Ever since I bought my sister a cuckoo clock when I was leaving Austria in 2004, I regretted not getting one for myself. So when we planned our trip to include Bavaria, I knew it was the one souvenir I had to have. One of the factors in my disappointing day along the Romantic Road was that it was Sunday and all of the shops were closed, so I was completely out of luck in my hunt for a cuckoo clock (and for several gifts I was hoping to find for my loved ones). The following day was pretty open. We just had to be in Strasbourg that night. Originally, I had hoped to visit some more of the towns along Lake Konstanz and in the countryside on the way to Freiburg (which I had heard was very pretty) and then up through Colmar to Strasbourg.
But since I couldn’t find a cuckoo clock along the Romantic Road, I knew there was one place to go where I was sure to find one – Triberg im Schwarzwald, home of the world’s largest cuckoo clock. (I actually just learned about that on Wikipedia, and now I am totally devastated that I didn’t see this landmark for myself. How could I miss it?!)
We did linger a little bit near Lake Konstanz, though. The benefit of having a car is that when you see a huge, beautiful pink church off the side of the road, you can pull over and explore a little. It was the Basilika Birnau and it was situated right on the lake next to what looked like a vineyard.
And then we were off to Triberg. Luckily our detour took us through the Black Forest and we climbed up hills (along very narrow roads where I just prayed that we didn’t accidentally meet another car coming the opposite direction) and we would come out upon the most amazing views. It was really gorgeous.
Triberg was hilly and mountainy. It actually reminded me of a resort town here in the West, like Park City or Vail. Except that there were tons of stores selling cuckoo clocks and other wood carvings made from trees in the Black Forest.
I certainly had my work cut out for me finding the perfect cuckoo clock. There were so many to choose from! I went to each store along the main road and checked them all out. I wish I had taken photos of the variety, but I got the feeling that many of the store owners wouldn’t have liked that. There were some huge ones that cost thousands of dollars, some modern ones that reinterpret the traditional cuckoo clock, and lots of styles in between. I actually picked mine out in the first store, but I wanted to be sure, so we visited all of them. Then I just went back to the original one. The owner packed it up tight for me, and I carried it with me the rest of the trip. And now it hangs proudly on my dining room wall.
It was definitely worth the side trip to Triberg im Schwarzwald.