Beer Fairies in the Black Forest

After driving into Stuttgart on Saturday to snag a deal on an iron and hair dryers from a departing military family, we were craving time in nature. It was a hot, hot weekend and our hope was that the canopy of the trees in the Black Forest would provide a nice respite from the blazing sun. So we packed up the kids and the dog and headed out west to the village of Calw. From there, we were searching for a hike my new friend Helen had told us about – Xanderklinge. It’s on the Northern edge of the Black Forest and features three waterfalls.

Look, if you’re searching for all the details, this ain’t that kind of blog. We fly by the seat of our pants a bit here, so we just Googled Xanderklinge. That got us to the parking lot. #greatsuccess

Luckily, we bumped into a departing hiker who had a map of the trails. That helped a lot.

We walked for a bit on a narrow path surrounded by ferns. The trees towered above us, and in the shade, we were hit by periodic blasts of cool air. The trail was lined with wildflowers, like this gorgeous specimen.

It was Phoebe’s first time walking in the woods off-leash. And you know what? It made the hike much more enjoyable, for us and for her! She has this habit of trying to check in on all of us that has her zigging and zagging. Now she could zig and zag to her heart’s content and not drag us along with her. 😉

(By the way, it’s totally acceptable to walk your dog in the woods off-leash – you’re just supposed to put them back on when people approach.)

Eventually, we heard voices and saw a path leading down to a waterfall. That’s where we encountered this incredible contraption. It was a stream-fed cooler filled with water and beer. Only a few bottles were left, and there was a donation box where you could toss in a few coins in exchange for a cool drink.

We got two of the last beers from a Black Forest brewery called Alpirsbacher Klosterbraeu and joked that there were beer fairies in these woods. Seriously! Can you imagine people trucking out the empty bottles and hauling in the filled ones as a community service?

I don’t know that we truly “completed” the hike. It was a loop but there were some questions around how much more uphill the path would go and would we ever really get to the end, so after the waterfall, we hiked out the way we came in. But hey – the goal was to get out into the woods and we did it, so mission accomplished!

Afterward, we stopped at this delightful biergarten for refreshing drinks. Phoebe was practically sleeping in her water bowl at this point.

Gasthaus Krabba-Nescht

All in all, it was a bit of fun in an otherwise harrowing weekend filled with an unusual number of hilarious mistakes!

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