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Making life a holiday with interesting vacation and adventure ideas.

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Birth of the Danube and the Pink Elephants 

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Danube and said that I intended writing about the many opportunities to be found for special interest and activity holidays along its banks, as it flows across Europe to the Romanian coast on the Black Sea. So, like the river, let us begin.

The source of the Danube is to be found at Donaueschingen, in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald). A picturesque town with pretty Art Nouveau houses and a royal palace. Every autumn fans of contemporary music enjoy the Donaueschingen Music Festival.

My own introduction to the Black Forest was in the company of two Frenchmen who introduced me to its culinary delights; www.germany-tourism.de have thoughtfully published culinary routes for those with a special interest in food. They state that "Somehow all roads lead to the pleasures which are essential for body and soul - the Badische Weinstrasse (Baden Wine Route), the Asparagus Route and whatever all the others are called."

From what I remember, many years ago, our meal at a privately run restaurant high in the forest, was quite exceptional. Excellent beer made from crystal clear mineral water and fine wines washed down freshly caught river trout. Dessert consisted of Black Forest gateau, a chocolate cake base, with cherries, cream and a good dash of Black Forest cherry schnapps. On medical advice to aid the digestion, more of the potent Kirschwasser (cherry schnapps) concluded the evening and we bade farewell to our convivial hosts. At this point things became a little hazy and as I told my French friends the next day, I slept very well until I was woken by the éléphants roses walking across my room!
Beware the Kirschwasser, Cherry water it is not.
Schwarzwald meadow by Christian Pop
The Black Forest is one of the most famous and fascinating unspoiled landscapes of Europe. Its valleys and hills are ideal for hiking , mountain biking, kayaking, surfing and winter cross-country skiing. Many tour operators organise both guided and non-guided tours in the area.

Situated in the south-west of Germany, it enjoys good road, rail and air connections. The nearest international airports are the EuroAirport (Basle- Mulhouse- Freiburg), which has good bus connections to Freiburg, and also Stuttgart airport.

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