This past week with my group of travelers we discovered the towns of Bonndorf and Bad Dürrheim in the Black Forest. After the suggestion of my German language teacher, I watched the YouTube channel SWR1 TV. On this channel is a show called “Kaffee oder Tee” in which perfect Deutsch is spoken as well as local and regional announcements are aired. When recently watching an episode, I discovered information about Fasching (Fastnet) museums in the Black Forest.
If aren’t able to make it to a parade or outing during Fasching week in February; have no fear, because most of these museums are open during the year. There are several Fasching museums in Germany, and I happened to pick two close to each other in the Black Forest. Fasching has been celebrated for generations in the Black Forest and steeped in tradition.
Visiting the town of Bonndorf was an authentic Schwarzwald (Black Forest) experience. The idyllic scenic drive into the closely knit forest lets you know you’ve arrived. Once you are there and begin exploring, it’s the people that are endearing too. We enjoyed meeting Veronica Lendler, our tour guide at the Schloß Bonndorf.
Since the 18th century, Bonndorf has been celebrating Fastnet. This comprehensive museum trails the history of Fasching in this region of the Black Forest. The baroque castle has 15 rooms dedicated to the museum with over 400 friendly looking figures (and some scary) as well as miniatures. Bonndorf is the perfect spot for the whole family. Don’t forget to visit the basement which has over 300 hand-carved, wooden masks.
Wood carvers from the Black Forest are world-renowned, so you can just imagine the detailed masks you will see. Also in the basement exhibition there are two replica farmhouses with miniatures sheep, cows and landscaping. Although our tour was in German, our tour guide gave us an English brochure that helped with any misunderstandings.
Veronica explained that each small town (Dorf) has their own special costume. The costumes designed specifically for Bonndorf is the Plum Eater or Pflumeschlucker. Taking many hours to create, the handmade and hand-painted costume is made from the Linden tree. One costume can cost up to €6,000. It was explained that since they the costumes are so expensive and the Fasching festivities last from Thursday to Tuesday, everyone in the family usually takes turns wearing it.
Some small towns choose animals for their character representative. Big towns, like Rottweil, choose a much more elaborate and ornate costume. Veronica showed us character costumes of snails, birds, wolves, goats and many others.
Beginning in 1924, the museum collection includes hundreds of full-size costumes, miniature characters and hundreds of masks. There was a lot of information about the history of Fasching celebrations in the area, each town’s character costume and the traditions associated with the season. There is no official admission price for the museum, but guests are invited to make a donation.
A Bite to Eat
Veronica recommended our lunch stop at the Gasthaus Zum Kranz. We met Irma and Claudia Ketterer, whose family has run this hotel and restaurant for years.
The guesthouse was decorated for Fasching and both Veronica and the Ketterers invited us back for Thursday’s Kinder Parade, the first week of February. Across the street from the guesthouse is the information center, so be sure to grab additional information on this lovely town.
The second museum we visited was Narrenschopf in Bad Durrheim, another great town only about 40 minutes from Bonndorf. This colorful, vibrant museum is located off the Kurpark or playground, so it’s a great place to bring kids too.
Though we didn’t have a lot of time, we bought standard tickets for €6. There are three floors of this dynamic Swabian-Alemannic museum. I’ve had to research the meaning of “Alemannic”. I thought it just meant German; however, it actually means the tribes that lived near the Bavarian borders in Germany.
The interactive parts of the museum are where kids are sure to have a great time. After visiting the large display room, stop by the museum’s cafe. Because it was coffee and cake time, we had a piece of Preiselberren (small red currants) buttermilk creme cake. We didn’t want to be rude.
Without hesitation I have to mention how warmly we were greeted and welcomed on this delightful day trip from Stuttgart. If you are new to Germany or have been here for a while, you may notice that tourism is down for our sweet host country. Veronica and Claudia were very grateful that we came to visit for the day and eagerly anticipate our return visit with families.
We met a couple from the Black Forest at Narrenschopft, who were very excited that we were American tourists coming to investigate and celebrate Fasching with them.
February is Fasching season! So what better way to join in the Fasching fun and escape the chilly, cold days? Head to the southern Black Forest to visit two Fasching Museums any time of the year. And if you decide to visit Lake Constance, make sure you add this to your trip. You won’t regret it!
How to Get There
7873 Bad Dürrheim
Author’s Profile: Wendy Payne is a military spouse and lives with her family in Stuttgart, Germany. She is a freelance writer, blogger and photographer. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga and sharing Europe with people.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Wendy Payne