Friday, May 17, 2024

"Oh, the Mitten"

The weather was so bad today I actually had to put on pants.

Greetings once again from Freiburg, usually Germany’s sunniest city, but because we’re here it rained all day with temperature only in the 50s.  It was so bad, in fact, that I had to forego my usual shorts and put on jeans.  In all the times we’ve traveled over here I’ve only had to do that once or twice.

And with today in Freiburg, that now makes three.

Just how much rain had Freiburg received in the past 24 hours?  Well, the Bachle are full–

As is the Dreisam River, which runs through the center of town.  Usually it’s a placid little stream, but not today.  Nope; today it’s starting to overflow its banks–

I will admit, though, that even in the rain Freiburg has a beauty to it. Perhaps it’s a melancholy beauty, but there is something to it–

We didn’t let the rain deter us from getting out and exploring many places of the city we haven’t seen.  This is just a rough guess (aided by the directions the great gods of Google sent to my phone) but it appears as if we hoofed it for around 20 or so kilometers today, which is approximately 12 miles.

We found ourselves in gorgeous neighborhoods…

Cool parks–

In front of some rather impressive churches that aren’t the Freiburg Muenster…

And on bridges that give you a view of the two sides of Freiburg, the urban and what lies just beyond–

We also noticed just how green Freiburg is, as well.  

The environment and the damage climate change is causing is very important to the people of the city.  Aside from all the recycling that’s done here (and that reminds me, we have to return all of our empties tomorrow) if you have a car that doesn’t have a sticker saying it’s at least somewhat clean in its emissions, you can’t drive around many parts of the area (thankfully, our hybrid passes the test with flying colors).  But one of the most important ways people around here try to reduce their carbon output is by walking & biking everywhere–

Thankfully, there are bike & walk lanes everywhere you go, which was one of the reasons we walked approximately 20 kilometers today.  Bike riders have the exact same rights on the road as do drivers; in fact, bikers even have their own lanes (a nice bright red) on most of the city streets–

One word of warning if you ever do come to Freiburg–if the walking and bike lanes are right next to each other, do not walk in the bike lane, unless you want to hear a little “ring ring” from an approaching rider or find yourself sprawled butt over tea kettle on the grass by someone who won’t slow down just for you.

They take their bike lanes seriously around here.

Elsewhere, you may recall a couple of days ago when I was talking about the most…bizarre children’s toy I may have ever seen.  Well, it’s so bizarre that one of our many stops today was at a store so I could pick one up–

That’s right.  I’m the proud owner of a Play Mobil “Construction Worker With a Newspaper About to Go Into a Porta-Potty” toy set.

My life is now complete.

Finally, I know a lot of Americans believe Germans to be aloof and somewhat unfriendly, but as we’ve discovered that is really not the case.  We’ve had so many people (like our new German grandfather yesterday) come up and say something to us that it’s really kinda cool.  The latest example was this morning, when the young man who took our room number at breakfast came over to us a little later, and asked us where we were from.  When we told him “Michigan”, his face lit up and he said, “Oh, the Mitten”.

Yup.  That’s where we’re from.  And I guess that’s one small fact about Michigan that everyone around the planet knows about.

And, just because I thought it was a cool picture, here’s the room where we have breakfast every morning–

Tomorrow, sadly, is our last breakfast here, as we’re about to hit the road to Frankfurt so we can (hopefully) head back home Sunday.  I started this entry, of course, talking about how we bring cursed weather to Freiburg every time we come.  Well, the residents of Freiburg should be relieved.  After our four day visit, after four days of rain, the forecast for tomorrow, the day we leave, is sunny and in the mid 70s.

That’s a special gift we have, isn’t it?



1 comment:

  1. Love your narratives ... and they are never boring.