Just got back from an amazing road trip that we had waited weeks for. Belgium was really starting to wear on us, and we had plenty of perfect excuses to leave town: traveling to Baden-Baden, seeing our favorite opera singer, and getting out of the city.
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B-B is now a top favorite of mine… it’s about 6 hours driving out of Brussels, through Luxembourg and France. It’s just at the start of the Black Forest, and R and I have always talked about visiting. We went to Stuttgart once, but never had time to see B-B. So we finally made the time…
The streets are so clean, it’s not that crowded, and is one of the most perfect small towns you could imagine visiting. Shops, restaurants, cool atmosphere, warm people, you name it… I’m starting to think Germany may end up being a place we move to, we were really that impressed. It’s a huge change [relief] coming from Brussels.
Smart Car, Smart Parking
Getting there was pretty wicked, it’s a few minutes driving up a mountain just on the edge of town. Reminded us a lot of the Pacific Northwest driving along the logging trails. It was whoopin our 4-cylinder car’s ass pretty good 🙂
The hotel is literally a castle. It’s family owned, and the original structure (ruins mostly) was built probably 500 years ago, and it sits right on the edge of these massive cliffs overlooking the whole region. Damn impressive how they ever got the thing built. The family descendants operate a hotel/restaurant, and were incredible hosts.
Altes Schloss means: Old Castle (or Old Keys..)
The hotel manager gave me keys to the gates of the castle. It came with our room key.. the guy said it was for the “outside” doors but I didn’t realize at the time he was entrusting me with the keys to the whole place. The second night we came home late, there was no one around, so we had to find our way in the dark, opening all these damn gates to get to the hotel… but I had to make sure to lock them behind me. We were the only ones staying in the hotel, so literally it was just R and I responsible for locking the place up!! lol…
They had a delicious German-style breakfast ready for us at 9am sharp every day. They were super friendly, the hotel was kept up really well, very clean, and we felt like we were at home.
They have old paintings and photos of their family tree all over, and some old drawings of the castle from hundreds of years ago.
Hey….. [Fonzi voice]
I had a couple beers over dinner, this beer here is (was) a Ulmer hefeweizen dunkel. Amazing flavor, I forgot how much I used to love hefe’s. This washed down the wild boar, spätzle, and cabbage nicely.
R’s HALF order of goulash! lol…
Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Anna Netrebko
One of the main reasons we came down was to see Anna Netrebko perform at the Festspielhaus, playing Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. We saw Anna once in San Francisco, and we were really really lucky to get tickets to see her. She starred with her husband, Erwin Schrott, alongside an all-star cast.
How many bald men can you count?
The house was packed, sold-out show; there were only three seats left when we booked it, so we got hella lucky. I think around 1500 people, all very elegantly dressed (fancy fancy). The house had four floors of balconies (you can tell which one we sat at by the photo… started losing oxygen up there!). But even up in the nose-bleeds, the sound was perfect.
After they turned the lights back on in the house, the cast came back out for a final bow and waves- We were waving like a couple of teenage girls, she saw us and waved right back looking at us. She’s fourth from the right (front row) in this photo here. That definitely made our night.
Black Forest hike and the Altes Schloss ruins
One of the best parts about the trip was being completely out of the city and up in the mountains. It was such a relief to get some fresh air and do some hiking; we used to always go on long hikes and walks where we lived before, so it was fun to get out and do it again.
We felt like kids running around the ruins of the castle at our hotel. It did get a bit creepy at times cause we were the only people up there, I imagine it gets busier in the summer time. But we had the whole place basically to ourselves. The castle itself is at the start of the trails, and from there it was a steep climb to the top.
Can you see R down there??
We stumbled upon this cool viewpoint overlooking the whole city and the mountains surrounding it.