Hiking report

Weekend trip to Offenburg

Since the beginning of the weekend trips, I have had suggestions for various places. One of the most suggested places was the Black Forest. After all, this is most likely the most famous natural area in Germany, and probably one of the most famous in the whole world.

To be honest, I wasn’t really fond of the idea at the beginning, mainly because there’s nothing extremely spectacular in the Black Forest for someone who comes from Japan, which has one of the highest forest concentration in the world. However, with the voices increasing steadily, I essentially gave in, and decided to offer a trip to Offenburg, which lies right next to Strasbourg.

Actually, even though all the other trips are not shown on my website anymore, there have been at least 3 more trips planned for the Black Forest so far. None of them took place, only because of corona. It’s hard to believe how much I got used to cancelling the whole plans.

Anyway, we came finally so far. There was a bit of a problem this time though: 2 people cancelled their participation a few days before the trip. As I didn’t know quite as many people as before, I couldn’t really find replacements. At least Hesho could make it for half the trip. In total, it was going to be a quite costly trip for me.

As always, our adventure started on the train to Offenburg. Our train was leaving at 5pm. It was supposed to arrive in Offenburg at 8:30pm. First of all, the German Railway got a brilliant excuse that allowed them to do anything after the floods of more than a week ago now. So already in Düsseldorf things were quite chaotic. Then came another problem, that there was allegedly a house burning on the way between Köln and Frankfurt, suspending the fast track in between. We were then meant to go along the Rhine, which was a super slow track.

It looked fortunate at the beginning, when we got the announcement that the fire was extinguished and we could take the fast track again. However, whatever the problem was, the train kept stopping all the time on the way. In the end, we anyway had a delay of more than 1h when we arrived at Mannheim, where we were meant to take a connecting train, which we of course missed.

It was close to 10pm when we arrived in Offenburg. There was a distance of 1h walk from the station to the hostel (which was actually not in Offenburg). At least I made sure that they would wait for us even after 10pm (usually the reception is open until 10pm in most of the hostels). Actually this time, I bought a kick scooter at Decathlon for 100€, thinking I could maybe simply cut transport cost. As there was practically no bus available, it totally made sense for me. It took around 30 min to reach the hostel instead of 60.

Indeed there was someone waiting for me at the reception. Except for the local accent that I really struggled with, check-in went quite smoothly. I didn’t know when I first made the reservation that this hostel was actually a castle, with a kind of platform we saw in Koblenz. It was nice to chill outside.

There was no possibility to buy drinks or anything nearby. We stayed outside for some time, but went to bed relatively early.

For some reason I was apparently extremely tired when I went to bed. I slept through till 7am. After breakfast (a normal one, although there was no boiled egg…), we started hiking directly from the hostel. It was around 8:45.

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There’s one thing I didn’t know about this area: there were massive vineyards everywhere. Already around the hostel we could see many of them, and they were surrounding us in many moments. In contrast to the vineyards along the Moselle, where they are essentially on the slope formed by the Moselle valley, the vineyards here were lying on hills, from the bottom to the top.

During the week, we were told all the time that the weather was going to be bad. Not only it didn’t rain, but also the weather was fairly good all the time. The weather forecast is anyway not quite reliable in Germany, but right now it was more like a random comment.

Towards the beginning there was a tower overlooking the surrounding area. Just as the name Black Forest suggests, this is a massive forest area here. Again, it’s nothing for someone who comes from Japan, but still it’s a quite impressive view.

We walked through the vineyards and reached Oberweiler, where we had a short break. Then walked farther to Schloß Staufenberg where we had our lunch break (which is the featured image you saw above). It was a super touristic spot, but the food was actually quite okay (if you like Flammkuchen).

We went down the mountain and had another break in the town of Durbach, where we had another break. There was no place for a break after this point, so every one of us got a huge piece of cake and went ahead.

Along the way, there was this one path called “Trimm-Dich-Pfad”, where you see exercises along the way. I’ve seen it before, but I didn’t know the name. We anyway did all of them.

It was pleasant to walk through the Black Forest, but to be honest, I’m still not sure if it’s really that different from Königswinter or Rurberg. Well maybe I’m saying this only because the train journey was overly complicated – otherwise maybe I could have purely enjoyed the stay there.

It was some time before 7 when we arrived at the hostel, meaning the whole hike took around 10 hours. That’s quite acceptable. And there was enough time for all of us to take a shower before dinner.

Well, there’s a bit of a stain for this weekend trip after this dinner: right after dinner, we went back to the hostel, where I bought one bottle of wine. Then came Hesho, who got 3 bottles. Then there was Giampaolo who got yet another 2 bottles. Besides some people were already drinking beer. That’s quite a quantity for a group of just 9 people. Then there was Khaled who came with his bluetooth box, which initiated a small party. We didn’t realize that it was so late until someone actually came out and complained some time before midnight. Right after that, we went to the forest and continued.

I’m not really sure if that was only my impression or real, but I had the feeling that everyone in the hostel was looking at us. Well, actually it might have been totally true, as I could hear every family complaining about “some youngsters” being super noisy the previous night. It was an extremely awkward and painful moment for me, because I was standing in line at the reception and all this was taking place right in front of me. The lady at the reception was very nice, but obviously not happy with what we caused. I could only apologise in that moment. After all, it’s so stupid that we didn’t go to the forest right from the beginning, where we could have made as much noise as we could have possibly wanted and no one would have been disturbed. A huge lesson for me to never forget. A really huge one.

While I was apologising, the others must have been moving towards the train station. We got a train from Offenburg Gesundheitszentrum (which was the nearest one from the hostel) at 10am to go to the main station, then we changed to the train to Strasbourg, which was the goal of the day. I’m glad that Inna suggested Strasbourg because we all didn’t have enough energy for another hike anymore.

France is a really beautiful country. It was the first time for me after the beginning of the corona crisis that I visited this country, and it’s really nice to be there every now and then. We walked through the city from one side to the other (anyway it’s not such a large city), taking photos and doing other touristic stuff.

3 hours later, we took a train back to Offenburg, where we had lunch, and then by ICE we went back to Düsseldorf. This time the delay was not quite as exaggerated as the outward journey. In Mannheim though, where we changed the trains, there came an announcement on the train, that the train was too overcrowded and it couldn’t start moving. Apparently some passengers were forced to get out of the train. Since we had a seat reservation we could stay there. That’s really the German Railway.

This was the story of our first trip to the Black Forest, much requested by a lot of people. You might already have got the right impression from my text, but I have to say I still have no idea why people want to go there so much. Yes, it’s an impressive area, but for the fact that it is so much more complicated to get there than for example the Eifel, I don’t really think it’s worthwhile.

This being said, it might have been stained by the fact that the train journey was too complicated, and also there was this problem with partying until late evening. Especially because otherwise there’s hardly anything that went wrong this time. So maybe I should think about solving these problems before really making a final assessment of the Black Forest.

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