Good morning¹ to you too, Freiburg! Remember us? No? Well, we remember you quite well. We remember waking up early and sneaking out of Fiona’s aunt’s apartment to get some breakfast. We remember finding one of your many little bakeries, and then realizing that neither of us knew a word of German when we tried to order. (That’s not true– we knew the word hamburger, but that’s it)
Featuring: the best damned pain au chocolat (in the background) we had in our taste of Europe. That’s right– it ain’t in France.
We took a picture of the shop sign, so know you know where it is.
Along the way we found this in a doorway. “To give away.” A whiff of Hemingway, anyone?
My first introduction to the concept of trams… and consequently, three-signal crosswalks.
Freiburg is known for being one of the greenest cities in Europe, and you can see this in their public transit system, which is called the VAG (I know), and the healthy bike population.
Had lunch in the square outside. There was an open-air market selling wursts and wooden carved toys. It was all very German.
The most popular merch were these little wooden boats with a string attached. I later found out that there were these small waterways unique to Freiburg, which were called bächle. You’ll just see them on the side of the street in the old city centre. Apparently, they used to serve as a medieval fire brigade, but today they are enjoyed by tourists and children for recreational toy-boat sailing.
Oh and by dogs too.
Also, we were told that if a foreigner stepped into the bächle by accident, he or she would marry a Freiburg. Which was not bad at all, considering the good-looking men in that town… It’s so weird, Fiona and I kept falling into the bächle, we’re so clumsy!
A little later on in the day, we set out for a little church in the Black Forest. We had nothing but this piece of paper with Fiona’s aunt’s directions written on it.
Again, let me remind you that we didn’t know a word of German. OK, that’s a lie, again. By that afternoon we knew how to say good morning, yes, no, danke, but not much else. We took a tram to a train station in the middle of nowhere…
We felt like Hansel and Gretel.
And talk about the candy house. You go, Rococo.
The Abbey of St. Peter on the top of a hill overlooking the lush green countryside. At 4 p.m., we were pretty much the only two people in the church marvelling at the baroque opulence. Compared to all the other cathedrals we’ve seen in our tour, this was by far the most lighthearted. You’ll see what I mean when I show you Strasbourg Cathedral, the 14th century Gothic gargantuan which made us feel like we were already descending into hell.
Of course we had to find a nearby restaurant and order Black Forest Cake.
You have not lived until you’ve had a real Black Forest Cake. I’m saying this as a person who was never particularly fond of cakes of the Black Forest persuasion. But this was a cake like no other cake of the Black Forest persuasion that I’m used to. I’m used to seeing the much darker variety, covered with dark chocolate flakes. But this– this is all about the cherries in between the layers of cream and can we just talk about the amount of alcohol in this cake?
No, no we can’t. Because it’s sinful. Moving on.
And this is us, picking our way out of the enchanted forest, one breadcrumb at a time:
¹ circa late August 2013…