Enough with the cuckoos now

The week started for Iain with the dentist, severe tooth pain for a week so he bit the bullet with an emergency appointment at the dentist in Mengen. At this stage we have to say that the German reputation for efficiency is so well deserved: ring for an appointment at 8.30, in the dentist chair by 1045, out and sorted by 1115. The best bit though – cost a big fat €0 – just show a passport and E11 and off we go. 🙂

Despite Iain having a frozen face we took a hop to Sigmaringen, a small town just 20 minutes up the road.  The whole town is dominated by the castle perched on a chalk cliff that towers over 120 ft above the Danube. The current castle was rebuilt after a fire in 1893 (the towers being the only original part of the medieval castle that remain). For a short while the castle was the seat of the French Vichy Government, moved there by the Gestapo after the Allies liberated France. Now its a museum as the family owners (claimants to the Romanian throne) live in other castles in the area.

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Sigmaringen castle

As we are becoming used to the town was immaculate, shops, streets, pavements cafes – everything neat and beautifully kept.  We were both very much loving the town, stopped for a drink in a pavement cafe and a bottle of fizzy water costs us €5 – we weren’t so impressed. That aside though we are finding Germany very welcoming and easy, every village has a dedicated area for motorhomes to park, the prices (except water) seem cheaper than most Western European countries and the dreaded height barrier doesn’t seem much in evidence.

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Town hall – Sigmaringen

Our belief that everyone can speak English is as wrong as ever – whilst the youngsters seem fluent the older generations speak very little English – not too worry my German is astounding them daily. The local greeting here translates to something akin to “God’s blessings” it seems I have been greeting people saying “Great big God” instead! what is brilliant is no-one seems to care, people just nod, smile and say “hallo”.

We do find the Germans to be slightly reserved, they are not rude just maybe a little formal. Usually we find if we speak first they are happy to chat in response, one German lady told us it is often that they don’t feel they know enough English to converse fluently so in those cases feel it better to stay quiet, as opposed to us who just say it a little louder and hope the translation comes across.

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Sigmaringen town square

The Black Forest is of course famous for cuckoo clocks and I love them. So much so we had to go see the biggest cuckoo clock in the world in Schontach. There was one each end of the building, the first one you put in a euro and the giant figurine came out as the music jingled, the other end was an authentic clock with all the workings. Inside it was cuckoo heaven – clocks everywhere ranging from €20 to €900 – could have stood there all day listening to them (and watching goggle eyed as a couple purchase one for €850!).


One of several “largest cuckoo clocks in the world”

As we headed through Triberg it became apparent that you can have too much of a good thing, more and more cuckoo shops, and oddly enough another four of the “worlds biggest cuckoo clocks” within a 20 mile radius – so that’s five all awarded the title by Guinness Book of Records, no idea how that works?  Triberg itself held little of other interest, it does hold two of the only dedicated “men’s parking spaces” on earth but we made do with the main town car-park which was reasonably empty, enabling Iain to park without the need of a ‘special man space’ :).

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A chronomentrophobiac’s nightmare

We found Schiltach, a cosy little half timbered village, much more to our liking with a campsite right in the village; we squeezed down the entrance where various roof overhangs threatened to turn the van into a cabriolet. Down on the pitches we had a choice of three, after that there is a railway bridge right across the middle of the site – which is 5 cm lower than our roof – its a dangerous place for motorhomes for sure. There is one VW past the railway bridge – no idea how it got there and we are staying as long as it takes to see how the hell its getting back out :).

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Two bridges under 2.7 metres across the middle of the site

Schiltach is, for us, exactly what a Black Forest village should look like. The ‘German Half Timbered House Road’ (imaginatively named) runs through the village and the amount of car-parking available would seem to denote that its a busy tourist attraction. On a drizzly day though there were just a few hardy souls wandering around . There must be somewhere between 40-50 vernacular half timbered houses built anywhere between the 16th and 19th centuries. Tight cobble streets run up the hills between the houses with a medieval market place at the heart of town.

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Quintessential Black Forest

For us, quite simply stunning – we loved it so much we went in for a wander in the morning, stopped for coffee and cake then came back to the campsite. Late afternoon we went in a second time to walk the same route and make sure we had seen everything, we met up with an English couple who we first met last weekend at another town. They told us about a walk up a steep hill to the site of the former castle – we both agreed steeps hills to where something used to be were not for us.

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15 thoughts on “Enough with the cuckoos now

  1. I can’t believe you’re up to week 46. Love the van “selfie” in the widow of the chrono(whateveryoucalledit) nightmare shop. Iain certainly seems to like his foreign dentists – didn’t he visit one in Greece?


    • I did indeedy!
      However, the Greek one relieved me of €200 (cash only!), plus an extra week in site fees (4 appointments!) and caused more pain than I was in in the first place, doing a root canal extraction (which i dont think was neccarcery) and fitting a temporary crown – all because I’d lost a filling…. I wasnt even in pain. Would only do it Privately.
      Nice German dentist this week took out remnants of another broken filling, cured chronic toothache problem and refilled within 3/4hr ……. for an E111 and a passport. No cost.
      Methinks the Greek saw me coming lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. hi lovely stories and pics as usual wouldn’t mind betting that motor home at the bridge either lowered its roof or lowered its tyres to get under that space all the best to you both from BONNIE SCOTLAND XX


    • You are probably right, just doesn’t look possible but it must be how they did it. Hope you are feeling better now xx


  3. Never worked out if there’s a geographical line where ‘Guten Tag!’ becomes ‘Gruess Gott!’, But, your remark reminded me of a friend who travelled around Greece saying ‘Squid!’ to everyone she met!

    Liked by 1 person

    • they tell us here anywhere Bavaria and Austria its Gruess Gott – we heard the squid thing for Greece and were very careful 🙂


  4. Wow! chronomentrophobiac looks impressive!! As ever your trip looks fascinating, interesting and wholly enjoyable – and a great read too. What will we all do when you get home?


    • Its what we will do that worries me. Back working for me to save for the next adventure. Iain has a list of things that need repairing in the van – so far 23 jobs, that will keep him busy.


  5. There has to be something wrong with the UK system when you have to pay for dental treatment in your own Country (even NHS isn’t free), but you can get it free in other Countries ? Apart from that, great blog again and the photo’s take me back to places in Germany when I both lived and holidayed there 👍


    • amazing isn’t it, service was brilliant too. We hear so many moans about people coming to the UK for free health care – I would send them to Germany – proper free there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Glad the teeth are fixed; your post brings back memories of a school days trip to the black forest. Thought of working as travel guides when you get back???


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