The Cuckoo Clock has its origin in the heart of the Black Forest (Germany), having been invented here in Schoenwald in 1737. So having left the shores of Lake Constance, we've headed into Germany's Black Forest. The Black Forest region in Germany spawned more than just fairy tales like Hameln; it also served as home to the first cuckoo clocks. Black Forest craftsmen have been making cuckoo clocks since the 1600s, and they are still making them today. So we thought where better to get a Design/Technology 'Roadschooling Lesson' on gearing, pulleys, cams..... than in the cuckoo clock capital of Europe!
Having seen these in Christmas Markets earlier in the year, it was great to show the girls some of the workmanship that goes into each of these iconic clocks. Having seen Munich's 'Glockenspiel' or Prague ' Astronomical Clock' both girls have developed an interest in how clocks are made... and where better to find out than Triberg in the Black Forest.
For the girls, it was brilliant to chat to the owners and gain a greater understanding of just how each clock is made and how the components fit together. The opportunity test each part wth the working models fascinated both girls and we easily spent 2hrs discussing how each clock was made..... and how each 'towns' action scene has been 'technically' put together. If this isn't roadschooling action, then I'm not sure what it is....
Each clock is hand carved and full of figurines, full of woodchoppers chop, bell ringers ring, mill wheels turning or beer steins raised to happy couples dancing to the music. Each clock is apparently supposed to reflect a scene of life in these beautiful Black Forest towns/villages such as Kinzing, Baden Baden or Schiltach.
The Black Forest's Germanic name ' Schwarzwald' is given due to the dark canopy of evergreens that cover the route from Lake Constance to Triberg. It seems you only need to leave the main roads and venture 20mins into the forest to be met with large Germanic farmhouses and local craftsman like you find throughout the route to Triberg
Germany's southwest is prosperous, maybe not as much so as the old money that flows in Bavaria, but certainly wealthy. The nearby region is Baden-Württemberg yet the Black Forest seems to operate in a vacuum.... filled full of cliches like it's Cuckoo clocks, Bollenhut hats, Black Forest farms and Black Forest gateau. It is so much more than that! Think one big adventure playground that rises to the 1493 metre high Feldberg. It is the highest of the German low mountain ranges and also the most diverse. Offering more than 24,000 signposted hiking trails, various cycling trails and snowy slopes...
It's well worth heading north from Triberg's waterfall and train rides, through the Gultach valley towards Baden Baden... but for us a chance to visit Strasbourg was too good an opportunity to pass up!! So west we headed.... into France.
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