just relaxing by the fire
According to my horoscope (which I only happened to see as someone small had been fiddling with my phone!), last week was due to be full of trials and tribulations. Thankfully however, I wasn’t to be “too overly concerned, as my guardian angel would be looking over me”. I expect then, that he or she (or indeed it!) has packed up and arranged to hover about over a new person, as I was completely responsible for picking last weekend as the best possible time to go Black Forest glamping!
To be fair to myself, I had booked our trip to Hilserhof Wiesenbett (better known to us Brits as Feather Down Farms) pre-baby, with the aim of staying on a farm and also seeing a little more of the Black Forest. As it turned out, we didn’t altogether see that much more of the Schwarzwald than we have on previous occasions, but I can now say that we have actually stayed inside the forest itself and enjoyed farm life for a couple of days…
We left Munich straight after school on Friday afternoon, and thanks to various traffic jams (and a slight detour down a “road” that I am not sure was completely suitable for anything with wheels) arrived far later than anticipated. Ignoring the drastically reducing temperatures and big grey clouds gathering overhead (it had been 21 Deg C when we set off annoyingly!) we enjoyed the very warm welcome from our hosts for the weekend – Barbara and Berndt Wernet. Barbara is one of those completely unflappable people that I think you must be when you run a busy farm AND a holiday destination – she didn’t even bat an eyelid when I managed to smash a large glass bottle of water everywhere before even saying hello… Car completely emptied of contents and shards of glass disposed of, Barbara gave us a tour of her family’s 400 year old farm – starting with the well stocked honesty shop full of various home-made and regional good things and necessary equipment such as candles, paraffin, cheese and wine you might need during your stay.
traditional Schwarzwald farm house
our home for the weekend
In the fading light, we were shown to our canvas home for the weekend, whereupon I was glad that Mr R had been a scout once upon a time, as I had no idea how to light a paraffin lamp (and without any sort of coverage whatsoever it wasn’t like we could watch a YouTube video or anything). But as knowledgeable as he is (and once we found the matches by torch-light) before too long our temporary abode was full of little glowing orbs of light and the very heart of the place – the trusty wood burning stove was crackling away (this was to also be our cooker for the weekend!)… As we could now see something, we had a quick look around. Our “frills tent” had two main bedrooms, one with bunk beds, a double bed, and a fabulous bed in a cupboard. I for one was grateful for comfortable real beds to sleep in, the warm shower and flushing loo (I think I have mentioned before I don’t do normal camping!). Having unpacked what we needed and settled both the baby and arguments over who was sleeping in the much admired cupboard bed, we cobbled together a late tea before turning in for the night, lulled to sleep by the sound of the stream directly outside.
the cupboard bed
The following morning it was quite obvious that my guardian angel hadn’t been able to do too much about the weather. It was by now pretty cold, stormy and wet. We ventured into nearby Triberg (home to the tallest waterfalls in Germany, and what seemed like the most cuckoo clock shops in the entire world) for a quick look around. Sadly Mr R wouldn’t indulge my cuckoo clock request because it seems he’s always had a strange phobia of them (and I have to say that some of the larger specimens were quite spectacular in a “you might find this in a horror movie” kind of way!), and neither would he entertain my “slice of Black Forest Gateaux in each cafe we passed” tasting session suggestion – although we did manage two slices in two shops but with a larger chunk of time in between than I would have liked!… By now though the weather was setting in for the day and only promised to get worse. Before any of us got cold wet and miserable we headed back to the sanctuary of our canvas home and that wood burning stove.
free range eggs for breakfast
In the odd instances that the weather gods gave us a break, the Small People were out pretending to be farmers and some kind of strange Schwarzwald tribe that lived in the forest by the looks of things. They were able to help feed the animals in the morning, and collect eggs for breakfast. They rode the resident horses, played in the stream and fell out of hammocks. They helped collect wood for the stove (they didn’t like this bit so much) and when things got a bit too much, and the amount of fresh air they had breathed reached capacity levels, they would retire to the much-loved bed in a cupboard to read. We grown ups sat by the fire a lot, chatting, listening to music (before our phones ran out), playing with the baby, deciding what we could cook over the stove and just being in the present really. It makes you realise how reliant on electricity and more modern distractions you are when you are completely off grid!
Our last evening was spent filling ourselves with warm foods such as pea soup, hot tea and cocoa. You could feel it was colder, but it wasn’t too much of a problem having had extensive iglu training in the past.
snug as a bug
Hats were worn to bed however, and once we had those on everyone was comfortable and warm. Mr R got up first thing to light the fire, and announced in a jovial tone that it had been snowing. I thought he was joking… He wasn’t.
It’s a true testament then to how good Hilserhof actually is if I were to tell you that we would quite happily go back and “snow camp” again. I can only imagine how fantastic it is in the summer! If you have thought about a farm stay in Germany, then I would really recommend this place, it’s a real paradise for children! A few more tips for your visit: –
- do come prepared for the weather, bring plenty of layers, hats and extra duvets/sleeping bags if it promises to get chilly at night;
- bring extra candles, fire lighters and matches. You will need them;
- bring easy foods to cook on a stove top such as pasta, soup, chilli or risotto. You can buy a few necessities in the honesty shop but you will need to visit a supermarket beforehand to bring everything else;
- bear in mind there are ticks in long grass and woodland across much of Germany. If you do notice a bite look out for that tell-tale bullring marking and seek a doctor’s advice quickly;
- bring welly boots if it’s not flip-flop weather;
- if you haven’t ever lit a paraffin lamp before, do take a minute to search online as to how it’s done!
- bring a camera – there are plenty of photographic opportunities!
- don’t bother bringing chargers of any description, you won’t need them…
Packing my Suitcase says
Such a beautiful and cosy farm Emma!
I still haven’t been to the Black Forest, only to the Bayerischer Wald which I already adore.
The cupboard bed is awesome! :D
Great tips! Thank you for sharing your experience on #MondayEscapes!
Thank you (:
I’ve visited the Black forest region years ago. Did visit Triberg (and the falls) as well as Freiburg! I haven’t done glamping but did stay in a farmhouse (with electricity :P ) when my family and I traveled to Austria (again years ago)!
And I would definitely recommend this place for a stay without electricity Anna! :D Thank you! :)
Christine @afamilyday says
Shame about the weather! But your ‘tent’ looked amazingly equipped, I think I’d have snaffled the bed in a cupboard and read a book all weekend…. #Mondayescapes
Thanks so much Christine, it was a great weekend! :)
Corey with fifi + hop says
Aaaahh…looks like a total retreat! Igloo training? Will have to read that one! #mondayescapes
Yep that is something I will NEVER forget! Thanks Corey! :)
Oh that’s great to know! I actually live not far from Black Forest, but have just crossed it while in a car or in the train..never really visited any part of it. Need to start somewhere!
I really recommend this place, and Triberg’s just up the road so you can see all the cuckoo clocks and the waterfall (and the cake!!) :D
Dean - La Vida Global says
That looks like such a fun holiday for the kids. Not enough technology access, history or magnificent architecture on a farm to keep me amused, but still a great escape for those who don’t have the same needs as me.
We like to mix it up, compensation for the trips we take with far too much architecture for their liking! :D I think you might have liked the 800 year old farmhouses :) And the lack of technology access was my biggest hope to get Mr Workholic away from everything for the weekend. Typically his was the only phone that carried on working! :D Thanks for commenting! :)
That looks like so much fun even with the bad weather. We love glamping in the UK but haven’t been abroad doing it and Germany is on my bucket list of places to take the girls!!!
Thanks Anthea! (:
I would really love to go clamping here, it looks amazing and now i am hankering over a fried breakfast ;)
Thanks Sonia, it was great fun! (:
I’ve always wanted to visit featherdown farm and this looks stunning. Mine would love that it snowed! You must have been very glad of the heating!
Thanks Kara! :D Yes, the woodburner was very lovely to have! :D
Trish @ Mum's Gone To says
What a great read, Emma – so lovely to hear about your snow glamping. Lots to make me laugh too (the gateau in every café!) xx
I know you would have gone along with that idea Trish! :D Thank you xx
Kate Williams says
Oh that looks amazing! I love camping with the kids but must admit I like the idea of glamping a bit more ;)
It’s glamping every time in our house. I just couldn’t cope with camping without any of the nice things! :D Thanks Kate (:
What a beautiful place! I would love to go with my family there as I think is the best way to get to know the surroundings
I think you would love it Otilia, thank you (:
A Patchwork Life says
Sounds lovely Emma, makes me want to try glamping – think I’m getting too old for full-on camping! And you still get that simple/back to basics/living in the moment experience. With a few welcome extras!
Shame about the cuckoo clock :( x
I think you would absolutely LOVE this T! I know. I have to still work on that one! :D x
Midlife Singlemum says
Now that’s the kind of camping I’d love. The place looks spectacular.
It was completely brilliant! Thanks Rachel! (:
Shell Louise says
We went to a feather down farm a few years ago and we were absolutely freezing the first night. It went to minus 2 I think the hubby said and we slept in our clothes, coats, hats, scarves, and gloves! The kids in the cupboard bed were nice and toastie but I hardly slept a wink.
We nearly packed up and came home the next day but the farmer gave us extra duvets and free firewood and the weather didn’t get as cold for the rest of the week so we ended up really enjoying our stay. I loved getting away from phones/tablets/laptops etc and we spent loads of time outside during the day and playing board games at night :)
Gosh Shell, I don’t think it got that cold for us! Poor you! So glad you managed to sort it out and get extra duvets etc. I loved getting away from it all too! :)
The little sleeping compartments look amazing! This place looks incredible, I’ll have to check it out as it looks like the perfect adventure x
You can understand why there were huge arguments about who got to sleep in here can’t you? :D Thanks Fritha! (:
The Mummy Diary says
Oh it looks beautiful, I have a new found love of glamping and can’t wait to go back. I think whether its summer or winter plenty of clothes are a must on those cool evenings and nights. This looks absolutely stunning though and we might have to venture into Europe glamping.
Thanks so much! I would really recommend the abroad option, especially here. So lovely! :)
Emma | The Mini Mes and Me says
We went a few years ago and I would return in a heartbeat – it was so relaxing!! The kids loved the cupboard bed x
Thanks Emma, did you stay at the Black Forest one? I have been looking at the ones in England too, they look lovely! :)
Wow, that looks like an amazing place. I think that every now and then we need to go off grid to recognise the real connections that we have as a family. My boys would have fought over the cupboard bed too!
It was so nice not having TV or even radio on in the background. No-one was on a computer, nobody was able to check their phones (although I did check the weather when we were in Triberg!) and it was just lovely and quiet! Thanks Jen! (:
Nichola - Globalmouse says
Oh wow, that’s hard core glamping to go in the snow! ;) Those tents look absolutely beautiful and certainly somewhere I would be happy to hibernate in during the cold weather, what a wonderful place!
This time last year I am sure it was warm! :D Thanks Nichola! :)
Phoebe @ Lou Messugo says
That weather is crazy, it’s nearly May for heaven’s sake (same in northern France but luckily not in the south!) It does look like a lovely place to get back to nature and I know we’d love it as a family as we actually really like “real” camping too!!! However I’m never averse to a bit of luxury too!
I think you would absolutely love it Phoebe! :) Sun came out today, finally! x
Christie @ A Sausage Has Two says
Absolutely love the sound of this, though I didn’t know about ticks and now I’ve googled them I’m inclined to keep the small ones indoors for the rest of their lives. But am definitely putting this on the Must Do list, looks like just my cup of tea. Love it.
Also, I just spotted your Black Forest Pavlova recipe in the “other posts you might like” bit and now that is ALL I WANT TO EAT. Argh!
If I were up the road I would bring you a huge new baby pavlova! :) I think you would really love this place, all that local produce you could cook with too! I had no idea about the tick thing here, a year in and I had my older two vaccinated, much to their absolute disgust. It doesn’t do anything for Lymes, but it does stop the encephalitis strain you can get from them… :/