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As our bus driver heads deeper into the Black Forest and we are dropped by the side of the road in what appears to be the middle of nowhere, I think to myself:
“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!”
I look around expecting to see some sort of zip-lining centre, but all I see is empty road and lots of trees.
Just as I’m feeling a little anxious, a strong German man magically appears with zip lining harnesses draped over his shoulder, and soon I am soon assured that this isn’t going to turn into some kind of horror movie where we are lost in the forest.
I am not quite prepared for the bitter cold of the Black Forest -aka Schwarzwald- in mid-October; I’m wearing Nike running shoes, leggings, a sweater and a leather jacket.
Simon, another blogger from our #BaWuByTrain group, whispers in my ear, “You can hardly go zip-lining with a Prada handbag!” I glance down at my handbag and agree this might not be the most practical choice.
At this point I wish I had brought my gloves, but there’s no turning back now; it took us a 1.5 hour drive from Freiburg to get here.
Thankfully we are able to store our bags in a little hut, and we are given small backpacks to carry our DSLR cameras in. After all we are bloggers and need to take photos!
Our guide Georg talks us through what is about to happen and we are given our harnesses to wear.
The Hirschgrund zipline area consists of 7 ziplines that take around 2.5 hours to complete. We take an 8-minute uphill hike to the first zipline, passing lots of bright and colourful wild mushrooms on the way. I wish I had brought a sandwich because I haven’t eaten since breakfast, so the highly poisonous mushrooms are looking more and more appetizing by the second.
When we get to the first zipline Georg explains that we will communicate via walkie talkies. If we hear him speak the phrase “Rope is free” it means we can attach our caribiners to the rope.
The first two ziplines are fairly short and straightforward. We take it in turns to do the zipline and give each other some moral support.
The third zipline however is really magical- it’s much longer and higher than the first two. As I soar high above the trees of the black forest, I feel like I’m flying and this is the first time I let out a little “Woop!”
The next few ziplines vary in length and height, but they all have incredible views. We start to get the hang of it and relax, feeling comfortable enough to spread out our arms instead of clinging on for dear life!
When we get to the second-to-last zipline, Georg says the smaller members of our group must try and curl up into a ball as much as possible in order to make it to the other side. I am only 5ft tall and weigh 45kg, and for some reason the ziplines are much slower than usual.
I hear the words “Alles klar, rope is free”, attach my caribiners, tuck my feet up and launch myself off the platform, but sadly I don’t quite reach the end of the zipline. I see Georg waiting with I rope I can catch on the other side, but I start to slow down and I come to a halt about 3 metres away.
I gradually slide back towards the middle of the zipline and sit there admiring the views for a few minutes, before Georg comes to the rescue and hauls me back in.
The last zipline is by far the best one, measuring 0.5km in length. It takes almost a minute to get from one side to the other, affording incredible views over the valley.
Although it was cold and I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes at the end, it was really worth it to take in the magical views of the Black Forest.
I’ve been ziplining before in Colorado, but this ziplining course was much better because the scenery is stunning and I didn’t have to do the breaking on the ziplines!
My ziplining adventure was part of a blog trip called #BaWuByTrain which was sponsored by the tourism board and the Deutsche-Bahn. All opinions expressed here are my own.