A week ago I experienced another first: I booked a camp site for the first time in my life! It really was quite a mile stone, considering that I had been wanting to go camping forever and finally managed to plan it all. Two friends and I had been talking about meeting up during the summer and I simply suggested: let’s go camping. Let’s go to the Alps, let’s go somewhere in Germany – let’s just get a van and some camping gear and head off into the wild. That was the idea. And to my surprise and delight – the proposal was accepted!
A few obstacles did arise, as was to be expected. We had no van. Some of us had to get holiday off work at short notice. One of us had invited a guy friend along so we had to find a second guy to balance the guy-gal ratio. One of us had to study for her final exams and was a little bit stressed…but hey, obstacles and problems exist so that we can find clever and creative solutions for them! And so we did 😀
As I wasn’t able to get off work and was also the individual presenting her exam…we decided to choose a location that would make this possible: the Black Forest. Since I work as a tourist guide for the Black Forest and happen to live there, I took it upon myself to do some exploring and felt responsible for finding a suitable location in this beautiful forest for our adventure. In recent years I had only ever gone camping without a tent – just found a nice spot to put my sleeping bag and enjoyed sleeping under the stars (see previous post). It is harder with a bigger group and a tent – I would still have loved for us to give it a go…but it is sort of illegal in Germany…in the sense that you could get fined if someone took offence and had the authority to fine you…and you do need to know where to go. So I asked around for camp site suggestions, went on some hikes, visited a couple of villages all in pursuit of the perfect spot!
To my dismay I realised that camping on an official camp site is not as “wild and adventurous” as I had hoped. There are luxurious washrooms (not that I’m against cleanliness…but you know) There is a fireplace to have a BBQ. There is a playground and often a village with bakery and bus connections or train. There are neighbours with lawnmowers. And the price is a bit higher than what I would have expected…my first reaction was – dude, I just want to pitch my tent on this piece of grass…how much is that gonna cost? In the end I spontaneously chose a camp site I hadn’t even seen. Why? Because my friends were gonna arrive the next day and August is high season – everything is overbooked. I chose the campsite in Kirchzarten – because it is quite close to Freiburg and would make going to work and attending my exam a lot easier. And it included a free ticket for the whole Black Forest (KONUS Karte) and free entry to the swimming pool. I know, that doesn’t exactly sound like wild camping – more like high class camping…but hey, you have to alter expectations according to the situation, right?
In the end, it was a really good choice! We soon fell in love with our new home 😀 I realised that camping on a camp site simply cannot be compared with camping in the wild – it belongs to a category of its own and has to be appreciated as such. You cannot go to a campsite and expect quiet and solitude and only the sounds of the wind and birds in the trees – its more like a little village with lots of neighbours and charming village life. Most other holiday campers had come with their caravan or camper plus giant house-like tents, had lots of cooking equipment, fridges, gas stoves and plenty of comfortable lawn chairs. Kids were running around with fancy scooters, playing games or being entertained by the daily kids program, which really was lots of fun to watch. Some campers even had a TV and were following the Olympics and watching movies. We had decided against the extra fee for electricity and tried to keep it as simple as possible – but didn’t mind enjoying the pool next door 🙂
There are some beautiful walks around Kirchzarten, but we ended up going a bit further and doing a tour near Titisee, visiting the Schluchsee and hiking up the Schauinsland (1284m). Will post some more pictures and holiday hike suggestions soon 🙂
And in case you were wondering, my exam went well – maybe not in spite of but because of the fun, laughter, hikes, swimming, good food and company that were all part of the special camping experience and managed to distract me and make me feel relaxed instead of nervous 😀 would do it again any day.