the travels: germany

whirlwind wurst tour '96

sept 26: armed with three maps and my well worn 'let's go - the budget guide to europe' we hit the road. a box full of provisions (pretzels, butter cookies, wurst and cheese sandwiches, apples, boiled eggs, drinks) sat safely behind the driver's seat just in case we were stranded for a month without food!! since berlin was hosting its annual marathon on saturday, we reversed the order of our drive and headed off to the black forest via a tiny corner of france.

it was a wonderful drive - the leaves just beginning to turn and the weather was surprisingly nice. the road twisted and turned which was a lot of fun for me but i think mom could have done without it. staying on small roads the whole way, we had lunch in freudenstadt, a city mom remembered from her youth but it was unrecognizable to her-she was there in winter and remembered it as just a square surrounded by little shops. there didn't seem to be too much to look at now and our attempts at locating a tourist office or any kind of information area were for naught. so we had a picnic lunch in the car and then took a little stroll through the center of town before having a cup of coffee in a little cafe.

after consulting my book, we decided to head for the town of triberg - home of the tallest waterfall in germany. tall it may be but it is rather a skinny little thing; maybe five meters across at its widest, it falls down in a series of tiers that total about 1000 meters with the most optimistic of measurements. there is a trail system that you can follow all through the town and the forest surrounding it but we settled for the short walk up to about the 3/4 point of the falls and then on to the church, st mary's of triberg. from the outside it is a large, plain, boxy building but inside is an incredibly intricate altar. turns out it is home to at least two officially recognized miracles and a number of unsubstantiated healings; it has been a holy place since the peasants used to worship in the forest at a statue of mary placed within a large knothole in a tree. just to improve my chances should i ever really need a miracle, i bought two candles with mary's picture on them.

sept 29: ....north again to potsdam and the incredible sanssouci park. four palaces, any number of little pavilions and fountain filled courtyards, gardens here and there and everywhere. it was beautiful, except for the one building they are currently repairing - it lies in pieces all over the ground and scaffolding covers what remains. we had cake and coffee before heading off to walk the kilometer or so from one end of the park to the other, passing things like the chinese pavilion and a windmill and ending up at a series of terraces housing fig trees. it turns out most of the buildings were built by kaiser friedrich to house his mistresses, adding weight to my new theory about european architecture - most of the really great buildings in europe are a direct result of marital infidelity. a series of caryatids ring the palace at this end and i decided that i was born out of my time as i am build exactly like these women, exactly!! and later, while passing the orangerie, an italian-like palace in the middle of the park, we saw a statue of an angel with her hair pulled back in a ponytail and that hair was just like mine!! all wild and out of control and everything. so i was feeling pretty regal - body of a kaiser's caryatid, hair of an angel.

we left the park and headed for berlin via some backroads. we finally found our hotel - it is smack dab right in the middle of the city and we luckily found a parking house around the corner. it is crazy here - late sunday night and there are people everywhere!! and i do mean everywhere!! a block away from the tiergarten. very cool.