by BavariaBen

This year's Texas heat was hanging on well into September so I was really ready for some cooler weather by then. No way better to do that than to spend a few weeks cruising some favorite areas of Germany. My Frau has come to terms with my annual jaunts across the pond and hardly a whimper could be heard when I started my shorttimer's calendar this year. I'm sure the fact that she was sitting pretty behind the wheel of her new sportscar had something to do with her attitude. I think she's having a mid-life crisis but who am I not to take advantage of it. :)

My original plan was strictly R & R (rest and relaxation) for two weeks in the Schwarzwald and take advantage of the free public transportation there. But eventually I decided to spend a few days on my own and then hook up with my buddy Larry (PStuyvsant) and ride with him during the last two weeks of his month long trip. He had reserved all of his accommodations via the internet and his itinerary was set well ahead of time. I then went about researching inexpensive accommodations in the towns where he planned to overnight, printed off my lists and would call the places a day or so before arriving. The only exception was my first stop. I selected Zell am Harmersbach (near Gengenbach) once again based on the town's ambiance and bus and train service. I found an inexpensive B&B just a short walk from the Bahnhof and the TI Office in Zell confirmed a reservation for me with the Hausfrau.

I searched for months checking every discount airfare website that I knew of trying to find a reasonable fare. In May I finally found a real bargain via 1-800-FLY-EUROPE. My direct flight (American Airlines) was on time leaving DFW and early arriving in Frankfurt. Their in-flight entertainment program is top notch with individual monitors on the seat backs. Lots of movies, TV shows, even three Rick Steves travel programs, and my favorite - video games (Solitare, 21, Poker, etc). If you have trouble sleeping on long flights - AA (777) makes it easy on you. I had an aisle seat and the only seat next to me was vacant and that made it even better. A great start to a vacation.

Days 1-2

Smooth flight - early arrival - easy customs and baggage claim process - easy walk to the trains. One way - 2d class ticket - Frankfurt Flughafen to Zell am Harmersbach - 50 ($70). A pleasant 1½ hr ride to Offenburg in the company of a nice Canadian lady on her way to a 9-day business conference in Freiburg (Hi Racquel - hope you had a good trip). After a change of trains in Offenburg I arrived in Zell early afternoon and walked a few blocks to my first lodging of the trip.

Haus Willmann - Zell am Harmersbach

Haus Willmann
Frau Rita Willmann
Franz-Disch Str. 11
Zell am Harmersbach
Tel - 7835/5479512
Fax - 7835/65214

Neuschwanstein replica in the Haus garden...

Frau Willmann has a very nice B&B with two (DZ) double rooms and a (EZ) single room for rent. I get the comfortable single with my own toilet and shower in the hall but within arm's length of my room door. Price for the EZ is 13.50 ($19) - the DZ go for 24 ($34). Very nice lounge room (which is also the Frühstückzimmer) with satellite TV and fridge. Both nights I had the room and TV to myself for several hours. CNN kept me abreast of the U.S. politics (whether I wanted to know or not). After sifting through 38 years of Gästebuch entries, Frau Willmann confirmed that I was the first American to overnight at her Haus. Always good to be the first at something...

During the middle ages Zell was at one time the smallest Free Imperial city in the Holy Roman empire. Easily accessible from the B33 roadway and by train. Zell has several nice churches, a small museum located in an historic old tower - the Storchenturm (Stork Tower)(circa 1330), several restaurants and bars, and a grocery market just on the edge of town.

Two restaurants and a café within easy walking distance from the Haus Willmann -

Gaststätte Krone
Hauptstr. 26
Zell am H.
Tel - 7835/5658
Excellent service - great pizza
- nice atmosphere

Café Alt-Zell
Hauptstr. 9
Zell am H.
Tel - 7835/3902
Good spot for early or
afternoon coffee & sweets

Gasthof Berger - just next door to Haus Daheim

Gasthof Berger
Oberentersbacherstr. 9
Zell am H.
Email -
Reasonable prices - Biergarten under large shade tree - friendly wait staff

Days 3-5

Two relaxing days to kick the effects of jet lag. And then a train to Donaueschingen where I met Larry at the Bahnhof. He had the long drive from Füssen that morning but was there within a half hour of my arrival. A short drive then via Titisee-Neustadt to the Jos valley. First stop was the Josenmühle where Larry had a reservation for three days. Beautiful house with two apartments and a double room which they rented to Larry for a single room price.

Birgit Faller
Jostal 96 w
Titisee-Neustadt (Jostal)
Tel - 7651/7812 ~ Fax - 7651/935108
Email -

After getting Larry settled in - we drove just down the road a few hundred meters to a place I called the day before from my list of possibilities in the area. I didn't realize until later that I had lucked out and found a farm (a small farm with only a few cows but listed as a Bauernhof nonetheless). The Broghammer is a very nice place - recently remodeled rooms - with a gracious elderly Hausfrau (no English). Excellent breakfast and several opportunities to practice my German.

Broghammer - Titisee-Neustadt (Jostal)

Jostal 64
Titisee-Neustadt (Jostal)
Tel - 7651/1634
Apartment and one double room

I have a nice sized double room with shower and toilet just across the hall - 17 ($24).

The Jostal has become one of my favorite valleys in the Black Forest. These are views surrounding the Broghammer farm.

A restaurant located an easy two minute walk from the Broghammer is the -

Jostalstraße 60
Tel - 7651/918160
Email -

A nice little restaurant we found just off the B500 between Titisee and the Jostal turn-off to the north (just north of Odenbach). Great prices and excellent waitresses - so much so that we had to make a return visit...

Mühlen-Café "Backhof Helmle"
Ödenbachstr. 3
Tel - 7652/91100

The next morning the weather got interesting with a fully iced automobile and an early snow in several of the local areas.

From the Jostal we took advantage of the free trains and visited Titisee, day tripped to Freiburg, and spent some time at our favorite Gasthaus - the Zum Sternen in Urach. Rudi was away for the day but we enjoyed the company of Tina and Maria and discussed our Tenth Anniversary Gathering which will take place next September.

Days 6-8

After three days in the Jos valley we drove 60 km north to the village of Gutach and spent three days in this area as well. Larry had reservations at the Rotbauernhof (next door to the new Sommerrodelbahn).

Familie Wöhrle
Singersbach 2
Tel - 7831/6929



I called ahead and ended up in a comfortable single room at the Haus Haas. This family complex is located on the side of a hill at the end of Ebersbach Strasse. The shower and toilet was located just outside my room door and for the price of 12 ($17) a day I had no complaints. Excellent breakfast in the Frühstückzimmer which had a Satellite TV (where I enjoyed several evenings just relaxing).

Haus Haas
Ebersbach 21
Tel - 7833/339

Two doubles - One single

Once again we were fortunate to be in Gutach for their annual Thanksgiving Day type proceedings (Erntedankfest). Many of the locals dress up in their traditional outfits and parade with the local band from main street over the bridge along Kirchstrasse to St. Peter's Church. They then have services and afterwards play music and pose for pictures.

The Bollenhut type costumes worn in these pictures are only worn in three local areas - Gutach, Wolfach and Hornberg. Each area or township in the Black Forest has it's own specific traditional costumes and hats. The Bollenhut has red balls for unmarried and black balls for married ladies. The Schäppel headgear (shiny beads of glass, metal, etc woven together) can be worn from the time of Communion til their wedding day - but only at special ceremonies.

Gutach is an excellent location for a homebase in the Schwarzwald from which you can daytrip to basically anywhere in the Black Forest, Triberg, Gengenbach, Schiltach, Baden-Baden, Europa Park, the Vogtsbauernhof and parts of France.



Schiltach - beautiful little town near Wolfach with lots of timber-framed buildings...

Black Forest colors in the Fall - Prima...

Two restaurants recommended in Gutach -


Gasthof Krone
Hauptstraße 48

Kalbsschnitzel - 9.50

Gasthof Hotel Linde
Familie Moser
Ramsbachweg 2


Days 9-10

The Schwarzwald was as good as it gets this year. Good weather - good Bier - cheap and free (two words I like) - inexpensive accommodations - free transportation on local trains and buses. But it's on to the north and the last week of vacation. Before heading to the Rhine Gorge area we opt for a little taste of the Odenwald. I knew the Fall colors would be even more evident there - and they were. We end up spending two days at a farm where we had previously stayed in the Mossau valley.

Familie Weitzel
Hauptstraße 71
Mossautal/Ober Mossau
Tel - 6061/2041
Email -

We shared a very nice, spotless apartment (Fewo - Ferienwohnung) comprised of two sleeprooms (doublerooms), a large living room area with satellite TV, a kitchenette with all necessary accessories, private bathroom and toilet, and a balcony with a nice view (screens on all windows). This is a very well maintained farm and the Haufrau is especially nice.

A well stocked fridge and a great view from the balcony

While in the Odenwald we visited Michelstadt, Beerfelden, and Miltenberg. All well worth a visit.

From the Odenwald we decided to move on to the Rhine Gorge area and spend our remaining time cruising the banks of the Rhine.

Days 11-16

Gasthaus Zur Alten Muehle - Bacharach-Steeg

Gasthaus "Zur Alten Mühle"
Familie Klaus Wiese
Blücherstraße 105
Tel - 6743/1443 ~ Fax - 6743/3131
Email -

This excellent little Gasthaus is located on the road (Blücherstraße) leading up the hill from Bacharach Altstadt (total distance from Rhine - about one kilometer). An easy walk back down to town but a little tougher coming up the hill. The Alten Mühle is just on the outskirts of the little village of Steeg. Herr Wiese is a very friendly host who also speaks a little English.

View from room

Bacharach - one of my favorite wine villages on the Rhine

No trip is complete without a visit to our favorite woodburner - Frances Geuss at her shop just across from the Hotel-Restaurant "Altkölnischer Hof" and the Altes Haus.

Holzbrandkunst Geuß Woodburn
Oberstraße 60
Bacharach (Rhine)
Tel & Fax - 6743/1655
Email -

We try to work in visits to castles we haven't visited before or haven't been to in a while. This year we decided on Burg Reichenstein above Trechtingshausen and Schloss Stolzenfels between Boppard and Koblenz. Reichenstein is a free roam castle that you can visit at leisure - no guides.

Stolzenfels is located on the west bank of the Rhine between Boppard and Koblenz. If driving you must park your vehicle in the town of Stolzenfels (next to the river) and walk up to the castle. The walk is similiar to what you encounter at Neuschwanstein in Bavaria and Hollenzollern near the Schwarzwald.

So many nice photo ops along the Rhine - especially if the weather is good - as it was this trip...

Burg Stahleck


Gutenfels - Der Pfalz

Burg Katz

October Fall colors on the Rhine

Two excellent budget restaurants visited this trip in Bacharach and Oberwesel...

Gaststätte Jägerstube
Marktstraße 3
Tel - 6743/1492

Good meals at great prices

Käseschnitzel - awesome...

Coffeebar & Bistro
Rathausstraße 13
Tel - 6744/714911

Sidewalk cafe just across from the Rathaus

Up early for a one hour drive to the airport. Easy check-in - on time - smooth flight aboard AA 777 - right aisle seat with two empty seats to my left - arrived DFW on time. Larry left FRA approximately the same time I did (aboard Lufthansa) but due to an in-flight medical emergency they were forced to land in Ireland and he arrived home at the final pit stop - six hours after me.

Another good trip... mostly resting and relaxing (lots of afternoon naps and reading time). Next year will be the Tenth Anniversary of Ben's Bauernhof and looks to be nice affair with a potential good sized turnout of Stammtisch members. Anyone who might be in the Schwarzwald in mid September - stop by and have a cold one with some veteran travelers who love Germany... Until then -

Auf Wiedersehen...

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