Vacationing in Germany: Part 8 – Finding a Cuckoo Clock in Triberg

Our last day trip in Germany was to a town in the Black forest called Triberg im Schwarzwald. We wanted to buy a cuckoo clock and my research indicated that Triberg was the best place to look.

The drive from Stuttgart to Triberg was pleasant with a lot of beautiful scenery .

I even got out of the car to get a photo of the Black Forest from the inside.

When we arrived in Triberg we were impressed with how beautiful the town looked.

Finding a parking space was not easy but we got lucky. It was a bit of a dreary day but it wasn’t raining yet. When we got out of the car I noticed a sign that said “Max. 30 Minuten” so I thought I would just come back and move the car to another spot after 30 minutes, if possible.

Triberg is a very pretty village with lots of shops that sell cuckoo clocks and other locally made gifts. We stopped at several stores including the well known Haus der 1000 Urhen (House of 1000 Clocks). On the outside of the store is a huge working cuckoo clock.

Inside there are cuckoo clocks everywhere.

We eventually found a clock that we liked, with the help of a young lady that was very knowledgeable, but we wanted to look at other stores before deciding.

The store sold clocks but did not make them and I thought we should at least check out a store that actually made their own clocks. My wife is a big fan of unique stuff and where better to look for uniqueness than a place where things are custom made?

I read about a place called Oli’s and we decided to check them out. They were about a block up the hill and around the corner so we started walking that way. We reached a point where I felt like I should go back to the car to check on it and get our umbrellas because there was a light drizzle. Rose saw a store that she wanted to check out so she said she would wait for me there. I saw a photo opportunity next to the store.

When I got back to the car I actually read the entire sign that I just glanced at earlier when I focused on the time limit but not the rest of the text. The text under “Max. 30 Minuten” said “Gebuhrenpflichtig, nur mit Parkschein.” I didn’t know what “Gebuhrenpflichtig ” meant but I knew the rest of the sentence meant “only with a parking ticket. That’s when I realized I had to pay for a parking ticket at the machine. Oops. I did eventually look up “Gebuhrenpflichtig” and it means “Charges apply.” Put together that means “Charges apply only with parking ticket.” Does that mean if I don’t have a parking ticket there will be no charge? Anyway, back to the story.

I put money in the machine but could only get a ticket for 30 minutes. I put that in the window, grabbed the umbrellas and headed off to meet Rose. I was a bit worried that even with a valid parking pass, I was probably violating some law because my car was parked there too long. The last thing we needed was for our car to be towed but I doubted that merchants would complain and since it was raining I didn’t think the Polizei would be out looking for parking violators.

I caught up with Rose and we found Oli’s and went inside. We didn’t see a cuckoo clock that we loved but Rose bought a couple of things to give as gifts.

We then walked outside and into the next door. At the time I thought it was another section of the same store but realized later that we were in a different store called Kuckucknest.

There were a lot of interesting things in the store besides clocks and the owner was very nice about showing us around and explaining things. Rose found a cat nutcracker that she really liked. It was not made there but that didn’t matter. She also found some “smokers” that are designed to burn incense. The front smoker in the photo below blows smoke out of his pipe. The nutcracker, and I believe the smokers too, come from a company called Christian Ulbright.

We eventually found a great clock that was more than we were planning to spend but Rose loved it. It was his wife’s favorite, the owner told us. He also said that he only makes ten of each design and he listed all the places that he could remember shipping that clock to and none of them were in the United States so it certainly qualifies as unique for us.

I think it was 1258 Euros before the twenty percent “Value Added Tax” that is common in Europe. The nice thing was that the tax did not apply if the item was being shipped out of the country, or the EU, one of the two.

We also talked about the owner’s son going to cuckoo clock making school. He might have said clock making school but I don’t remember because I was thinking cuckoo clocks when he brought it up. If there is a school specifically for making cuckoo clocks than I think that is very cool.

By the time we got back to the car thirty minutes were long past but the car was still there and we had no ticket. We thought we should push our luck so I bought another thirty minute ticket and we went across the street to have lunch at a pizza place while it was raining.

I wish I had researched Triberg better before going because one of the tallest waterfalls in Germany is there and I would have loved to see it. I even photographed the stadtplan when I was there which showed the waterfall at the bottom left but I just photographed it, I didn’t look at it.

When we returned to our hotel in Stuttgart we bought some food at the market next door to the hotel and then I went down to get ice. When I reached the lobby the alarm went off and everyone was made to leave the building. I stood outside with many other people. I had no jacket and I was holding an ice bucket. I felt a little silly. I waited for Rose to come out but she never did. I couldn’t call her because we only had one phone that worked in Europe and Rose had it. After five or ten minutes the police arrived followed several minutes later by ambulances and a fire truck.


I think I stood out there for at least twenty minutes before they let us back inside. I found out when I returned that Rose didn’t even know anything happened. I was told it was a minor kitchen fire but I think they need to work on their evacuation plan before a more serious emergency comes up.

10 thoughts on “Vacationing in Germany: Part 8 – Finding a Cuckoo Clock in Triberg

  1. caren

    Your clock is GORGEOUS and well worth the hunting to find it! I was wondering, at that other shop that you had on video…do ALL of those cuckoo clocks go off at the same time? It would make me more “cuckoo” than I already am!!

    1. Chuck Huss Post author

      We were not here on the hour but that would be something if they did. I looked at my photos and most of the clocks are at different times and many have the chains tied up so they are probably not active.

  2. Dennis

    The meaning of the sign is “Charges apply, parking only permited with parking ticket”.

    But you found a really funny sign because it could confuse people yes.. it actually reads funny for a German too. But in reality, it shows how a comma can completely change the meaning of a sentence in German.

    “Gebührenpflichtig nur mit Parkschein” would basically mean that charges only apply if you have a parking ticket”. Which would be funny, because that could imply you can also park without a ticket and that for free lol.

    “Gebührenpflichtig, nur mit Parkschein” however means that charges apply and that parking is only permited with a parking ticket”. The sentence combines two statements… charges apply and parking only permited with a ticket. 🙂 But there is still room to argue about another meaning.

    I promise you, this is a great example of a sign and I’d bet everything I have that this or at least similar signs have been matter of discussion in courts in the past. No joke, I’ve read about similar legal battles in the local news 🙂

    If I would have designed the sign, I would have written “Gebührenpflichtig. Nur mit Parkschein!” because that makes it absolutely clear and leaves zero room for argumentation.

    1. Chuck Huss Post author

      My understanding of the German language needs much improvement but I am glad my mistake makes sense to you. There is a book on English grammar called “Eats, Shoots and Leaves” that is very good. In it she mentions some funny mistakes. Like with the title, if you remove the comma it means something very different. Another example was about a sign that read “Giant Kid’s Playground.” She said nobody would use it because they were afraid of the giant kid. It is amazing but many English speakers do not understand the basic rules of the language. Even I have difficulty sometimes knowing when to use a comma or a colon or a semicolon.

      1. Dennis

        Honestly, German grammar is that complex that I would go so far that most Germans don’t even understand it fully. So, don’t be stressed about this. I mean, most of us feel good with German grammar but once we get back to evening school, business school or anything an adult might want to do, we always get proven wrong when German grammar is on the program again 🙂

        I think I can now fluently write in English but once in a while I need to look for a word in an online dictionary. But being fluent in writing doesn’t mean it’s correct writing because yes, grammar makes the difference. Once in a while, people in the blogging sphere correct me and they have always been supportive when they found out it’s not my native language. Then I did my research related to the tips I got about my mistake and was happy when I was able to learn new things.

        But as we said, no matter if native German or native English… not even natives fully understand their own language, no matter where, and if there is someone who does, it’s most likely a native teacher. 🙂

        1. Charles Huss

          Language learning does not come natural for me but I have made some progress lately. I think the key is to hear common words and phrases over and over until you know them without thinking.

          1. Dennis

            It’s probably a mix of everything… reading, writing, listening. Having a bit of grammar, building a decent vocabulary over time and so. If you start to get an understanding with grammar and build up a vocabulary over time, you can actively hunt for German text, German videos at some point. Doesn’t matter if you understand it fully yet. I didn’t fully understand English either. When I still didn’t know anything about English grammar, I made attempts to translate parts of an English user manual of a PC mainboard word by word because I didn’t know how to plug things in. Of course, that is just an example and there was a lot more involved than just translating a few paragraphs in a manual once, because I needed to. But today I know the thousand times I confronted myself with English, are the reason why I learned it.

            In retrospect, I’d say the number one formular to learn a language is, to actively and regularly look out for it. That’s why I always tell, I forgot all the French I learned. Vocabularly and grammar alone doesn’t do it. It’ll be forgotten in no time, sadly.

  3. Chuck Huss Post author

    I can never remember which article to use and when to use it. Der, die, das, dem, den, ein, eine, einem, einer. It makes my head spin. I’m hoping if I learn enough phrases it will just start to come natural because thinking about the rules is just too time consuming when trying to speak.

    1. Dennis

      I can imagine that. Of course, for me this is natural as I am native, which means I wouldn’t be able to explain it well to you. I just don’t think about it anymore because I know when it’s correct and not. But I remember we had that in school too when we were young. That tells me not just natives might get used to it on a natural way and without knowing the grammatic. So, you might be right that it’ll come natural for you after much German reading in a few years.

      Fun fact is, that’s why I didn’t have much difficulties with the French articles like “le”, “la” and “les”. What helped me was that “le” always stands in front of a masculine word, while “la” stands always in front of a feminine word and “les” before plural words. So, in that case, being German actually helped me understand the French articles lol because it has a very similar concept.

      As I can’t explain things like a teacher, I at least tried to find something that might help you with “der, die, das”. And as I mentioned, it’s like with French about masculine and feminine words. I found a very short video that might help you spot a pattern…

      But don’t see it as the ultimate answer to the problem. Because the first thing I noticed is that she doesn’t cover all word endings we have (like words that end with -er). But as a rule of thumb, the video is actually good.

      1. Charles Huss

        Thanks, Dennis. That video is helpful but my main issue is remembering how they change in the dative and also knowing quickly when the word is dative. It took me a while but I can now remember to use “die” with plural nouns. I learned Spanish in high school, although I remember very little. They have “el” for masculine and “la” for feminine but I don’t remember those ever changing.


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