I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
Exploring Southern Germany
You can see some photos in this article of some beautiful areas in the Black Forest region of Germany that I experienced when I traveled there many years ago with my long-time girlfriend who lives in that country.
We became acquainted decades ago when she worked as an operating room nurse over here in Houston, Texas, where I live and where I also worked at the time. Even after she returned to Germany, we kept in touch and still do to this very day which is multiple decades later.
My friend was trying her best to show me some of the highlights of this beautiful portion of southern Germany, and I enjoyed every moment of it.
Black Forest of Germany
The southern Black Forest is also known as the Schwarzwald and is a magnificent part of Germany. Elevations in this part of Germany rise to almost 1500 meters, and glaciers have carved out some lakes in this region. The two largest lakes are the Titisee and the Schluchsee.
The area is full of hills and valleys, and much of the locale is dense with trees. When viewing it from any distance, the trees have the appearance of the color black, thus the name of the Black Forest.
Flat-topped hills devoid of trees offer pasture land for grazing cows in some areas, but the vast majority of the Black Forest, a good 2/3rd's of it, is filled with conifer types of trees.
The Black Forest / Schwarzwald is a much-visited area by visitors, not only for its natural beauty but also as a hiking and skiing destination. Besides, it has a concentration of many health spas in the region.
Village of Schluchsee and Views from Schluchsee Lake
In the village of Schluchsee, my traveling companion and I decided it would be fun to take a boat ride out on the lake.
After renting one, for some reason, the steering mechanism did not want to cooperate, and we kept turning in circles. After that baffling start and getting back to the pier, a friendly young 14-year-old guide from former East Germany (specifically Sachsen-Anhalt) volunteered to be our boat captain and took us out for a spin around portions of the lake.
As the pictures I took will show, there seemed to be some looming storm clouds, and I was afraid that we might become drenched. But it all ended well, and after returning to shore, the clouds dissipated. At our next stop, which was St. Blasien, the day was once again bright and sunny.
The Schluchsee lake is a reservoir and the highest one per elevation in Germany at 952 meters. It is terrific for boating and offers scenic views for hikers in the area. Swimmers would find the waters cool but undoubtedly very refreshing.
Germans truly like Mother Nature from what I have observed, and this region of Germany showers them with an abundance of her beautiful scenery.
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The town of St. Blasien is in the Black Forest area of Germany, which runs north and south along Germany's southwestern part of the country. The width of the Black Forest is wider in the southern end compared to the north. St. Blasien is in one of those southern valleys.
My friend and I enjoyed walking around the beautiful town of St. Blasien. Tulips were blooming in a park, and the sound of splashing water as it tumbled over rocks flowing through a part of the town added to our enjoyment.
Scenery in the Town of St. Blasien, Germany
Dom St. Blasius
As one approaches this town, the large dome of a cathedral dominates the landscape compared to the shops and houses. It is the third-largest dome in all of Europe, and it is called Dom St. Blasius or St. Blaise's Cathedral.
This dramatic building dating back to the Middle Ages took on its present shape after a fire destroyed the Benedictine Abbey that had stood in its place. The church is now round and done in a Baroque architectural style. In the adjoining buildings, there is now a Jesuit college.
Sunlight was bathing the buildings and glistening off of the domed roof of the cathedral. We walked into St. Blaise's Cathedral and felt small as we gazed up at the painted ceiling on the underside of the round dome, which is 63 meters high. It is a foot wider in circumference, and numerous columns are decorative, plus also support this magnificent domed structure.
After spending some time gazing at the wonder of this church, my friend and I each had an iced coffee while sitting outside with the dramatic backdrop of the Dom St. Blasius. Not a single Starbucks coffee house in Houston, Texas, nor anyone that I have ever seen anywhere for that matter can top the ambiance of sitting in that plaza on that day enjoying that iced coffee libation.
Dom St. Blasius Photos
St. Blasien (and some surrounding areas)
Roofing Styles in This Region
The photo of the house below shows a typical private housing design in the Black Forest area. Due to heavy snow in the winter, the sloped and overhanging roofs make it harder for vast amounts of snow to accumulate. Often built upon a stone foundation, there are numerous small windows under the roof overhang on these houses made primarily of wood.
Forestry and woodworking are important industries, as well as clock making. Who hasn't heard of the famed cuckoo clocks that come from Germany?
My friend and I continued our journey to see more of the Black Forest with her brother as our guide.
At the spa town of Todtmoss, I found out that people make pilgrimages to the church pictured below, in which people pray for children who get pregnant. Perhaps they meant to say that prayers are in the hopes of dissuading youngsters from getting pregnant?
In any case, it is another beautiful setting surrounded by dark forested hills.
Not far from the city of Freiburg (written about in another post) are the highest areas in the Black Forest. Feldberg is the highest mountain locale at an elevation of 1493 meters, and at this point, the scenery became dramatically different.
The dark forested hills gave way to meadows filled with blooming flowers, and the trees became sparse to almost nonexistent. Rolling hills filled with dandelions almost reminded me of that scene in the Sound of Music where Julie Andrews turns around with arms outspread and starts singing: "The hills are alive, with the sound of music..."
This area near Feldberg and located to the south of Freiburg sits at an elevation of 4,213 feet (or 1284 meters) above sea level.
Tourists and residents alike frequent this area at all times of the year and engage in hiking, mountain biking, or taking the gondola lift to the top of the mountain. When the snow covers the hills, it is also a terrific skiing area.
This video shows the cable car ride to the top of Schauinsland, plus a bit of Freiburg.
The landscapes in the southern parts of Germany, some photos and videos of which are in this post, are spectacularly beautiful. They are full of the natural beauty of clear mountain air, rolling hills and valleys, and glacially sculpted lakes. Having my long-time friend as a personal tour guide and interpreter just topped off the experience, making it an even greater pleasure.
"It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit."
— Robert Louis Stevenson
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peggy Woods