Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Once Again, Freiburg, We Apologize

The rain started right on schedule.

Greetings from Freiburg.  Because I know that there’s an amazing number of you who tell me you read this and traveling vicariously through us, here’s what the view looks like out of our collective hotel room window this evening–

Freiburg, nestled in the foothills of the Black Forest, is usually Germany’s sunniest city.  That is, it’s usually Germany’s sunniest city, except when we’re here.  This is our third visit to this place, and each and every time the weather has not been very Freiburg-like.  It was actually a gorgeous day today–sunny and in the mid 80s for our drive here and in the city itself–but as soon as we checked into the hotel and started to go for a walk, this happened–

Now, for the rest of our stay, it’s supposed to be cloudy, rainy, and in the 60s. Like I said, something along these lines happens every time we visit this place.  So to the people of Freiburg, just let me say–

We’re sorry.  Yet again.  We hope you’ll still keep letting us come back.

(And, just so you know, after we leave on Saturday?  The weather changes…becoming sunny & in the 70s.  That’s ALL I’m gonna say about that)


I had written yesterday about taking the road less traveled, and that’s what we did today.  We could have made it to Freiburg in about three hours via the Autobahn, but where’s the fun in that?  Instead, we took the (very) scenic route that involved several construction detours,lots of fun hills and curves, and some amazing views, starting with this one of some German vineyards–

Continuing through to the “Kur Park” (health park) in Ottenhofen where we stopped to eat a little lunch–

And then onto this encounter on a steep Black Forest descent–

Photo by Loraine, our of our car window

We weren’t quite sure who this individual was; we thought it just might be a local out to challenge himself. But it soon became apparent when he passed several teammates on their way up this hill that this was a rider from the Bora-Hansgrohe professional bike team, training in the Black Forest.  Bora’s one of the big teams on the cycling circuit; in fact, Red Bull has just signed on as co-sponsor, and they’re considered to be a team to beat, especially during mountain stages of big races like the Tour de France.  And that’s what the riders were doing today–training for mountain stages.  It’s insanely hard going up them, but it also takes quite the talent to go down them quickly.  It was amazing to follow this particular rider as he actually went around the corners faster than our car did.  At one hairpin turn we also noticed a camera crew shooting him (and his teammates) from a corner, so who knows–maybe one day we’ll be in a Bora promotional video.

Those few minutes showed the hard work that goes into being one of the best on the planet in your sport.  And all I can say, as a long-time fan of professional bike racing, following him down the mountain–


It was just after that that the road construction started to kick in, and it ended up taking us almost six hours to make it here.  But you know what?  It was a beautiful day.  We saw some amazing scenery.  And we got to follow a professional bike racer on his training ride.

That would have never happened if we stuck to the Autobahn.

Now, let me introduce you to the place we’ll all be staying the next few days.  Freiburg is a university town with a bunch of sandstone (and don’t worry; I won’t go all sandstone fanboy like I was while we were in Kaiserslautern), so in that regard it’s a lot like Marquette.  However, Freiburg’s sandstone cathedral is a little bit bigger than ours–

And it has an amazing pedestrian area–

It also has a professional football team, SC Freiburg, a team that’s actually our “second team”.  You see, everyone in Germany has a “second team”, one you hope does well except when they’re playing your team, and for many Germans it’s SC Freiburg.  There’s no reason for it; everyone just seems to like them, us included.  So, of course, that means that we had to stop at their fan shop.  And since Loraine bought a bunch of stuff in K-Town, today it was my turn–

SC Freiburg doesn’t have a bunch of superstars, but what they do have is players who really seem to enjoy playing the game.  One of them is Ritsu Doan, a Japanese international, who’s always laughing (and has been on a goal scoring tear recently).  So that’s whose jersey I picked up, along with a couple of keychains.  After I paid for them Loraine then noticed the scarf, which I had admired when they rolled them out earlier in the season, so I went back and got that, as well.

So now I’m all stocked up.

Since we were driving a lot I didn’t get to take too many pictures, but here are a few, including more of the color at the Kur Park in Ottenhofen–

And of of perhaps the most exotic restaurant you’ll find anywhere in Freiburg–

That’s it for today.  Tomorrow, we brave the rain in the forecast to see what’s out there.  Plus, I’ll tell you the story of why, if I step a certain way here in Freiburg, I’d have to divorce Loraine and marry someone else.

Some German traditions are just a little too weird to believe.


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