Now I'm starting to wonder if perhaps I should've studied Spanish for this trip instead of French.
Greetings again from Freiburg, Germany's sunniest city, a city where the sun finally came out around 4 this afternoon. I'm starting to wonder if perhaps we owe the people of Europe an apology. After all, in Marquette we lived through a cold, wet, and all-around crappy summer. Here, the summer was sunny & warm; heck, the day before we flew to Europe Freiburg itself was sunny & 90. And then we showed up, and the weather all of a sudden matched what we've lived through back home all year. I mean, it's a good thing I don't believe in curses.
Otherwise, I'd think we were cursed.
All of this was brought into focus today, the day we wanted to drive through the Black Forest, where around every bend you see sights that make you “ooh” & “aah”. But because we were visiting (although we're not cursed), here's what you saw today as you rounded a corner in the Black Forest--
Don't try to adjust your monitor. Don't think your phone is acting up. Nope; that's a picture I took from a scenic overlook in the Black Forest, where all you can see are a couple of trees and a whole bunch of fog. And not only was there fog everywhere, but the temperature was 8 degrees Celsius, or a balmy 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
But we're not cursed. Really, we aren't.
Seeing as how we couldn't see anything, we headed for the town of Triberg, where we at least left most of the fog
And had another piece of Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest Cake. Sure, we've eaten a lot of it this trip, but this was a special piece. This was at a place called the Schaefer Cafe, which has the original Black Forest Cake recipe, direct from the guy who invented it. So this, I guess, is then an original piece of Black Forest Cake--
It was good. One of the ingredients of Black Forest Cake is Kirschwasser, or cherry liqueur, and they really pile it in this recipe, so much so that the room almost starts to spin. But it was good. Really, really good.
Since I was driving and I had to clear my head after the cake we walked around Triberg a little more, saw some water--
And made a very interesting discovery. When we were there, Triberg was sleepy. Very, very sleepy. It seemed, in fact, like we were the only people there, which we thought a bit odd seeing as how Triberg is a big tourist destination. Then noon rolled around, and the tour buses pulled in. Within minutes the streets were jam-packed, and tourists of all different nationalities piled out of their buses and into the streets of the town. I'm guessing that even the Schaefer Cafe, where we enjoyed our Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte in solitude, was bustling.
Guess we chose the right time to visit Triberg.
We also chose the right time to leave because, thankfully, the fog finally started to burn off. Pretty soon, you were able to “ooh” and “aah” around every corner with views like this--
It was still cold, but I don't think we noticed, especially when we drove to the top of a mountain called Kandel, which supposedly had some great views. I'm sure that on a clear day you can see forever, but not today. We did, however, get to see someone jump off a perfectly good mountain--
Kandel is apparently where paragliders jump. In fact, it must be a rather famous spot for it, as there were all kinds of people driving up just to see them jump, much in the same way people back home drive up to Upper Harbor to see the ore boats come in. And as we were watching more and more paragliders came driving up, pulled their rigs out, and jumped off the mountain--
You don't get to see that every day.
By the time we made it back to Freiburg the sun had finally come out, and the temperature here hit 70, so we went to explore the one part of the Old Town we hadn't yet explored—the University. Almost 30,000 students call this city home, and the University is centered around a group of historic old buildings, all of which are made of (you guessed it) sandstone--
I know I'm a bit of a sandstone geek, as evidenced by the 60 or so pictures I took of the buildings. For your sake, I'll only post the one, although I will say that it's taking great restraint on my part.
So you're welcome.
Since we were in the neighborhood, we decided to head back to the Market Halle for dinner. You may remember the Market Halle from yesterday; it's the giant food court with restaurants from almost every country on the planet. Today Loraine went Italian (mushroom risotto) while I decided to try a Brazilian dish called Bobo de Camarao--
Then after dinner I took this picture of two kids playing in the Bachle, those little canals that run along the streets here--
After which I put my camera away and started to walk up the street. A minute later a man came running up to me and asked if I spoke German, which I don't. Searching frantically in his mind, he asked if I spoke Spanish, which I also don't. I asked if he spoke English, which he doesn't. He tried to get his point across in a mixture of languages, and after a few seconds I figured out what he was trying to say, especially when he used the word “kinder” and gestured like he was taking a picture. As it turns out, those were his kids I photographed, and he was wondering if I could e-mail him a copy of the picture. Loraine gave him a pen, I gave him a napkin I had in my pocket, and when I'm finished writing this I'll be sending this guy, who I believe is either a Spanish tourist or a Spanish grad student, the picture I took of his kids.
You know, I'm constantly amazed when we travel. You have no idea what will happen from one day to the next. Heck, you don't even know what will happen when you turn a corner and take a picture. But that's why travel is such an incredible experience. That's why I treasure it so much. That's why I think everyone should get out there and see as much of the world as they can.
And that's why I should've studied Spanish before we came over here.
Okay; before I wrap this up, let's see what else I have, shall we? We saw more cows today!!
Doug Mitchell, the guy who showed around the West Wall in Belgium Saturday, thought I haven't been seeing enough cows on this trip, and even stuck a picture of a few of them on my Facebook page. Thanks for that, Doug. And rest assured I got my bovine fix today.
Speaking of fixes, are you one of those people who are addicted to a certain Starbucks fall drink in the US? You're safe if you decide to travel over here--
And if you do travel, you know how it's always prudent to go into the travel section of a store like Target and stock up on mini-sized versions of those essentials you need, things like toothpaste and shampoo? Well, there's apparently something else that Germans need when they travel--
I would not kid you about a thing like this. Tiny Nutella jars are in the travel section of the Muller Store (Germany's version of Target) attached to our hotel. They're even small enough to fit into those quart bags you shove all your liquids into. Germans think of EVERYTHING, don't they?
We leave Freiburg in the morning for Heidelberg, and I have to admit that I'm just a bit sad. I think I've developed a little crush on Freiburg during our two days here, and I wouldn't mind coming back to explore its little nooks & crannies again and again.
Especially when the sun finally does come out in Germany's sunniest city--