Friday 5th October
Today we got up early, had some breakfast and packed a picnic before heading out with our map for a long walk. We left the apartment at 11:00. We were up for a challenge so we headed south and up the mountain behind the town. Our most southerly point was Freiwaldkapelle. We then walked uphill continuously for about an hour and a half, climbing to a height of 1107m above sea-level. We crossed two peaks and started going back down the mountain to Ibacher Kreuz. Once there, we had fun with panoramic view on the camera (basically I made Michael run around like a madman while I tried to get him in all five shots of the panorama. I managed in the end to get him in four of the frames!). Then we started climbing uphill again to Schwarzerstock at 1110m above sea-level.
The weather was wonderful and I had to keep taking my jumper on and off depending on whether we were going up or downhill. We met a walking party, made up of old Swiss people, who stopped to tell us that the pathways were very wet and impassable in places. We proceeded despite the warnings!
The highest point on our walk came just before we started to descend into the valley and make our back to Todtmoos. We climbed to a height of 1150m above sea-level. We got a little bit lost because the map was a bit confusing but we had lots of fun regardless of the muddy pathways! We eventually found the right path again which ran past the town of Rütte. The path was higher than the town so we had really picturesque views while we sat and ate our lunch on a bench. Our feet and legs were starting to ache a lot at this point.
After lunch, we continued along the path towards Todtmoos which was all downhill and met the Swiss walking party again. We carried on downhill – the path was much longer than we anticipated – and the walking signs started to lie to us. Todtmoos was seemingly no closer at the bottom of the hill than it was at the top!
When the path finally ended we had some fantastic views of Todtmoos. The sun was shining fully on to the town and it looked really pretty. We had to walk along the road, which has lots of hairpin bends in it, in order to get back down to the town.
As soon as we reached the Town Hall, our legs died. We both felt like we had hit a brick wall and our legs were made of lead. It was such a bizarre feeling – we had walked all that way with no problems! We got back to the apartment at 15:30, took off our wet trousers and walking boots and collapsed on the sofa, making sounds that can only be made when absolutely exhausted.
Michael worked out that we walked 15.2km in total – the farthest we have ever walked.
Saturday 6th October
Today we got up early and decided to go to Hohenzollern Castle. We left at 11:15 and got to the castle at about 13:00. We parked up and walked up to the castle which was built on top of a mountain, literally.
From the road, it is easy to see where Disney got their inspiration! (I think so anyway!)
We decided not to take the shuttle bus from the car park but instead to walk up to the castle. After the walk we had just done, we were feeling confident and courageous. After about 2 minutes, I was exhausted and wishing we had got the bus…
We came to some some steps which we thought must be the final leg of the climb. But when we got to the top and went around the corner, an even longer, steeper flight of steps appeared. My legs were aching a lot by the time we finally got to the top and my mood was not as cheery as it was when we were at the bottom!
We paid €10 each for our entrance tickets and made our way into the castle grounds. We walked around the fortress first and looked out across the valley. The views were breathtaking – we used the panorama function on the camera quite a lot at this point.
At 14:00 the English guided tour was due to start. There were lots and lots of English-speaking tourists (lots of Americans but as far as we could hear, no other Brits! Hurrah!) and we were all crammed into the entrance hall of the castle waiting for the tour to start. By the time we got to the third room on the castle tour, we were right at the back of the group and couldn’t hear a thing the tour guide was saying so, we decided to join the German group behind us which was considerably smaller. We learnt a bit about the last Royal family members – Queen Victoria’s daughter married the German king. Her portrait was on the wall, as well as her son’s and the floor of her dressing room is made of five different types of wood.
I know you all feel enlightened now. See? Reading my blog is not a complete waste of time!
After seeing the castle inside, we went outside briefly before going into the ‘Schatzkammer’ which housed much of the Royal silverware and armoury. There was the most beautiful court dress in there as well but I couldn’t get a photograph of it because the German tour guide told us off for taking photos. We were told off as well in the castle by a really grumpy German man for taking photographs. I don’t understand how we can be charged €10 each, be shown a handful of rooms and not be allowed to take souvenir photographs. It isn’t like the rooms were all protected against UV light either. All of the curtains were drawn and all of the silverware was in glass cases with strong lighting inside to make it sparkle. I made sure the flash on my phone camera was off – so we continued to take photos whenever we were sure not to be shouted at by angry German people…
After seeing the Schatzkammer, we went to look in the gift shop which was disappointing (so I really was glad we had taken photos!) and then went back outside and had some lunch in the Biergarten. We had Bratwurst and ships, washed down with Apfelschorle (fizzy apple juice) and it was very yummy! By that time, it was very windy as the sun had gone behind the clouds. I got blown about by the wind a bit and Michael took a photo of it.
We walked back down to the car and set off for home at 16:00. We got back to the apartment at about 18:00.