A Walk in the Black Forest

Saturday 12th May 2018

‘Narrativium’ is one of those, as yet undiscovered elements, that Terry Pratchett envisioned so clearly on Discworld. On Discworld Narrativium is the most common element on the disc, although not included in the list of the standard five: earth, fire, air, water and surprise. It ensures that everything runs properly as a story. For example, if a boy has two older brothers, chances are they will go on a quest. The first will be strong, and fail because of his stupidity, the second will be smart, and fail because of his frailty and the youngest brother will then have no choice but to go out, succeed and bring fame and fortune to his poor family. This phenomenon is also known as Narrative Causality. Dragons breathe fire not because they have asbestos lungs, but because that is what dragons do. Heroes only win when outnumbered, and things which have a one-in-a-million chance of succeeding often do so. The application of this phenomenon appears to be governed by some loosely formulated laws.

And so once we realised that we were going to be in the Black Forest, with the swirls of Mantovani ringing in our ears, Wendy and I found ourselves hand in hand (like the two kids in the Startrite advert) walking through the Black Forest. We hadn’t planned it, we had wanted to be somewhere else, but Narrativium meant that here we were, camped in the grounds of a brewery that looked as if it should be a cuckoo clock, strolling through pine forests and tripping over dwarves, wicked witches, trails of breadcrumbs and bramble entangled castles as we went.

This morning had begun like any other on the road. We set off nice and early intent on getting as far south as we could. We had our sights set on a site just outside Strasbourg. Thanks to the light Public Holiday traffic (In the UK we take to the roads on a Bank Holiday, in Germany it seems they don’t!) we made good time and arrived just after noon. The campsite was shut and a motorway grade barrier was locked in place. There was a note explaining that the campsite was shut between 1200 and 1430. Across the barrier we were greeted by an elderly lady (certainly younger than us) who had less English than we had German but managed to explain that she would get her daughter to let us in. We then saw the two of them have a heated debate in the office about whether we should be let in or not, the daughter holding her ground and sitting fast. Mum emerged, shrugged her shoulders, made a fuss of Alfie, showed us her two dogs and went off in a huff. We went off in a van!

While the argument was in full fling I used the Internet to find a campsite close to Triberg, the site of Germany’s highest waterfalls. We set the satnav in the direction of Camp Lynx and off we went. Imagine our shock and disappointment when as we pulled up a very nice man, with good English, explained that they were full and couldn’t possibly accommodate us! We had been warned about the perils of trying to find a campsite over the ‘Fathers’ Day’ weekend but never thought it would be problem for us. Only a little daunted, another Internet search found a site deeper into the Black Forest and it looked as if it was made out of gingerbread.


It looks good enough to eat!

An hour further on, including a diversion for a road that just fizzled out despite satnav insisting we should carry on, and we arrived at Camping Kreuzhof in the chocolate box village of Lenzkirch. The campsite is in the grounds of the Linzkircher Brewery (about the size of the Derby Brewing Company) and we were welcomed by a delightful young lady with a complete absence of warts, lazy eyes or magic mirrors. Even better we were just in time to visit the camp shop and brewery tap to stock up on their best beer before we set off into the woods to seek our fortune.

If we can fight off the dragons, wolves and other monsters lurking at the edge of our vision we are off to Switzerland tomorrow.


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