From Baden-Baden, we drove down south, deeper into the Black Forest (Schwarzwald).
We stopped for the night in Hornberg, a tiny little town deep in the forest. We stayed with a lovely Airbnb host, who told us all about his little town. Much history for such a small place – where shall we start? With the larger than life knight who lived in a castle on the hill in the 1500’s? No, let’s start with the Hornberger shooting affair.
Have you heard the phrase “Es geht aus wie das Hornberger Schiessen!” No? Well, it is a fairly well-known German proverbial saying, and it translates as “it will turn out like the shooting at Hornberg!”
What on earth does that mean, you ask? Well, as far as we could ascertain from using the google translate scanner function on the back of a pub menu, there’s one heck of a story that the town re-enacts every year. Or, you can visit, follow this handcarved map and walk the Hornberg Shooting Trail up to the castle to learn the story.
Or, I could tell you. But you should still visit. It’s a wacky little place.
One evening, in 1564, the night watchman eavesdropped on the mayor, and learned of the Duke’s impending visit. Off he went to the tavern, and soon everyone in town knew, and were incredibly excited. The Mayor decided that they should greet the Duke, and called a meeting to decide how they would do it.
The Captain of the Foot Soldiers decided he should be greeted by gunfire salute, so the town set up for his arrival. The night watchman was in charge of notifying everyone when to start the salute.
A cloud of dust was seen in the distance, and so they started firing the canons. Soon after, the watchman realised it was nothing but a herd of cattle. After many insults, the watchman returned to his post, but not before another beer. As the sign in town says: ‘Reload the canons, a quick beer and everyone back in their positions!’
Maybe the free-flowing beer was to blame, but things just got worse for the people of Hornberg. Next up a traders cart was mistaken, and greeted by a gunfire salute. Upon realising their mistake, the townspeople bribed the trader so he would not reveal the embarrassment to neighbouring towns. Afterwards, a stagecoach was saluted with what was the last of the gunpowder.
And of course, next arrived the Duke. So what did the locals do? They yelled ‘Piff-Paff!’ at him when he entered, causing him to think they were making a mockery of him.
And thus, whenever anything is heralded with a load of pomp, or nothing ever becomes of something, the Germans refer to the failures of the drunk watchman from this little town deep in the forest.
So, then, what was there for us to do, besides get drunk also? Off we went to the pub, where we learnt this story, and ordered some of their local beer. Yes, there’s a brewery there. I feel as if there’s a brewery everywhere in Germany, but the locals were very upset we had not heard of Ketterer before. I ordered their Hornberger Schuss, as it was named after the town, and discovered after that I’d ordered a beer brewed with cola. Odd. But good, I think?
We went back to our room, sleeping with the window open where we could hear the water rushing down the stream outside. We woke up in the morning with this view of the famous Black Forest railway.
Up, up and away from Hornberg, and on to see the largest cuckoo clock in the world. Because the Black Forest is the home of the cuckoo clock, of course!
We visited a few, and also a tearoom that looked straight out of the 1970’s, in the town where Black Forest cake was said to have been invented.
I think I saw one too many cuckoo clocks today.
We found a store with Black Forest liquors, and picked up some Black Forest specialties – ham, butter, local cheese and bread.
We head over to Triberg, where we hiked up to see the waterfalls. We stopped in the forest for a picnic with leftover pain d’epices from Strasbourg.
We finished up the day driving down to Lake Titisee, one of the biggest lakes in the region. A holiday destination, we couldn’t help but laugh when we found this sign next to the lake.
NO FUN ALLOWED!
So after grabbing an ice cream sundae on the shores of the lake (ice-cream is a REALLY big deal in Germany. There are shops literally everywhere. And everyone offers you ice-cream. I mean, I’m not complaining, but I’ve never met a country more obsessed with one food item – except for the Swedes with coffee), we head out into the forest again to do some illegal picnicking with a Linzer Torte we’d picked up back in Baden-Baden.