Sunday, 10 August 2008

Germany

After a splendid time in Switzerland, it was time to say adieu to one of the most beautiful places in the world. We woke up early morning to have a last look at the unbelievable view of the place form the hotel room and went down to have breakfast. There was excitement as we were going to another country, yet there was a little yearning deep down saying, wish I could be here for a longer time. Had to brush off that thought instantly, and Joy and I went to board the coach. This was the first time we were going to another country on the coach.

We were headed for Schauffhausen to see the Rhine Falls, which is located at the border of Switzerland and Germany. We took a road trip down the mountain instead of the train, and the view outside was, this is where I lack the skill of a writer, it was out if this world! We drove through Zurich, we didn't stop there, neither did we go to the heart of the city, yet we got a feel of the place. And, for Joy and me, it was another quick trip to Zurich!

After a couple of hours drive we reached Schauffhausen. Rhine Falls is definitely beautiful, but what amazed me was the way the Swiss Tourism department capitalised on every opportunity to turn so many places into tourist locations. One thing that I found really nice was that there was a viewing point on the rock which splits the falls, and a staircase to get up there. We didn't have a lot of time and most importantly the courage to get there! Here a few photographs we took near the falls.




Nature always fascinates me , so I went about clicking photographs and video shooting. Time is always limited when you travel with a group. Though I wanted to spend some more time there, I had to go back to the coach. But then I was very excited with the thought of crossing over to Germany! 



Entering Deutscheland!

How excited was I that some tough looking guy will come ask for our passports and ask us why we are here, and I, like the spokesperson for all will tell that guy how fascinated we were to know about their country that we've come this far! But no, noone came! Our tour manager went to meet the border security guys and completed all the formalities; we started moving.

We crossed over to Germany; nature looked different on this side of the border. The grass was not as green and the roads looked rather parched. This time the drive seemed never to end. It was getting a little warm outside. I was over-clothed! We went through many villages and small towns; and at some point our driver Armando, lost his way; so that took us some more time to reach the Black Forest.

I was very intrigued about visiting the Black Forest. Read about forests in Geography back in school, and the picture of forests on my mind has always been about lions and tigers; the deep and scary jungle kind! As we came closer to the Black Forest, I figured it had nothing to do with wild life. In fact, we crossed a town too. Just then I realised that I did not read all my Geography lessons well enough to know that there are different kinds of forests!

We drove further down and arrived at the beautiful lake of Titisee. This is the heart of the Black Forest, surrounded by dark fir forests, fairy tale woods and flowering meadows. We got off the coach and as we started walking this is what we saw!


Don't these bikes look stunning! The people who rode them looked even more stunning, they were young men and women in black leather gear, all of about 50 years!

Since it was time for lunch we first headed for the restaurant that was pre-booked for us. Joy and I, and a few of us had local meal (something like chicken steak) and had authentic black forest cake for dessert. Well, just my thought, our Indian black forest cakes taste better.

After lunch we went to Drubba, the home of the world-famous cuckoo clock. We were invited for a free demonstration in the factory. Oh the shop was full of exotic clocks! The lady who was showing us around told us that in the winter months, when it becomes too cold for farming, the farmers of this region resort to making Cuckoo clocks from the wood found in the Black Forest. We were shown a demonstration of a small part and an explanation of the making of the Cuckoo clocks. They had many varieties for sale ranging from simple clocks which emit the cuckoo sound to musical clocks that perform a whole host of actions in tune to the music. They were very very expensive, so we settled for the miniature magnets from outside the store.


We were given an hour to move around to shop. The place was beautiful! Joy and I walked around, sat for a while, clicked photographs. There were many shops selling souvenir, therefore, spending one hour there was fun! I bought quite a few things as the prices were relatively  low.


Later in the afternoon we went to Heidelberg, situated on the banks of the river Neckar. Heidelburg is known mainly for its famous university renowned for its printing technology and its castle. At the entrance of the castle we saw some people building a stage for a concert to be held. We visited the castle gallery, situated on a hill, from where one can get a splendid view of the city of Heidelberg. We heard that the castle had a Huge Wine vat which was as big as an entire room, but it was closed by the time we went there.

On the way to the castle there were many restaurants and cafés on the sides, and in one, we saw a couple dancing at the open verandah, felt like a shot from a Spanish movie.




We left Heidelberg and drove an hour or so to check into Hotel Ramada in Weisbaden.
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