AND FOLLOW ON TO IS EN BISSIGNY
19.07.2014 - 23.07.2014 24 °C
BLACK FOREST HERE WE COME
We woke about 3 this morning and finally I managed to get the blogs and photos for the past 3 visits online! Now on the motorway to Friedenweiler in Black Forest. First 75 miles were pretty ok, feeling chuffed at watching the queues going in the other direction. However, now stuck on tickover in vast queue of traffic. 28c outside, thank goodness for air conditioning. Forgot that it isn't just us on holiday, and being Saturday in middle of July, when of all people we should know better and stay off roads, here we are stuck! Alarmed faces on driver behind as I clambered around, as B was edging forward, to get the computer. They obviously hadn't realised we have wheel on wrong side.... Another thing to cater for, as well as no travelling without booking ahead, now no travelling on Saturdays.
Addendum: to Salzburg, for beer drinkers, where we parked at Mulln, there is the Augustine Brewery and they were offering free parking if you bought so many beers, its beer garden was absolutley jammed, as you can imagine. Also there is a Park and RIde at Messe which is off the Munich direction of the A1 motorway, think that it would have saved us a lot of time in traffic!
Second Addendum: B said that in the lake, which was so clear, and which 3 different places we were told that the water is actually drinkable, he could not sink easily, as he tried to dive down and explore the bottom, though it proved to be very clear of anything interesting, other than pebbles and a bit of weed. No fish around the swimming area at all. Unlike the lake at Tata, where there were loads of carp fighting the ducks off for bits of bread and ice cream cones which people threw in!
Arrived in Rotenbach about 5.30 p.m. Long drive but could have been worse! In the latter part of the journey the route took us right alongside Lake Konstanz, very busy place and it must have taken about 30 minutes to get from one end to t'other. Our Bierhaus Guesthouse does not brew its own beer anymore Bob! It is another one of those funny places where you never see anyone all evening, but in the morning every table is packed.
Today we went out for a Black Forest wander. About 15 miles away is a lake called Schluchsee, not a huge one but certainly fair size with sailing, windsurfing and so on going on. Another lake Titisee we haven't yet seen, and when we came up behind a mammoth tailback headed in that direction we gave up. Shall try tomorrow, maybe it was the weekenders going there. Then the weather turned wet so we didn't get out the car much, but enjoyed the scenery and found a super coffee and cake place at Lenzkirch. Oh, what a place to pig out in! There were about a dozen gateaux, all looking equally delicious and we are only here 3 days. THink shall have to go back for breakfast and tea! Tucked into huge slice of the inevitable Black Forest Gateau whilst poor B had a cheese and ham roll (did give him a fork full or two), honest!
Back to base to watch Grand Prix and hoping rain will ease off so we can go out and have another wander around before evening. Instead of easing off, we had another wonderful thunderstorm, waterfall rain, but warm = 18c then back up to 22c.
Tonight went out for a steak at the Santa Fe Steakhouse, Roger, you would have appreciated it, warm meat, seared well and bluuuuue inside. Good chips too and a salad bar. Think we might be tempted there again tomorrow, but depends on how the weather goes. May go to Lake Titisee and have a swim if weather good.
MONDAY 21ST JULY
Instead of going down to Titisee we decided to go exploring the upper Black Forest villages, some of the lanes were only about a car's width, but were surfaces beautifully. Would that Cornwall Council did the same for us! The signs were really descriptive, many showing cycling and riding trails off between the meadows and into the woods. Motorbiker country too, though we didn't meet any, with sweeping bends this way and that, not corkscrew style though.
Triberg, pronounced Treeberg, was a tourist hotspot. There is a super waterfall there coming off the higher ground from the convergence of two rivers, giving a spectacular display. Luckily for Triberg, this feature is right in town, so it only takes the tourist 5 minutes to walk up to see the bottom of the falls. From there they have laid nature trails, both along the river and into the woods and up the mountainside if you fancy going to look over the falls higher up.
Time for another piece of cake and coffee and a quick sneak into a few gift shops. On return to base we were told they were shut Monday night for food so we had to go off to the next village along and we found another good eaterie. Fellow diners were two parties of Americans. Some drama going on between management and customer, followed by altercation between wife and owner, we were beginning to expect appearance of Basil Fawlty, but after a storm out and back in the kitchen it all calmed down. Thankfully the cooking seemed to be proceeding all the while and we enjoyed huge pizzas whilst the drama unfolded!
TUESDAY 22ND JULY
Yesterday we discovered why there is so much fast traffic, and heavy lorries, past the guesthouse in this seemingly quiet village. Owing to a realignment of the main road the road through the village provides a quicker access to the new sliproad! The swoosh of double trailer lorries zooming through on otherwise traffic freeish road is very noticeable. The village, whether in retaliation or competition or not, has a church clock which plays a long peal before chiming the hour from 6 a.m. , no lie ins!
Another fine day! Or rather not, monsoon season seems to be upon us, the deluge brought on heavy mist too which made driving all the more difficult. In Freiburg, where we had planned to take the chairlift as it is said to show off the city and its surroundings, not only was the weather bad, but there was heavy traffic and it took 30 minutes to get through one tunnel alone! At least it was dry in the tunnel....
IS-EN-BISSIGNY, HAUTE MARNE
Our 2.5 hour trip turned into another 5 hour one. Places we meant to visit en route were shrouded in mist, so another time perhaps to visit Les Grand Ballon and Comte, home of a favourite cheese. Is-en-Bissigny is a small village tucked away in the Haute Marne. The couple here have been into B&B for 5 years, they are also both qualified masseurs and provide bio-pharma consultations. They have two children a girl of 16 who is currently on holiday in Belgium and a boy of 7 who is away with relatives, and an adorable Jack Russell, called India. She is only 17 months but very chilled.
We have eaten in both nights here, Jean is a great cook (must be something in the name!) as well as growing all their veg. With pudding tonight which was lemon meringue pie, he served courgette jam. Fascinating flavour and the courgette was still crispish. Will have a go at it when I get back. Another of his specialities is rhubarb, banana and gooseberry jam.
Today we went to see the Cutlery Museum at Nogent. Nogent used to be the centre of knife production in France. The Museum displayed intricate knives and scissors from the 17th, 18th and 19th Century. The delicacy of the scissors, the needlework tools, the manicure sets were gorgeous. The video explaining some of the cutlers work showed why this industry is fast disappearing here, it takes years to be skilled, and you need to be so accurate, there is danger in the stone wheels sheering off, in cutting horn or other materials to shape the handles and in forging the steel for the blades and other tools. The finished work is wonderful and it will be so sad if such skills are lost forever. The custodian said that apprentices do not want to take on the long process of getting the skills, the EU wants to enforce H&S and the customers no longer want to pay for the workmanship......
Following that we went to Langres, which has a huge walled citadel, along the lines of St. Malo and Carcassonne. A mixture of really old buildings, some renovated and many undergoing work at the moment. A living town within the walls. Cathedral, museum, tower, shops, cafes and so on. The ramparts are cyclable or you can take the tourist train and walk it, all 3.5km. In many places now you can get e-bikes as well to hire.
The heat is building again, hard to believe that this area of France also gets the -27c winter freeze. By the looks of the wind turbines there is also quite a lot of wind, though, thankfully they don't seem to have gone in wholesale for wind turbines here. The biggest wind farm by far was the one across the border from Hungary into Austria, have never seen one that extended so far.
Belgian family at dinner last evening, they have been touring the area and were on their way home. We had a good laugh when we showed them pictures of Cornwall and Newquay, they were surprised we got sun at all! This seems to be the conception abroad, that we are always in the thick of the rain and gloom. Perhaps we overdo our fixation?