unique travel experiences

Month: March 2017

Eating original Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte in the Black Forest

I always found Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte to be a little bit “full on” as a child and can’t actually remember the last time I had one, until a few weekends ago that is when we made a 50km detour while driving around Germany’s Black Forest to reach Café Schäfer in the small town of Triberg.

What it's all about. The original recipe Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte

What it’s all about. The original recipe Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte

And why has we driven to to Café Schäfer in southern Germany? Well because confectioner Claus Schäfer uses the original 1915 recipe for his Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest gateaux). A recipe that layers chocolate cake infused with cherry brandy, whipped cream and sour cherries, which is then wrapped up in more cream and shaved chocolate. Mmmm! And this is our group expectently about to tuck in to it!

Keen to get started on the Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte

Keen to get started on the Schwarzwaelder Kirschtorte

According to their website “If you want the true Black Forest cherry cake from the original recipe, you must come to Café Schaefer in Triberg”. Well they would say that but we were up for giving it a try.

Café Schaefer's tempting leaflet

Café Schaefer’s tempting leaflet

Café Schaefer's leaflet information

Café Schaefer’s leaflet information

So a bit of history in the leaflet above. Josef Keller was the inventor of the Black Forest cherry cake. He was the pastry chef in the Café “Ahrend” (today called Agner) in Bad Godesberg and in 1915 he created for the first time what he called a “Schwarzwaelder Kirsch”, or “Black Forest Cherry”. Josef Keller gave August Schaefer his recipe book which contained the original recipe. His son, Claus Schaefer, the current Konditormeister of the Triberg Café Schaefer, inherited the book and the original recipe and has thus been able to carry on making Josef Keller’s original. We asked where the recipe now is but was assured it’s safely locked away and for customers to see. Either way I found it to be delicious. I could certainly taste the cherry brandy, and it was a lot lighter than I remember. If you don’t like cherries then it won’t be for you of course.

The waitress was pleasant and accommodating even though we arrived just before closing time. But we were there long enough for the 5 of us and the 5 slices of cake to become quite well acquainted, all washed down with some tasty lattés. We were in Triberg for too short a time to see anything else but later found out about the House of 1000 cuckoo clocks that’s just up the road. Something to visit next time maybe 🙂

We were able to park directly opposite!

We were able to park directly opposite!

Café Schaefer window display

The Café Schaefer window display

Which places can’t you visit anymore?

In light of today’s news that the Azure Window arch in Gozi, Malta has fallen into the sea during a storm, it made me think of some other places that friends and I have been to before, and things we’ve done, that for one reason or another you can’t do today either. Whether that be due to:

  1. Terrorism (my friend from Hornblower Travels who visited the Arch of Triumph in Syria or my dad who went to the Twin Towers in New York)
  2. Accident (I flew in Concorde back in 1989 but since 2003 she’s been permanently grounded).
  3. Repair (you can’t currently climb up the Elizabeth Tower to see “Big Ben”)
Walking across the Azure Window in 2010

Walking across the Azure Window in 2010

Back to the Azure Window, I visited it in November 2010 with a friend Al after we’d got a boat over from Malta to view the arch and the lagoon next to it. On the day we visited it was a bit blustery so we couldn’t get any “picture perfect” shots or see any scuba divers below the water surface. However we did walk across the arch and took photos of each other on the top. Whether people jumping off from the top loosened any stones over the years is another thing but the Azure Window eventually succumbed to the sea, which 1000s of similar arches have done over hundreds of thousands of years.

My friend Rob visited the Arch of Triumph in the 2,000-year-old city of Palmyra in Syria back in 2000 which was destroyed mindlessly by ISIS back in 2015. He was on a 10 day unplanned journey through Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. And the Twin Towers? We all know what happened back in 2001.

The Arch of Triumph in Syria

The Arch of Triumph in Syria

The chances of being able to fly again in Concorde are slim even though many of the planes still exist. Sadly Concorde stopped flying for good it seems back in 2003. This was due to the Paris airport crash of 2000, the general downturn in the commercial aviation industry as well as increasing maintenance costs. The world suddenly became a bigger place again on 25th October, the day after it stopped flying. I got to fly in Concorde back in 1989 and feel very lucky to have done so.

There's wasn't much room in the cabin

There’s wasn’t much room in the cabin

That leaves climbing up the Elizabeth Tower to see Big Ben. Now with this one you “can” do this again but not until 2020 when the restoration works are complete, and then only if you’re a UK citizen and get invited by your MP! Simply write to yours and they will hopefully oblige.

The Elizabeth Tower from Westminster Bridge

The Elizabeth Tower from Westminster Bridge

That leads finally to those places you can go to still but not with the people you used to go with. One of my favourite places is the beach resort of Eastbourne on the south coast of England, having been to countless Summer holidays there with my mum and gran over the years. I loved going there at the time and can still go there, but only with my mum now so maybe that’s what I should do this summer 🙂

What places can you think of that you can’t go to anymore? Or ones that might not be around for much longer? The Maldives before they’re under water? Wild rhinos before they go extinct? I certainly hope not for the latter.

Discovering yourself on Google Street View

We’ve all seen those funny staged, and not so staged Google Street View shots but you never expect to find yourself in one! Well back in 2009 I made an appearance.

Appearing outside the Crowne Plaza hotel. This image no longer appears on Street View though

Jogging outside Sydney’s Crowne Plaza hotel back in 2009

My moment took place when I was running back to our Crowne Plaza hotel in Darling Harbour, Sydney after forgetting something or other, when I remember spotting a little white car out of the corner of my eye with a camera attached to its roof. At the time I didn’t think much of it as it wasn’t emblazoned with any obvious Google or CCTV logos. Either way I got what I needed from the hotel room and carried on with my day.

On returning back to England a few months later I did check a few times, more out of curiosity, wondering if it was actually a Google Street View car that I’d seen, but initially to no avail – the Street View of the area outside the hotel was still showing images from a previous year.

Then in 2011 came some success! Google had updated its images albeit over a year after my visit and there I was, three or four shots in total, a blurred face in each, as I rounded the corner at pace! I must have been in a rush! And here’s the current link to show you the screenshot below –

Running down Bathurst Street, Sydney

Running down Bathurst Street, Sydney

The great thing with Street View is that it has a timeframe view on the desktop version, so even if they update these images with more recent photos I’ll always be able to go back and choose the year that I was featured in.

Now of course you’re unlikely to just “find yourself” surfing randomly around Street View but maybe check out your own road or place of work and you never know! You might see a neighbour at least, or a previous tenant, or a colleague or even a burglar! Obviously if you discover an actual Google Street View car during the course of the day you’ll have that vital split second to decide what to do! Keep walking?, pull a Usain Bolt pose?, feign a death on the pavement?, or most likely do nothing out of the ordinary. If you do see a Google car go by though do remember to check back every few months to see if you eventually appear for all the world to see just like I did.


About to turn into Day Street


Rounding the corner into Day Street

Almost at the hotel entrance

Almost at the hotel entrance!

Has anybody else ever dicovered themselves on Google Street View? 🙂


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