For years I’ve been meaning to try out cross-country skiing. In my imagination, I slide smoothly through a snowy winter forest, everything is peaceful, the sun peeks out from behind pine tree branches. And vast meadows covered with snow shimmer beautifully in the sunlight, conjuring up a blissful smile on my face.
To find out if reality could keep up with my imagination, we went to the Black Forest for a long weekend. We have learned from Black Forest experts that the chances for snow are good at the end of January or the beginning of February. And in fact, there was plenty of snowfall right before we arrived in February. Fresh trails were already laid, lucky us! But wait, first things first: I’ll talk more about the trails later. Also about my wrong idea of them, and how my first attempts at cross-country skiing have been.
The Organic Guesthouse Haus Sonne
As long as I wanted to glide through a winter forest on skis, I wished to spend a few days in the vegetarian organic guesthouse Haus Sonne (the name means sunny house or house of the sun). I had discovered the guesthouse years ago during a short stay in the Black Forest, but unfortunately, back then I was quartered in another guesthouse. The idea of spending some time at Haus Sonne has never left me. And now I know why: The guesthouse is in the truest sense to my liking. The organic food (vegan or vegetarian) is incredibly delicious; the rooms are bright and friendly with natural wood furniture and bedding suitable for allergy sufferers. And there is also a large library next to a sunny recreation room. You can tell by many details that the well-being of people and the environment are highly valued here.
It’s just the icing on the cake that the owners and staff are all extremely pleasant. The owner of Haus Sonne, Christian Leppert, welcomed us – a man with smiling eyes and a cheerful Buddha-like aura. We didn’t have the chance to meet the lady of the house personally, only indirectly through her beautiful paintings that adorn some of the walls in the guesthouse.
The freshly prepared dishes with organic ingredients were so delicious that I kept disturbing the cook to ask for the recipes. There is a breakfast and a dinner buffet, and if you want, you can order a soup for lunch. We were traveling around lunchtime so we didn’t get to taste the soup. But we helped ourselves generously at the breakfast buffet (my oh my, those delicious home-made buns hot right off the oven with smoked tofu will never be forgotten) and had tea and snacks to get us through the afternoon until dinner was served. Around 5 pm, mouth-watering fragrances from the kitchen downstairs started blowing through the corridors and we could hardly wait for dinner at 6. In addition to various salads (of course, all home-made) there was a main course, in both a vegetarian and vegan version. If you prefer vegan food, be sure to mention it at the time of booking. A highlight right on the first evening was the whole steamed broccoli with a golden brown breadcrumb crust. Yum, heavenly! Of course, I needed to get this recipe as well.
In short: The guesthouse is an oasis of well-being in which guests like to return. Many of the varying neighbors at the breakfast or dinner table we got to talk to were regulars. I would very much like to become one of them soon. What a joy it would be to return in the summer. I dream about breathing the air laden with summer scents from the herb and flower garden of Haus Sonne, and lying in the sun on the expansive lawn behind the house.
But let’s return now to the winter magic.
I could have spent the whole weekend well and happily inside the guesthouse. I could have sat for hours on end at the breakfast table, drinking many cups of (cereal-based) coffee with oat milk, gazing out the window over the snowy, sunny landscape into the distance towards the mountains; or I could have browsed through the well-stocked bookshelves in the library and later cuddle up in the cozy wicker chair in our room with a stack of inspiring books. But that was not the main reason for our little trip. So we got into our warm ski clothes and headed out into the snow.
A few steps away from the guesthouse is a ski rental where we rented all the necessary equipment. Five minutes later (by car) we arrived at a starting point for round trails, both for beginners and advanced skiers. If you’re still wondering what trails are: Two parallel snow tracks next to each other that provide a good guidance for cross-country skis so that they cannot break out to the left or right. How happy I was when I got to glide through the trail for the first time, how safe I felt! A short distance up to the trail there was just flat pressed snow under our skis – that was a terribly slippery and exhausting business. At this point in time, however, I still assumed that this flattened snow was already a trail (bear with me, I was a complete ski novice – and I assumed that it was easier to ski on flat pressed snow than on powder snow). Well, I definitely learned something. And also learned to love trails!
Now, what about the dreamy gliding over a pristine snowscape? Everything peaceful. Cheeky sunbeams through pine trees. Yes, I had all that. It was indeed just like I’ve imagined it. Only much better. Because I also had the cold, and the taste of snow, and the effort, and the sweating, and the soreness, and the bruises.
Blissful smile included.