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The Schluchtensteig – a fascinating hiking trail through the depths of the Black Forest

Published: 07/09/2014

Foto: Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH

Foto: Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH

A very characteristic destination for tourists in the Black Forest is the so called Schluchtensteig. It is a 120km long hiking trail that leads you from Stühlingen to Wehr, usually in six legs. These legs are between 18 and 22km long and doable for anybody in reasonable shape – the trail is even adequate for children. The deep wild canyons are the most fascinating part oft he Black Forest and are the main focus on this tour. Foamy froth, roaring waterfalls and all this surrounded by the sounds of the forest: If you really want to escape your daily routine, you should dive in into this part of the Black Forest. The trail is accessible from May to November, it is dangerous once it snows or freezes. Some parts are narrow and steep and get slippery quickly.

Foto: Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH

Foto: Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH

The six legs lead you through canyons and viewpoints alike, where it is possible to take a look at the huge dimensions of the Black Forest. Wutachcanyon, The Schleifenbach falls, Haslachcanyon, Hohwehracanyon and Wehratalcanyon are all parts oft he 120km long trail. If you want to discover the rustic beauty of the Black Forest, the Schluchtensteig is definitely for you. Some impressions of thsi tour can be see in the following video:

Gorgeous Winners of the ‘Black Forest Clock of the Year’ by Hubert Herr

Published: 05/06/2014

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2011 by Hubert Herr

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2011 by Hubert Herr

In the past few years, one of the oldest family-run manufacturers of Black Forest Clocks was able to win the competition Black Forest Clock of the Year twice. Already in the middle oft he 19th century, the brothers Andreas and Christian Herr started to fabricate their first Cuckoo Clocks in their small Black Forest farm house. It was one of their descendants, Hubert Herr, who started the business in Triberg’s mainstreet where it is still located today. As for today, it is the fifth generation of the Herr family that runs the company. One speciality of Herr Clocks is that every single part of the clock– from the extrerior tot he mechanics inside – is produced by themselves.

In 2011 and 2013, Hubert Herr was able to win the competition Black Forest Clock of the Year twice. For the Black Forest Clock of the Year 2011, they had the original idea of integrating a bakery in a Cuckoo Clock chalet-style. The master baker is taking fresh bread out of the oven while the mill in the background produces more flour. The chicken are picking some grains from the ground, while the freshly baked loaf of broads are cooling down on the right. The whole scene is surrounded by a lovely Black Forest Chalet, which even has the sign of the baker’s guild on it: Two Pretzels.

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2013 by Hubert Herr

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2013 by Hubert Herr

In 2013 as well, an elaborate design meant the win for Hubert Herr. Even though the lumber industry theme is often used in Cuckoo Clocks, the Black Forest Clock of the Year 2013 handles this topic very originally. Especially beautiful are the horses on the right who are pulling tree trunks. They are going in circles every full hour when the music starts. The lumberjacks and in the middle also move and on the left there is even a sawing machine – the whole world of the Black Forest lumber industry is captured in one very special Cuckoo Clock.

So rightly it was Hubert Herr who could win the title in these two years. They used their clockmaking experience of two centuries to create two clocks that are both traditional and original. We can not wait to see how creative the clockmakers will be in 2014.

Black Forest Clock of the Year – Conservators of the Black Forest culture

Published: 04/30/2014

The especially elaborately designed Black Forest Clocks of the Year offer a chance for the manufacturers to show off their clockmaking-skills. The main-inspiration is the rural life of the Black Forest: The Chalet clocks often present scenes of Black Forest farms while the carved models are influenced by the life of the forest.


Black Forest Clock of the Year 2007 by Anton Schneider

The competition ‚Black Forest Clock of the Year’ presents clocks who represent the Black Forest life in a elaborate and detailed fashion. Scenes of the rural Black Forest life are so well displayed that the observer feels like he is part of it. It is a great way to explore the life in the Black Forest as it used to be – like a little museum on your wall.

The Black Forest Clock of the Year 2007 is designed and created by Anton Schneider and is called ‚Der Schwarzwaldhof’, the Black Forest Farm. Carved with a lot of details, you can observe two forest workers who enjoy their after-work beer. They are surrounded by elements of the woods such as fawns or fir trees. The balconys are also carved with motives of the forest.

The focus more on the life of the farmers has the Black Forest Clock of the Year 2005 by Rombach und Haas: The farmer and his wife take care of the farm animals, especially  their Black Forest cold blood horse. This breed is especially tough and yet very well-tempered – a perfect working horse for the rough surroundings of the Black Forest. The people of the Black Forest are very proud of their beautiful horses and they are often payed tribute to with the Cuckoo Clocks.


Black Forest of the Clock 2005 by Rombach & Haas

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2006

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2006 by Hoenes

A very special scene is displayed with the Black Forest Clock of the Year 2006 by Hoenes: After the clockmaker has finished one Cuckoo Clock, a resident of the Farm takes of to deliver the clock to its recipent. Since the farms were usually located oustide of larger communities, it often took the carrier several days to deliver the clock. His wife, wearing the traditional bollen-hat, is waving sadly at him to say good-bye. Meanwhile, the clockmaker has already started with a new clock. This snap-shot is surrounded by a vastly decorated Black Forest home.

There is nothing like a Black Forest clock to document the daily life oft he Black Forest as it used to be in good old times. Two aspects are acknowledged with the award ‚Black Forest Clock of the Year’: The skills oft he clock makers, of course, but also the conservation of the rich culture of the Black Forest.

Black Forest Clocks of the Year by August Schwer

Published: 04/25/2014

It’s not the Oscar nor the Grammys that matter in the Black Forest, but another award: The Black Forest Clock of the Year is awarded to a Cuckoo Clock that is even under all the gorgeous Cuckoo Clocks a special one. The awards goal is it to acknowledge a special and creative Cuckoo Clock that is rich in detail.


Black Forest Clock of the Year 2004

In the first few years of the awards, it was the members of the association’s board that voted for the Cuckoo Clock of the year. In recent years though, the poll was executed during an exhibition where the manufacturers can show their best clocks of the year to the public. Twelve clocks by six different manufacturers are shown in a regional museum, and the visitors can vote there as well.


Black Forest Clock of the Year 2008

For a few years, the Black Forest Clocks by August Schwer were serial winners oft he competition: The Black Forest Clock of the Year 2004 and then the Black Forest Clock of the Year 2008, Black Forest Clock of the Year 2009 and the Black Forest Clock of the Year 2010 were created by the traditional clockshop of Schönach/Black Forest.

All of these four models of the famous Chalet Clocks by August Schwer are especially rich in detail . The Black Forest Clock oft he Year 2004 for example shows the scenery of a jolly fair. The fair is located at the Black Forest  Chalet and has so many lovely details that looking at it will never be boring.

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2009

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2009

The dazzling array of details of the Black Forest Clock of the Year 2008 will also amaze you: Kids playing with their pets are the main focus of the snapshot, but it is the details you gasp at second view that make the clock more special than other clocks: The elaborate design of the blinds, for example, the lovely arranged bowery or the hand painted details of the house – the craftsmanship of the Cuckoo Clocks, that is already on a very high level, gets lifted even higher here.

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2010

Black Forest Clock of the Year 2010

In the following years, August Schwer set high standards again: The Black Forest clock oft he year 2009 shows two Black Forest farmers enjoying their after work beer, sitting in front of an elaborately designed Black Forest farm house with well house and wayside cross. The Black Forest Clock of the Year 2010 is a Chalet-style clock as well, the gorgeous Black Forest horses are the center of attention with this one. If you are looking for that one, very special Cuckoo Clock to add to your home, you might want to take a look at the Black Forest Clocks of the Year. The clockmakers used all of their creativity and skills to design special and unique masterpieces. We will present the other winners in the upcoming weeks as well.

Things used to be better in old times? Not camping in the Black Forest!

Published: 04/09/2014

© Christoph Duepper

© Christoph Duepper

If you want to explore the stunning nature of the Black Forest as close as possible, you should do that by spending as much as time as possible in it. But when the term ‚camping’ means hard sleeping mats, the annoying pitch of a tent and the search for the gas bottle to you, you might want to think again.

Located at the picturesque Schluchsee, Schwarwaldcamp offers great possibilities to experience the nature at first hand. If you don’t own camping equipment and setting it it up would overstrain your skills anyways: You can rent already set-up 2- or 4-people tents, where you only have to put in your mat and sleeping bag, before your camping experience can begin.  If you don’t even own a sleeping bag, you can book one of the two suites who are already equipped with mattresses and cooking equipment.

Also something new is offered at the Schluchsee from 2014 on: Tree camping lets you spend your nights 2m above the ground, sleeping on a tent set up hanging between trees. Reachable through a rope ladder, it is possible to watch the stars of the Black Forest –when the weather allows it to remove the roof of the tent.

Blick-auf-den-Schluchsee_front_fullAnother exciting possibility to spend a vacation close to nature is Glamping on the Hilserhof in Triberg. The tent has 480 square feet and is therefore as big as a city apartment. Still you can feel the closeness to nature: The rustic interior is entirely made out of wood, the blankets are filled with sheep wool and when you step out of your tent, you’re directly inside the nature.

If you feel like trying out Glamping you should hurry up, since the tents are booked out rather fast.

Legendary Places – The Mummel Lake

Published: 04/01/2014

Foto: Nobert Hüttisch

Foto: Nobert Hüttisch

In the Black Forest, there are a lot of places that attract many tourists. Often it is their beauty or specialness that attracts them, such as the Waterfalls of Triberg for example. A lot of these places are the source for some very special legends of myths that were established in the long and rich history of the Black Forest.

One of these very mystical places ist he Mummelsee, or Mummellake, in the northern part of the Black Forest. While it used to be quite isolated in earlier times, it is one of the most visited Black Forest lakes nowadays, thanks to its location at the Schwarzwaldhochtstraße, the main travel route through the Black Forest.

It’s not only its breathtaking scenery that attracts the visitors, but also a lot of myths and stories around it that fascinates the people:

One says that there used to be a monastary for ‚pure souls’ where the lake is today. Because of a ‚rage of heaven’, the monestary vanished one day and where it used to be, only a dark, deep lake could be found. The residents oft he are noticed though that they had somehow help with their daily work: The houses were already cleaned or the cattle already fed when they got up in the morning. The people of the region were convinced that it was the pure souls oft he monestary that helped them and made the region to be so fertile.

Another legend tells of a young shepherd met a lovely virgin there. They spent hours telling tales and singing together. Yet the virgin always warned the shephard not to look for her at the lake in case she does not show up for their daily meetings. When that happnened one day, the longing became too strong though and the shepherd looked for the girl anyway. When he could not find her at the lake, he sat down at the shore and yelled her name. This cause a loud roar coming out oft he lake and the water got as red as blood. The boy ran home, panic filled, and died there.

The third tale says that a lot of ghosts used to live in the lake and came into the settlements at nighttime. The residents saw that they were poorly dressed and wanted to do them something good: Therefore, they provided them with clothes. The ghosts were not happy about this though: They felt wounded in their pride and were angry that their presence was discovered. Therefore, they went back into the lake and were never again seen.

As you can tell, the mystic landscape around the Mummelsee delivers a lot of inspirtaion for tales and storys. And who knows – some might even be true.

The Cuckoo Clocks Older Brother – The Shield Clock

Published: 03/18/2014

Most people associate two things with Black Forest Clocks: The Carved Cuckoo Clocks and Clocks Chalet-Style. Before these clocks were produced though, there stands a long and rich history of clock manufacturing in the Black Forest.

Schilderuhr-8-Tages-Uhrwerk-40cm-von-Rombach-Haas__1012_7378_01The reason why especially the Black Forest has established itself as a centre of Clock-manufacturing was mainly caused by two reasons: In the long and harsh winters of the region, the Black Forest always tried to keep themselves busy when life on the farms got slow. One of these occupations was the carving of tools and of items of the daily life such as plates and cups. When technical inventions made it possible for clocks to be run with wooden movements, it became possible for the Black Forest people to produce clocks using their own resources and abilities.

1Schilderuhr-8-Tages-Uhrwerk-33cm-von-Rombach-Haas__1012_3402_01Way before the common known Cuckoo Clocks became popular, there were other kinds of Clocks that were typical for the region. The Shield Clock, for example: It is still created in handwork and is created on a fir-tree basis. It used to go through an interesting production process: The fir-tree shield was soaked in glue-water  and covered with chalk-powder first. After that had dried, another layer of glue water was applied.  Then it was polished before the digits and other decorations were painted on it by hand.

Even today, these traditional Black Forest Clocks have a big fan base.  Beside the Cuckoo Clock, they are the most common export-good of the region – even when they have to leave the spotlight often to their younger brother.

Meet the Manufacturers: Anton Schneider Cuckoo Clocks

Published: 03/11/2014

Schneider Cuckoo-Clock-1-day-movement-Chalet-Style-28cm-by-Anton-Schneider__4032632400701_30-MT-11009_MT11009Since 1848, Cuckoo clocks Schneider produces its famous clocks in the city of Schonach in the middle of the Black Forest. This means a clock-making tradition that has been going strong for six generations now. It all started in the farmhouse of founder Anton Schneider and has lead to a large company with a lot  employees. The focus at Anton Schneider lies on passing down skills to young trainees.  Anton Schneider combines the traditions of its heritage with the possibilities of modern tools to create clocks that are both rich in history and quality.

 Schneider Cuckoo-Clock-8-day-movement-Carved-Style-88cm-by-Anton-Schneider__4032632500623_30-8T-MT2457H_8TMT2457HThe company is well known for their very special moving parts  and melodies of the Chalet-styled Clocks. But their carved clocks are also extraordinary and beautiful. The hard work and steady improvement was rewarded with the Clock of the Year Award in 2013.

If tradition combined with a modern manufacturing process are important to you, then you should take a look around to explore the world of Schneider Cuckoo Clocks.

Snowshoe-walking in the Black Forest

Published: 03/04/2014

Feldberg Schneeschuhwanderer

Snowshoe hike at the Feldberg, © Hochschwarzwald Tourismus GmbH

Besides the typical winter sports you can do in the Black Forest, some other kind of sport has become a rising star in the past few years: Snowshoe-walking! It has become so popular that guided snowshoe-tours of any kind are offered.

Let’s start with the roots though: Many ancient nations were using them; in fact it was the possibility they had to continue to hunt during the winter. Where snowshoes actually originated from is not known, but traces where found from the Inuit to the Caucasus.

In our modern society they are not necessary to gather food anymore, yet they have become very popular as a leisure activity. The requirements for snow shoeing are fairly easy to fulfill: If you can walk, you can snowshow. All you need is a bit of snow and a lot of nature. Other requirements such as lifts or loipes are not necessary.

In the gorgeous Black Forest, the possibilities and offers when it comes to snow shoe walking seem to be endless: A moonlight tour around the city of Hinterzarten, a tour of the Feldberg with some delicious hotpot dinner after that or an easy tour at the Windeck – with the flexibility of snow shoes, you will explore the Black Forest more intense than normally you ever would.

Traditions of the Black Forest: The Bollenhat

Published: 02/20/2014

Copyright: Tourist-Information Gutach Hauptstraße 38 77793 Gutach (Schwarzwald)

Copyright: Tourist-Information Gutach Hauptstraße 38 77793 Gutach (Schwarzwald)

Besides the world famous Cuckoo-clocks there is something else that makes you think of the Black Forest right away: The traditional ‚Bollenhat’. Besides the Bavarian Dirndl, it might be the most famous traditional garb that is connected with Germany.
Behind this colorful tradition stands a lot of history and meaning. First of all, it is wrong to consider the Bollenhat as the traditional garb oft he Black Forest. Actually, it is only the traditional dress of three small villages: Gutach, Kirnbach and Reichenbach. Caused by its concise look and by a love for traditional movies with regional background in the 50s and 60s, the Bollenhat became the symbol for the whole region.
It is traditionally made with a white strawhat as base and fourteen fluffy tufts. Usually, the hats are given down from generation to generation, yet there are some traditional hatmakers left that still work in the hatmaking business. It takes one week of work to produce one hat, two kilogramm of whool are usually needed.
The red tufts are worn by young girls from their confirmation on until they are married (as you can tell, it is a protestant region). As soon as they are married, they are wearing their tufts in black. Kids and old women usually wear no tufts but only the bonnet-part. Although not as important as they used to be, the Bollenhat still has its place in the life of the Gutach-people: At wedding ceremonies, church services and on traditional celebrations such as Thanksgiving, the Bollenhat is still used today.
Getting curios? In the open air museum Vogtsbauernhof, you can watch a traditional hat maker while she does the traditional work of creating a Bollenhat – just like the people have done it since centuries.

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