Triberg didn’t excite us today in the way it had twelve months previously and so we didn’t stay for all of the hour and a half that the parking ticket entitled us to and we left the town and headed for nearby Shiltach.
Leaving the town we turned off the main road at Sankt Georgan and began to climb towards the town of Schramberg and then I had another disagreement with the lady navigator in the satnav. For some inexplicable reason she directed us off the obvious way and took along an alternative route along some very minor roads. There was no explanation for this so I strenuously questioned her competence, shouted at her and then turned her off and plotted my own route back to Schramberg and then to Shiltach where we arrived soon after.
We parked the car next to the river near the tanner’s quarter which is the oldest part of the town. Here the timber framed buildings were built at the side of the Kinzig in the eighteenth century and were used by the tanners in the production of especially high quality leather goods, which the town was once famous for.
Two thousand years ago the Romans passed through Schiltach and constructed a road that we followed now from the river to the Städle or Old Town where every building was half timbered with colourful façades and brightly painted wooden windows that created a fairy tale ambiance.
There was simply nothing here to spoil the picture book mood and character and in the pretty triangular market place at the heart of the town the fasnacht festival bunting hung high above the cobbled street and old town well, the merchant’s houses and the town hall with its striking Teutonic wall paintings. After walking around the town we found a little place at the side of the river Schiltach and stopped for refreshment in the immaculate café that was serving fresh cakes and treats.
It’s an astonishing fact but it is surprising just how many times on our travels that we bump into someone who turns out to come from within a few miles of Kim’s home town near Durham but this chance meeting I would never ever have predicted.
In the café we wanted a slice of cake but had some difficulty with the menu so Kim went to ask the man serving behind the counter to help. When she returned to the table she remarked on the man’s excellent English and then the cake arrived and we thought no more of it. After a while the man came across and in perfect English said that he guessed that we were from the north of England and then he and Kim narrowed it down from the north to Northumberland, to Newcastle and then Durham and they didn’t stop there either because by the time they had finished they had established that this man’s father had been born in the next village to Kim’s!
The sun was shining now and outside the café a crowd was beginning to congregate because at two o’clock there was an afternoon children’s fasnacht and more and more people in costumes were beginning to gather. There was half an hour to go so we had a second drink and then walked out into the pleasant sunshine and took up a position to watch.
This procession was nothing to compare with the one the previous night because generally speaking young children don’t ordinarily get drunk before parading. It was not just children however and there were a number of guilds taking part as well and there was an orderly and good natured march along one side of the river bank.
When the parade had passed by we dawdled back to the car through the market place and then we set off for our final destination. For the final time we took the road along the Kinzig valley crossing what is the longest river in the Black Forest several times and again passing through Hausach and Haslach towards Offenburg.