A great and fantastic hiking trail beautiful weather, stunning scenery , each hotel was just decadent with their Wellness Centres and great restaurants- basically I had variations of local trout or pork or deer ( as one delightful German waiter struggled to explain the menu in english he resorted to “Bambi”!
So I have had 8 days of walking followed by spa, sauna, steam and swimming!
“Bambi” in redcurrant sauce
I am seated for dinner at the Waldhotel Sommerberg, altitude about 800m. Here is the view from the restaurant.
Hotel Restaurants in the Schwarzwald at least seem to open from 6:30 to 8 pm. By 6:45 the place is seething, a white poodle saunters past… It is much more family oriented : grandparents, grandchildren, (millions of children) , crying neonates.
Then music starts at one end of the room – a man is playing a keyboard. Its not intrusive and rather foot tapping! No cow bells in sight or leadenhose. I ask the waitress about these happenings and she explains that there is always a party and music on Saturday nights! I have lost track of time and forgot it is Saturday. So there is a smorgasbord, several generations of German families and “Das hund” – the music is gentle and appropriate: the waltz from Die Flerdemaus, I am seriously thinking of hanging around ( most out of character) as I am convinced that by 9 pm there will be young men dancing in lederhosen to Edelweiss!..or the von Trapp Singers will perform.
The elderly couple with the toy poodle in tow wander to their table. Fabulous! The keyboard man has started to croon…and at a decibel level that does not drown out conversation. It’s all very civilised… If only the Germans had won the war.
The walk was another 25km through pine forests and passing a large settlement which was a centre for skiing in winter with ski lifts ( idle) and ski jumps etc. I descended today from the heights of yesterday, lost the trail 5km from the finish… Yes! 5 bloody kilometres! Mostly I hiked along a cool mountain stream. As it was Saturday and sunny, there were hoardes of Germans hiking so no chance of not being found when lost!
Tomorrow is the penultimate day of walking and in retrospect the trek has a similar feeling to my bike ride along the Camino. It was on the Camino that I decided to learn to play music whilst contemplating my sins …
The Hotel Schwarzwald
This hotel is remarkable on many levels. It is almost impossible to know where to begin. The hostlier is Herr Schafer. As an adolescent at the end of the war, he witnessed British soldiers dancing- not in the streets but what I guess we would call Ballroom Dancing in the clubs of Berlin. He was mesmerised by the fluid graceful movements of the couples , so at odds with the stiff precise routines of a German dance! He promptly enrolled in a summer dance academy in London over the next three years.
Somewhere along the way he met his German Wife – his partner in life and dance! He hosted a national TV programme on Ballroom Dancing for many years.
He took up teaching and in 1964 built the hotel with the aim of setting up a dance academy with live in accommodation. He rose up the ranks of professional dance teachers and was admitted as a Fellow of the Academy of International Dance Teachers!
His hotel and dance studio situated in the Schwarzwald became just as famous as a stopping point on the walking trails and he then added to his CV by his active participation in the regions tourist organisation.
I think the best way to indicate this man’ achievements, are by photos and the fact that on his 80th birthday he received a personal greeting from the German Chancellor Angela Merkel! He and his wife are so unassuming!
whilst I abhor senseless killing, I offered to take a pictute of his hunting trophies. From the 1960’s – deer!
Max the Red Deer Bull in s reserve that Herr Schafer has adopted almost like a pet and which he takes all the walkers to see!
Some pictures along the trail day 3 and 24 km