The twelve trips challenge

I first read about this challenge on On The Luce’s blog and immediately knew I wanted to join in. Only recently, I was saying to Jan that my goal for next year is to travel more, because I feel like I’ve hardly done anything this year. And what better way to start than by committing to taking one trip per month for the next 12 months?

Ireland viewed from a plane
Ireland viewed from a plane

The great thing about this challenge is that trip is defined as whatever you believe it to be. Three weeks travelling around China? A day spent hiking in some nearby woods? A visit to a part of your own town that you’ve never been to before? All trips! You can make them as big or as small as you like… personally, I’ll be going for a mixture of the two! I have neither the time nor the money to take a big trip every month…

Hiking in the woods in Baden-Baden? Definitely a trip!
Hiking in the woods in Baden-Baden? Definitely a trip!

The “Take 12 Trips” challenge has already started, so I’m going to make October the first month of mine and make our day out in Triberg trip number one.

Following that, Jan and I have plans to go to Austria and Switzerland at the beginning of November.
And beyond that? I’ll have to start having a think… do I want to count a visit home for Christmas as one of my trips, I wonder? And where will we end up going for our traditional New Year’s holiday? Stay tuned…

Wallfahrtskirche, Triberg
Wallfahrtskirche, Triberg

Who wants to join me in taking 12 trips? The challenge is the brainchild of Clare at Need Another Holiday… click on the name of her blog to find out more.

*Update: Since I am now on Twitter, you can follow my progress with this challenge both here on the blog and on Twitter, where I will be using the hashtag #Take12Trips*

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Triberg im Schwarzwald

Since the weather forecast for Saturday was good, I suggested to Jan that we should go somewhere. After all, this could be the last sunny weekend we experience this year. Cold days are coming! We decided on Triberg in the Black Forest.

Triberg features the highest accessible waterfalls in Germany – do not be fooled by all the advertising that labels them the highest! It’s a lie… the actual highest is the Röthbach Waterfall in Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, but getting to that one requires a boat ride then a hike! Triberg is slightly more accessible…

View from opposite the train station
View from opposite the train station

We took the Schwarzwaldbahn (Blackforest Train) to Triberg, arriving at 11:45 a.m., so after going on a hunt for a bank, our first stop was lunch! We chose to go to the Marktplatzstube, because it looked at least slightly less touristy than most of the other restaurants. It’s basically an Italian restaurant and the menu is fairly standard, but I thought the food was good. Jan had canneloni with lots of meat and cheese while I chose the salmon ravioli.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and autumn was in full swing… so many beautiful colours! Walking through town, I was so warm I actually took my coat off – although I put it back on again once we got to the waterfall! It’s much chillier there, what with the shade from the trees and the water acting like natural air conditioning. Here are a few photos of the town and our walk to the waterfall.

The Rathaus (Town Hall)
The Rathaus (Town Hall)

It costs €3.50 to visit the waterfalls, but I think that’s okay considering how well maintained the trail was. Where you pay the entrance fee, you can also buy small bags of peanuts to feed the squirrels – apparantly they like to hang around near the top of the waterfall and are fairly tame. We didn’t actually see any squirrels though, so we started feeding the many birds hovering around instead. We would place a peanut on the fence, step back and wait for a bird to notice. One of the many information boards informed us that these birds are called Nutcrackers, or Spotted Nutcrackers.

It took a lot of peanuts to get that second shot!

Once we’d finished looking at the waterfall and having fun with birds, we decided to take one of the other trails through the woods – the Kulturpfad (Culture Trail). Once we got away from the waterfall, there were a lot fewer people around. And we were soon rewarded with a sighting of a black squirrel to share some of our remaining nuts with!

Where the trail left the woods, we discovered a small lake with ducks and a church, the Wallfahrtskirche. There was also a children’s playground beside the lake. From there, we took the road back into town and stopped from some Neuer Wein (Young Wine – it’s wine that’s just starting to ferment) before heading back to the train station.

Triberg is quite a nice little town, but it is incredibly touristy (as you can tell by the entire street ouf souvenir/Black Forest cuckoo clock shops near the entrance to the waterfall!). Personally, I think we picked the right time of year to go, when it was still warm but not too crowded… it was actually possible to have my photo taken in front of the waterfall without a dozen other people being in the picture! And of course there’s the added bonus of all the autumn colours, which you wouldn’t have in July or August. I wouldn’t recommend going if the weather is bad, but on a sunny day the waterfall and culture trail make for a nice walk. There’s also a Black Forest Museum if you find yourself with a few extra hours to kill once you’ve had enough nature.

colourful tree