The Black Forest – does it really exist? Is it black and dark and scary? And what else is there besides mountains, lakes and forests? If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions you are at the right place to get some answers. Because the Black Forest does indeed exist. And on top of that, it is the warmest and sunniest region in Germany just minutes from Switzerland and France.
What we know about the early Black Forest is mostly vague. We know that the Celts were here and that the nomadic Visigoths and Ostrogoths from the east, pillaged and somewhat settled in the area 3000+ years ago, but there is no first hand historical records from that time and few traces of their existence. 2000 years ago the Romans built roads skirting what they named The Black Forest – the name stuck because their records are available to us today describing an area and people that seems unbelievable by their accounts. They didn’t venture too far into the dense forest because the people were fierce and impossible to conquer. Today The Black Forest defines the mountainous region in the southwestern corner of Germany. This forest is illustrated in the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. But its not all dark. There is also a lot of open farmland in the south, with sunny meadows, orchards, with medieval towns in the valleys. The north is the most densely forested with little open space, while the south is about 60% forested dotted with those huge farmhouses you may have seen with flowerboxes hanging from every window. The mountains peaks hide those Celtic and medieval castle ruins if you look closely. Waterfalls in the steep ravines run down over cool moss-carpeted terrain to the valley below giving it a postcard perfect character. The Romans brought wine cultivation to the hillsides of The Rhine Valley on the eastern slopes of The Black Forest which you can enjoy today. While those fierce nomadic people of the forest settled into the more comfortable life of farming the land. These two cultured in combination gives the area its unique character that is so charming and wholesome. The farmers virtually invented the clock-making business during their winter months kept indoors. Their special talent for wood-carving is historic, and made these clock very special. These wooden clocks evolved over the centuries into what we now know as the Cuckoo Clock.
Depending on the time of year of your visit, you’ll find blueberry covered forest floors, or raspberries and wild strawberries along the trails or cherry trees, apples and pears in the orchards, and of course grapes on the vine in the vineyards – with festivals celebrating them all.
You’d be Cuckoo not to visit the Black Forest.