One of the things that we were most excited about during our stay in Germany was a trip we had planned to Triberg to see the highest waterfall in Bavaria. The town is situated in the Black Forest and is also the home of the world's largest cuckoo clock. Win, win right? But on the morning of the trip, we awoke to a forecast of 90% chance of rain/snow and temperatures close to freezing. We hadn't packed appropriately for a hike in the freezing snow so we contemplated changing our plans at the last minute. In the end, we just layered on all the clothes we'd brought and decided to tough it out. We're so glad we did, because it ended up being one of the highlights of our trip.
The train ride up the mountain and into the Black Forest was definitely my favorite of the trip. We counted nineteen tunnels through the mountain before we finally reached Triberg. The higher we got, the snowier it got and the more scenic and beautiful. Triberg itself was most charming with typical Bavarian architecture and cuckoo clocks everywhere. We walked up, up, up the streets until we reached the entrance to the waterfall hike. The weather was strange the entire time; one second the clouds would part and the sun would shine then more clouds would roll in over the mountains and it would start to snow again.
As we made our way up the trail I was amazed at how lush the forest was. It was made even more enchanting by the thin layer of snow that was building up on the green ferns and moss. I kept thinking to myself that it seemed like a place where Westley and Princess Buttercup would be found hiding. The falls were impressive and had bridges that crossed back and forth for the best views possible. Luckily the weather had scared most of the other tourists away so we had the falls all to ourselves.
We then took the trail down the side of the mountain and ended up coming out at Maria in der Tanne or "Mary in the Fir". It's a small baroque style church whose legend dates back to 1644 when a young girl was cured of an eye disease in the water of a nearby spring. Later, a man was cured of leprosy by washing in the same spring. The man carved a small statue of Mary and placed it in a fir tree. People began making pilgrimages to the site of the miracles and eventually a church was built. The church is charming but unassuming from the outside, but the interior is as ornate and wonderfully gaudy and you could ever wish for.