Tryst with Triberg

With its verdant forests and breathtaking waterfalls, awe-inspiring cuckoo clocks and soul-stirring scenery, Triberg in Black Forest, Germany is no less than a fairy tale

Triberg Falls

The very mention of Black Forest evokes happy memories — of giant waterfalls, cakes, cuckoo clocks, and of course, the Brothers Grimm whose fairy tales we have grown up reading. So, when in Germany, when I had the opportunity to visit the region, I considered myself fortunate. One fine morning, I made a quick trip to the quaint town of Triberg im Schwarzwald, in the Schwarzwald-Baar district of Black Forest.

Awestruck

No sooner did I land in the town, I realised I was in for a treat. Teeming with tiny cafes, restaurants, and shops selling cuckoo clocks, the place exuded an unmistakable charm that was hard to miss. Walking around town on its quiet roads, taking in the sights, I proceeded towards the famous landmark of the Black Forest region, Triberg Falls.

I had heard so much about it that I felt my Triberg exploration should begin with it. One of the highest waterfalls in Germany with a descent of 163 metres, this seven-tiered waterfall is fed by the Gutach river. As I followed the road signs and reached the place, my jaw dropped.

Such was the beauty of the water cascading down the rocks. Spending some time photographing the cascades, I lost myself exploring some hiking trails around. The thick vegetation of the enigmatic Black Forest was ideal to indulge in a silent commune with nature, I realised.

Making my way back to the town, I had my itinerary set. After a quick bite at one of the many cafes dotting the town, I headed towards the Triberg Black Forest Museum. The museum introduced me to life in the region and boasted of a collection that was awe-inspiring.

Black forest cake
Black forest cake

From Black Forest clocks from four different centuries and peasant costumes to typical crafts distinct to the area and a model of the mining gallery, the museum showcased the distinct nature of the Black Forest region. The high point of my museum visit was, however, the mechanical orchestra with its flute clocks, dancing figures, and life-sized figures playing musical instruments like the accordion and percussion.

Clock calling

As I familiarised myself with the rich history of the Black Forest region, I remembered I still had to visit the world’s largest cuckoo clock. I had saved the best for the last. I headed towards Schonach, three kilometres away from Triberg. I couldn’t wait to see it as cuckoo clocks are almost synonymous with the Black Forest region.

Though it’s unclear as to who invented the cuckoo clock or where it was first made, Black Forest claims the distinction of making it as far back as the 1600s.

The clocks, however, gained popularity only in the 1700s. What more, authentic cuckoo clocks are still hand-produced in the region today, making it one of the most popular souvenirs for tourists from across the world. 

The world's largest cuckoo clock in Triberg
The world's largest cuckoo clock in Triberg

Lost in my thoughts, I almost missed the giant cuckoo clock as it is between the houses. A part of Eble Uhren-Park, the giant cuckoo clock was a fun place as I could walk inside it and see the mechanism involved in the operation of the cuckoo clock.

The guide, who took me around, explained that this giant cuckoo clock was built in the year 1994 by two local clockmakers, Ewald and Ralf Eble. The duo employed their mastery in the art of clockmaking and built it over five years. It is 60 times the size of a traditional clock, and stands at 15-feet tall and weighs 6 tons. The cuckoo itself weighs 330 pounds, and the swinging pendulum is 26-feet long, I was told. No wonder, it has earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest cuckoo clock since 1997. 

The most interesting part of this giant cuckoo clock is that it comes to life once every 30 minutes, when the cuckoo comes out and sings. A major draw with visitors. When the clock was about to strike 30, I followed the crowd to the courtyard. With childlike wonder, I enjoyed the show of the cuckoo singing. My day was made. 

It was now time for me to indulge in some Black Forest culinary treats, including the drool-worthy black forest cake. As I sunk my teeth into the melt-in-the-mouth cake, I wondered if ‘heavenly’ was the word for it. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

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