Shoes are waxed, everything’s washed so we fill up the trunk and get ready to leave around nine thirty. It should be a 6 hour drive and it’s a Sunday, so we’re not expecting any traffic jams. Everything goes smoothly, we switch drivers every two hours and have a quick meal in a rest stop.
There is some snow in the landscape once we’re in the Ardennes, but after Freiburg it goes from a little to a lot, though the road to Hinterzarten is cleared. We arrive at the hotel around four and unpack everything we need for the next nine days. There is a welcome drink in the hotel bar at six, where we get a free glass of Sekt and see that the average age of the guests must be around 60. We politely listen to the welcome chat and then all move off to the restaurant. It seems the hotel has room for ninety guests but is not fully booked now at sixty guests. The room, bar and restaurant are decorated in classic Schwarzwald style: carpet everywhere, lots of wood and staff wearing traditional clothes. The bathroom fortunately is modern and we have a large room looking out over the ski jumping slope. We take a small walk along the creek trail to enjoy the snowiness.
During dinner we discuss our options, I have marked a couple of hikes on a Winterwanderkarte that I bought when we passed through this area ten or so years ago. I’ve also marked a lot of trails in Wikiloc as favourites, so we have a good selection of which to choose from.