Life in Stuttgart can be a little, there is no other way to put it, boring. The city is uptight and businesslike and living here can feel a little like living with a British cousin only without the wry sense of humor or the adorable nasal accent (whom you never saw eye to eye in the first place!) It’s Europe’s economic zone (think Bangalore’s E-city but way modern and less traffic) and is filled with automobile industries of all kinds and banks. So, industrial.
But and this is a big BUT. Hop in the Deutsche Bahn and travel an hour south west and you arrive at the most breathtaking forest ranges in all of Europe – Black Forest. Yes, that’s where the namesake multilayered dark dessert comes from (although the Black Forest cake you find in the region or anywhere in Germany, has cherry brandy and real sour cherries and hence tasted nothing like it tasted anywhere I had before). It is also the Black Forest of the cuckoo clock.
Just as Christmas touches down, a carpet of snow descends on the entire Black Forest area and envelopes the tiny villages and towns in its embrace. Just this weekend, gleeful of this secret we decided to set on a little weekend trip to the beloved Schwarzwald – Black Forest. We picked a tiny town called Baiersbronn on the Murg river, in the middle of the region and during research stumbled upon another very interesting, wallet unfriendly piece of info – that the town has 8 Michelin stars to its credit.
If I had read fairy tales while growing up, the image I would have conjured up when I saw Baisbronn enveloped in a heavy carpet of snow would have been that of Snow white’s queen mother sewing and injuring herself with a pinprick and asking for a wish for a girl who had “skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony.”
But no such luck, I grew up on a steady diet of reality and unadulterated pessimism about the dangers lurking in the world and hence all I could think was the wood chipper scene from Fargo. Or strangely, the eerie visuals from The Human Stain, of Nicole Kidman driving on a winter day and her even eerier conversation with the crow. Suffice to say, there are many crows fluttering about in Baiersbronn. And Eurasian Jays and other birds.
But none of these thoughts were overbearing enough to deter us from walking along these gorgeous pine laden forests, pregnant with snow as you can see from these images. Except snow dust inside our shoes, may be. But when your walk gets tiring and shoes get filled with snow, you can always settle in for a hot mug of cocoa (Zartbitter, as they say in German for mild-dark chocolate) at the nearest cafe you stumble upon.
Though I only saw a bit of it, Baiersbronn served as a breathtaking primer for the Black Forest region and I’ve no doubt that the other towns of Black Forest is enticing enough. I can’t wait to go back! Soon.
May be in the next trip, we will she some guilt about the cost and try a meal at one these Michelin star restaurants! Ah well, who am I kidding? May be we won’t (after all, the middle class South Indian guilt on splurging – on a meal, no less – is so incredibly hard to get rid of, you see).
Have you been to Schwarzwald / Black Forest? Leave a comment and let me know. Also, here’s wishing you all a super fabulous new year 2017!