Schluchsee, my traveling companion and I decided it would be fun to take a boat ride out on the lake.
After renting one, for some reason the steering mechanism did not want to cooperate and we kept turning in circles. After that baffling start and getting back to the pier, a nice young 14 year old guide from former East Germany (specifically Sachsen-Anhalt) volunteered to be our boat captain and took us out for a spin around portions of the lake.
As the pictures I took will show, there seemed to be some looming storm clouds and I was afraid that we might become drenched. But it all ended well and after returning to shore the clouds dissipated.
At our next stop which was St. Blasien, the day was once again bright and sunny.
The Schluchsee lake is a reservoir and the highest one per elevation in Germany at 952 meters. It is great for boating and offers scenic views for hikers in the area. Swimmers would find the waters cool but undoubtedly very refreshing.
Germans truly like Mother Nature from what I have observed, and this region of Germany showers them with an abundance of her beautiful scenery.
Schluchsee lake in Black Forest area of Germany.Click thumbnail to view full-size
St. Blasien (and some surrounding areas)
The town of St. Blasien is situated in the Black Forest area of Germany which runs north and south along Germany's southwestern part of the country.
The Black Forest is wider across in the southern end as compared to the north and that is where St. Blasien is located in one of the valleys.
As one approaches this town one is struck by the large dome of a cathedral which totally dominates the landscape as compared to the shops and houses which surround it.
It is in fact the third largest dome in all of Europe and it is called Dom St. Blasius or St. Blaise's Cathedral.
Dom St. Blasius
This dramatic building dates back to the Middle Ages and took on its present shape after a fire destroyed the Benedictine Abbey that had stood in its place.
The church is now round and done in a Baroque architectural style. Adjoining buildings house what has become a Jesuit college.
Dom St. Blasius in the town of St. Blasien, GermanyClick thumbnail to view full-size
My friend and I enjoyed walking around the beautiful town of St. Blasien. Tulips were blooming in a park and the sound of splashing water as it tumbled over rocks flowing through a part of the town added to our enjoyment.
Sunlight was bathing the buildings and glistening off of the domed roof of the cathedral.
We walked into St. Blaise's Cathedral and felt small as we gazed up at the painted ceiling on the underside of the round dome which is 63 meters high. It is a foot wider in circumference and numerous columns are utilized decoratively as well as for support of this magnificent domed structure.
After spending some time gazing at the wonder of this church, my friend and I each had an iced coffee while sitting outside with the dramatic backdrop of the Dom St. Blasius.
Not a single Starbuck's coffee house in Houston, Texas nor anyone that I have ever seen anywhere for that matter can top the ambiance of sitting in that plaza on that day enjoying that special coffee libation.
Scenery in the town of St. Blasien, GermanyClick thumbnail to view full-size
The photo of the house below shows a typical private housing design in the Black Forest area.
Due to heavy snows in the winter, the sloped and overhanging roofs make it harder for huge amounts of snow to accumulate directing it rather towards the ground.
Often built upon a stone foundation there are numerous small windows under the protection of the roof on these houses made primarily of wood.
Forestry and woodworking are important industries as well as clock making. Who hasn't heard of the famed cuckoo clocks that come from Germany?
My friend and I continued our journey to see more of the Black Forest with her brother as our guide.
At the spa town of Todtmoss I was told that pilgrimages are made to the church pictured below in which people pray for children who get pregnant.
Perhaps they meant to say that prayers are said in the hopes of dissuading youngsters from getting pregnant?
In any case it is another beautiful setting surrounded by the dark forested hills.
Snowboarding Feldberg Germany (Obviously not the time of year when we were touring it!)
Not far from the city of Freiburg (written about in another post) are the highest areas in the Black Forest.
Feldberg is the highest mountain locale at an elevation of 1493 meters and at this point the scenery became dramatically different.
The dark forested hills gave way to meadows filled with blooming flowers and the trees became sparse to almost nonexistent. Rolling hills filled with dandelions almost reminded me of that scene in the Sound of Music where Julie Andrews turns around arms outspread and starts singing "The hills are alive, with the sound of music..."
This area near Feldberg and located to the south of the city of Freiburg sits at an elevation of 4,213 feet (or 1284 meters) above sea level.
Tourists and residents alike frequent this area at all times of the year and engage in hiking, mountain biking or taking the gondola lift to the top of the mountain. Obviously when the snow covers the hills it is also a great skiing area.
This shows the cable car ride to the top of Schauinsland and also shows a bit of Freiburg.
The landscapes at least in the southern parts of Germany which I have seen and some of which are shown in this post are spectacularly beautiful. They are filled with the natural beauty of clear mountain air, rolling hills and valleys and glacially sculpted lakes. Having my long time friend as a personal tour guide and interpreter just topped off the experience making it an even greater pleasure.
I found this book to be extremely useful when planning my trip to Germany. It has also been kept as a great souvenir after the fact.
Which of these areas in the Black Forest of Germany would you enjoy visiting?
© 2012 Peggy Woods