We left Friedrichshafen Friday afternoon about 1 pm. Our train went west along the Bodensee, curved south around the northwestern arm, called Überlingen See, to Radolfzell, then west again to Singen, where we changed trains to one bound north through the Schwarzwald.
Schwarzwald, the Black Forest of Hansel and Gretl and many other fearsome tales of our childhood. My notes of this first part of the journey are more concerned with the lady whose dog got loose in the Singen train station than with any fearsome fables. It wasn’t until I noticed the upcoming stop at Donaueschingen that I started paying closer attention to the world outside my window. Donau!!?? That’s the German word for what we Americans call the Danube. I always associated that river with Austria and points east. What’s it doing in southern Germany?
Well, it turns out that Donaueschingen is known as the source of the Danube. The whole time we went through Donaueschingen, I was watching carefully for a river of any size. Nothing. After we got out of the town, we went along a nice valley that had a little stream in it that seemed little more than a canal that toy boats could sail in.
Later I came to find out that the Danube is formed from two rivers coming together at Donaueschingen. They are named Breg and Brigach. Brigach was the one we were passing along. Well. The countryside was beautiful though and some hills were starting to show.
Within 15 minutes we were at St George (Sankt Georgen) amongst some serious forest. We left the river course then for some tunnels and steep valleys. Good stuff!
St. George, Triberg, Hornberg, Hausach, Haslach, Biberach. All set in what my map tells me is Naturpark Schwarzwald Nord/Mitte. I would like to come back here.
Around Biberach we noticed that this train had a stop scheduled in Rastatt. Why didn’t Wilfried tell us to go there instead of Baden Baden? Frantic texts, emails, attempts to phone ensued. Finally Mary got through and found out that the Baden Baden Hbf is closer to their house than the one in Rastatt. OK.
The last few stops before Baden Baden were approximately 30 seconds each with the train accelerating to around 90 mph for only 4 or 5 minutes in between. And very smooth.
Wilfried had mentioned earlier in the week that he and Elisabeth had a social engagement Friday night that they couldn’t get out of: a dinner at their neighbor’s. Mary and I thought they would go and leave us at their house. When we got to Wilfried’s, it was 5 pm and Elisabeth had the table all set with 4 giant pieces of cream cake and wine. We hadn’t eaten a proper lunch again so we fell to with gusto. After a while, someone said, what time are we expected at the neighbors? Answer, 6 pm. I looked at my phone: 5 minutes til 6.
So now it develops that we were expected all along to join them so get your coat on, we’re going. Never mind that I felt like I would never eat again. I should have known.
We had a lovely dinner at Felix and Yolanda’s. Neither spoke much English but we got along. The food was great: Felix barbequed sausages and chicken kabobs outside in the rain while the rest of us sat around the table and talked and drank.
Back at Wilfried’s about 10 pm, he brought out a special 16 year old Spätlese Reisling and we sat around and talked some more until past midnight. What a day!